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Movies in My Blood

Updated on September 16, 2014
tillsontitan profile image

Mary has been a movie fan since she was a little girl. She watched movies every night of the week on Million Dollar Theater..


James Arness as Marshall Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke
James Arness as Marshall Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke | Source

Shirley Temple


Movie Are In My Blood

I think I stole that line from the Turner Classic Movie Channel but it is oh so true! I didn't actually realize it until I heard it on TCM and started thinking back. My love affair with movies started when I was just a young child.

I used to watch all the TV westerns with my Dad. I adored my Dad and there wasn't much else on TV. Sure there was I Love Lucy and Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts , I'm talking about my early childhood in the fifties, but better yet there was; Hopalong Cassidy, Wyatt Earp, The Roy Rogers Show, Rin Tin Tin, Davey Crockett, The Lone Ranger, Zorro, and Rawhide and the holy grail then was Gunsmoke and Bonanza. Gunsmoke ran for thirty years. One of the rumors about Gunsmoke was that John Wayne was chosen to play Marshall Dillon. The truth is John Wayne recommended James Arness to play Matt Dillon. By the end of the fifties there had been thirty westerns. My Mom had some influence and we watched some non-westerns like I Remember Mama, Jackie Gleason and The Red Buttons Show, but westerns were trump.

So you're scratching your head and wondering how this led to my love of movies. Well, since I watched westerns with my Dad he watched movies with me. That's the kind of guy he was. Together we watched Shirley Temple movies, crying over all her perils. My Mom would shake her head and say, "you two are always crying, why do you watch this stuff?" Of course there were a few times we got her to watch too. Shirley Temple's first feature length film was Red-Haired Alibi, she was three years old in that movie. Her international fame came from the movie Bright Eyes in 1934.

So this was my beginning. Watching movies, crying and all in all a young girl spending quality time with her Dad. My introduction to movies was a warm and good time. That introduction blossomed as The Million Dollar Movie made its appearance on Channel Nine (in NYC). The Million Dollar Movie would show a movie for an entire week and it would show that movie twice a night. This was where I first saw King Kong! Yes, I cried when he was killed at the end of the movie, but I also saw Yankee Doodle Dandy, and how I loved Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid. Can you imagine the wonder of a child watching a "real mermaid"? Of course I didn't know what the movie was really about but I was enchanted. I watched so many movies on The Million Dollar Movie and got to see them over and over for a whole week.



Chiller Theater and Creature Features

Saturday nights in the early sixties would find me glued to my television watching the horror movies on Chiller Theater and/or Creature Features. The host of Chiller Theater was Zacherley, "The Cool Ghoul", who would come out of his coffin to host the week's movie. It was on late so everyone in my house would go to bed and I would stay up by myself watching the thrilling, chilling, movies. The Cyclops and the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman come to mind immediately. At ten years old I didn't know what a cyclops was until I saw the movie. I also find it ironic that the star of the movie was James Craig, Craig being my married name.

Then there was Creature Features, another Saturday night treat on Channel Five. It was on earlier than Chiller Theater so most Saturday nights I could watch both. The Phantom of the Opera, Curse of the Werewolf, and Frankenstein, and yes, I cried when he threw the little girl in the lake but I also cried when the Frankenstein monster burned in the windmill.

Between the two, Chiller Theater and Creature Features, I got to see so many horror films from the thirties and forties and loved every minute of it.

Charlton Heston in Ben Hur

Charlton Heston, who wouldn't love that face?
Charlton Heston, who wouldn't love that face? | Source

The House of Wax

What horror film lover wouldn't want to see this one!
What horror film lover wouldn't want to see this one! | Source

Movies At The Movies

Going to the theater to see movies was a weekly treat. Every Saturday you'd gather your friends, get your quarter, sometimes get a ride from my Dad, and head to the movies. If you went to an early matinee and you really liked the movie you could hide in the bathroom when the movie was over and wait for the next crowd to come in. Once a few people started in you could join them, sit down, and watch the movie again. Have you noticed Saturday was a very busy day for a little girl and her movies?

Oh the movies I saw in the fifties and early sixties! Of course I saw more horror movies, but I saw many genres. Starting with horror movies I saw films like The Fly (1958) and The House of Wax (1953). Vincent Price was a favorite of mine back then. The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), and a favorite of mine then, The Mole People(1956). My girlfriend and I used to play Mole People. We'd take turns being a mole person or a real person, hours and hours of fun. May I point out that was in 1956 and I was nine years old!

The Ten Commandments (1956), need I say more, well yes, followed by Ben-Hur (1959)! We were mesmerized and my new favorite actor was Charlton Heston. Old Yeller (1957) , Lady and the Tramp(1955), and Cinderella (1950), movies little girls still watch today. The magic of Disney was beautiful to watch.

Then came the sixties. I was older and my tastes in movies had grown up, though I still loved my horror movies and Charlton Heston. Who could ever forget Psycho (1960)? Everyone looked behind the shower curtain before taking a shower after watching Psycho. The Birds (1963) was chilling. Imagine all those sweet birds turning on people with no place to hide!

My first big date with my now husband, was to see Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor (1963). See, it happened again, a warm and tender moment associated with the movies.

The list of movies I enjoyed in the sixties is long. Movies like West Side Story (1961), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), The Music Man (1962, )Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Cool Hand Luke (1967), the list goes on. Who didn't sit on the edge of their seat and gasp at the end of Night of the Living Dead (1968) or sing along with Lilies of the Field (1963)? I told you the list goes on but I think by now you've gotten the idea that movies are in my blood.

The Sound of Music

Movies Now

I could go on endlessly, naming movies from each decade that wowed me, scared me, moved me, movies I love to remember and some I'd rather forget. Movies, as I've shown, associated with warm moments in my life, but that wasn't always the case.

My husband and I saw Bonnie and Clyde (1967) in the theater and my parents were babysitting. When we got home my grandmother was there to tell us they had taken my son to the hospital. Certainly not a good memory. But, there are movies I associate with good times with my children, like watching Annie (1982) so many times I began to think she was one of my children. The Sound of Music (1965) made the hills of Ulster County come alive with music as we watched it over and over, both on tv.

Copyright - Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

"Bringing you movies that are part of your memories."


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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I know LadyFiddler, there are soooo many I could've included but then it would've been too long for people to read ;) You are most welcome and here's hoping you have a wonderful day. God bless.

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 

      4 years ago from On Planet Earth

      Yeah these are good actors you're missing John Wayne though lol.

      Mat Dillon is good, and carol Burnett in "Anne the orphan" and Carlton Heston acted really well in Ben Hur.

      Thanks for the memories ~~~~ I hope you do have a swell evening with God by your side.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I know Romeo, sometimes I have to remind myself, when I watch old movies, when they were made and how good they were for that time. Cowboy movies are always good, after all they're written about the same time in history ;) Thanks for the thumbs up!

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 

      4 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      Thank you for an entertaining Hub with some great movies in your chosen list. Some of those corny horror flicks are fun to watch back now though and many of those cowboy movies were pretty good in their time.

      Thumbs Up!

      Best Wishes;


    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      RonElFran, many people seem to share my love of old movies and tv shows. Lots of good stuff there. Thanks for stopping by.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 

      4 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I remember all the tv shows you mention. Plus, I remember how special it was to watch the Late, Late movie. In my young mind the classic (old) movies shown on tv were a cut above the regular tv fare.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      SheGetsCreative, different movies affect different people in different ways. (Is that enough "different" for once sentence?) Glad you stopped by.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Nice. I think movies are in my blood too! Breakfast at Tiffanys and Finding Nemo - for two very different reasons, I've watched both more than a dozen times.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Janderson, don't think I've ever seen Under Milk Wood, I'll have to look for it.

      Bluebird, I think you just made up that saying! Yes, the old stuff often seems to be better. Glad you enjoyed my hub.

      WiccanSage, my kids though grown with families of their own, will still watch those two movies. Thanks for stopping by.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

      Annie & The Sound of Music are 2 of my all-time favorites. Glad to say my kids love them too and they've become family traditions. Nice hub.

    • bluebird profile image


      4 years ago

      Liked your story about your Dad and you crying together. That is so sweet and a memory to treasure.

      Movies come and movies go, but life goes on forever. Is this a saying, or did I just now make it up? Anyway, always enjoyed watching Shirley Temple and Tarzan movies. I remember Bonanza and Gunsmoke well cuz they were Mom and Dad's favorites. Movies are great entertainment, if you can find a decent one nowadays...let's just stick to the old stuff, it's the best and will always stay the best.

      Enjoyed this hub, thanks.

    • janderson99 profile image

      Dr. John Anderson 

      4 years ago from Australia on Planet Water

      My all time favorite movie is one made for Dylan Thomas' radio play Under Milk Wood which featured Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton - who spoil it. Otherwise a fabulous movie.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Oh Nell, I'll always associate cowboy movies with my Dad, well good ones anyway. My Dad would have loved the first "Raiders of the Lost Ark" but passed away before it came out.

      You've brought back memories too Chef. Actually when the new "Flash Gordon" came out my kids loved it so much we named our dog Flash Gordon though we called him Flash. Thank YOU for the votes and shares.

      So much we share Frank, old movies, big stars, film noir and your wonderful writing! Thanks for stopping by.

      Ah Paula, have you been hitting the bottle? I don't think my kids would agree to angel ;)

      Sounds like fun Sheila. Staying up late was always a treat when we were young.

      My Dad was a special man and wonderful father. Whenever a good western comes on EPIC or COZI I want to call him. You're right, it was "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane", Crawford and Davis. Blessings to you dear friend.

      No hyperbole Pamela, that's how long it was on. They did go through three sidekicks for Matt Dillon after all ;) Variety shows were fun to watch but I have to admit my favorite was Carol Burnett, though Ed Sullivan's show was good too. Oh yes, certainly a black and white tv.

      Thanks DD.

      Glad you enjoyed Mary. I have to agree its hard to find a good movie, but they are out there though certainly not like the old ones.

      I agree Teaches, the Nutty Professor was pretty bad in my opinion too but when its your first serious date with the guy you've been "hanging around with", you remember it ;) I love watching movies with children. I'm now watching "Monsters Inc." over and over with my grandson. (It happens to be my favorite, current animated film).

      I have many reminders of my Dad Genna, but since my husband just subscribed to the old western channel he is more present in my mind. I knew a priest who said he knew the priest in "The Exorcist", now that's scary!

      As I told Genna, Mike, I feel like I'm back in the saddle again, back when a friend was a friend. I'm glad we share a love of old movies and certainly a good thriller beats a horror movie any time.

      Thanks Gypsy, I feel the same way, and do!

      Pstraugie thanks for sending the angels, they are always welcome!

      Why thank you Deb. I've been called lots of things but must say I like Movie Queen better than some of the other things ;)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, you are the Movie Queen, all right, and you have done a remarkable job in telling us about them. Keep on keeping on!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      4 years ago from sunny Florida

      So many of the movies and stars, like James Arness and Shirley Temple. with those with whom I grew very fond. I have no tv now so have lost touch with those old favorites.

      Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      4 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      I also love movies and a great deal of old movies I could watch over and over again. Passing this on.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      I think you have outlined our shared past very nicely. We all grew up with the saddle leather of Bononza and Gunsmoke. Your bonding moments with your Dad are wonderful, and charming. I never cared much for the horror movies, but Alfred Hitchcock movies certainly are on my 'watch over again' when on TV.

      All the voting, etc.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Mary...

      Thank you for this lovely trip down memory lane and the special reminiscences of your dear father, and how the era of film followed your life in so many interesting ways. I was sorry to hear of the episode when you arrived home to find your parents had to take your son to the hospital. That must have been always associated with “Bonnie and Clyde” from that point on.

      My parents never allowed us to watch horror films on television. The only film I regret ever having watched in a movie theatre was “The Exorcist.” They were showing a revival of the film at a local theater, and I thought, “Oh why not?” it’s just a bunch actors, with special effects and a lot of pea soup. Right? I couldn't watch it, Mary. I got up from my seat and had to walk out of the theatre a couple of times while my friends stayed inside. When we were driving home, we experienced a flat tire while driving on the highway. True story. Of course, other films bring much happier and fond memories! “The Sound of Music” is a long-time favorite of mine.

      Wonderful article, Mary. Voted up and shared. :-)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      I still get chills when I watch the old King Kong movies! I have never been able to get into The Nutty Professor but I'm more of a suspense type movie buff. I agree with you on the pleasure of watching movies with a child. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      On Saturdays, I would spend the whole afternoon watching a double feature with Roy Rogers! I just don't care much for the new modern movies, though. Every time I go, I am sorry I spent the money and I wish I'd stayed home! I do have Netflix, and sometimes watch the old classics which I loved everyone you mentioned here.

      I enjoyed the walk down memory lane this morning.

      Voted UP, etc.etc.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Old movies still sound the best and hold many memories.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Dapples 

      4 years ago from Just Arizona Now

      I'm like fpherj48 -- I'm not one for horror movies and I haven't seen Psycho -- but I loved this hub. A walk down memory lane. I didn't know Gunsmoke was on that long! Or was that a bit of hyperbole? Anyway, I really liked that show and Bonanza, too, and memories of good times. My best memories, though, are of the variety shows like Andy Williams, Perry Como and Dean Martin. Those were the days. We'd watch those shows as a family on our little black and white t.v.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Thank you for sharing of your special time spent with your Dad. That is so sweet that he cried with you during the movies. You have certainly brought back so many memories for me too with all of the old wonderful shows and movies ...

      So true about after watching "Pyscho", I could not take a shower without constantly looking behind the shower curtain!

      Another thriller that really got to me was "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane", not sure if that is the correct name of the movie though.

      I loved looking back at all the great movies with you, dear Mary.


    • profile image


      4 years ago

      You brought back some good memories for me. We always had at least one movie night a week when I was a kid and the whole family would sit down and watch. Chiller Theater was the "big event". The rule was if we could stay awake past the news and Saturday Night Live, we could watch whatever horror flick came on.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Awwww...if you ever decide to go back to unique avatars, the next one should be an "Angel." :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      Til, I love when you bring back old memories with hubs like these.. the stars of yesteryear.. the farewell clip, and just how your love for movies and big stars.. reminds me of how much I feel the same way.. bravo to you and great hub of the day...:) Frank

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 

      4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Takes me back to Saturday morning 'pictures' here in the UK when dozens of us would pile in to the local cinema to watch Flash Gordon, Laurel and Hardy, Alfafa and His Crazy Gang?. Great introduction to the world of movies - Charlie Chaplin et al - then progressing through West Side Story, Wizard of Oz, Ben Hur, Whistle Down The Wind, Dr Strangelove etc etc.

      Nice hub. Votes and a share. Thank you.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      What a great set of movies and memories! yes I bet those tissues flowed along with the storyline! lol! I loved cowboy films because my dad was totally glued to them all the time! In fact if I see one now I can 'feel' my dad sitting next to me watching them, I watched lots of them when I was a kid in the 60s and ben hur, well how brilliant was that? great hub as always!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      So write Bill but I guess the cheese is what drew us in. Nice to know we share some memories. Hope your weekend is great too. We're going to see Thomas the Tank Engine tomorrow :)

      Jodah you sound a lot like me. Our heads are filled with so many memories its hard to imagine! Thanks for the vote my friend.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wow tillsontitan, you sure brought back the memories here. I watched all those tv shows an most of the movies you mentioned as well....some were particular favourites. I was a western and horror movie fan and like you often stayed up late at night to watch the horror shows. "The Fly" an Birds" were favourites. I remember years later seeing another movie called "frogs"that was similar but with frogs, turtles etc attacking people instead of birds. I enjoyed this. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Those old horror movies were so cheesy, weren't they? Scared the hell out of us, though. LOL Loved your memories, many of which I share. Have a great weekend, Mary.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      You know GF sometimes I think the best part of me writing hubs is you reading them! I absolutely love your comments. Each one leaves a tiny piece of you to bond with me.

      You're supposed to cover your eyes in the real scary parts, but then you're supposed to watch through your fingers ;)

      Back is doing pretty good thank you. Love and hugs going right back to you GF.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I'm guessing your Mom kept a good supply of tissues next to where you sat watching movies, gf. I relate. When it comes to movies I saw when younger, right through to today, I'm either crying or laughing......tears, either way.

      That's what it's all about, isn't it? I mean, what's the point of settling in to fantasize if it doesn't in some way move us? I'm not a fan of sci-fi or spooky, but I did manage to sit through a few. Problem with me was I always covered my eyes and hid my face during the frightening parts. I still don't actually know the shower scene in "Psycho," but my imagination was probably worse! LOL

      I love this hub. You NEVER disappoint, Ms. Mary. Quite the contrary. Good to see you back at the keyboard. Hope your nasty boo boo is all gone!......Love & hugs.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I lived in Queens, NY and didn't see a drive in until I was fifteen Mactavers, but I did love it!

      Thank you Maria. He was so very special. I hope your back is improving and I'm glad to see you here. Love and hugs to you. (Only if the hugs don't hurt.)

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Warm, endearing and lovable...such a glimpse into what makes you the special and beautiful lady you are today. I loved reading about your special memories with your Dad, Mary.

      Voted UP and UABI and sharing. Love, Maria

    • mactavers profile image


      4 years ago

      Great Hub, and a good memory trip on old movies. My parents used to love going to the drive in movies on Friday night. We took sandwiches and popcorn for the double features. There was also a cartoon and a newsreel before the movies. All this for $1.50 a carload.


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