The Kid in the Hall   4 comments

Cinema-Paradiso

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to watch old movies. As a kid, I went through the TV Guide every Sunday to see what classic films would air that week. I’d circle the ones I NEEDED to see. Many of them were on way past my bed time. My dad, who knew what these films meant to me, made some sneaky moves so I could watch and Mom wouldn’t know. Well, I’m sure she had an inkling. Dad would maneuver the television so I could see it from my secret spot in the hallway. As I craned my head to watch James Coburn answer the phone in that café in occupied France, I was hyper aware of my parents’ movements on the sofa. One false move, or lack thereof, would mean a scolding along with the near certainty that I would have to go back to bed and miss the rest of the movie. So I crouched uncomfortably on the tips of my toes so I could spring up and sprint the few steps to my bedroom and jump under the covers if I sensed one of them getting up for a snack during the commercial.

I saw a lot of amazing things from my private theatre seat in the shadows. Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen saved a village from Eli Wallach. Marlon Brando and Karl Malden had a beer and foiled Lee J. Cobb. Paul Newman played some pool. Clint Eastwood and Donald Sutherland fought negative waves and the Germans for a fortune in gold. Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal tried to save the world. I witnessed all these momentous events from a hiding place a few steps from my bedroom. At night I’d watch Charles Laughton defend Tyrone Power and during the day, I’d look at my walls covered with posters of McQueen on a bike jumping that barbed wire fence and Harpo Marx holding up a swordfish.

Of all the things my parents gave me, and they gave me a lot, one of the things I’ll always be happiest about is that they encouraged my love of movies. Now that I have a child of my own, it thrills me when my teenager walks into the room and says, “Is that Joan Crawford? She looks so young.” I still watch a lot of movies, but now I do it from the comfort of my couch instead of squished against the wall in my parents’ hallway. Some things are nearly the same though. I still check the schedule for Turner Classic Movies every week to see what gems I NEED to DVR and I still look at my walls, but this time I see the faces of Robert Mitchum and Orson Welles looking back at me.

      rko

I still can’t get enough of this.

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Posted July 25, 2015 by Kerry Fristoe in Articles

4 responses to “The Kid in the Hall

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  1. Awesome and sweet post. I loved classic Hollywood from a young age, too. All the musicals as a kid, then Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn as a teen. I was quirky and fussy in my tastes sometimes — still am. Never liked Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Gone With the Wind — still don’t. And I’m probably the only classic fan who doesn’t get cable, so no TCM. But I watch something old and fabulous daily if I can. And I even develop new or accentuated appreciations, for Lauren Bacall and Rita Hayworth most recently.

    Thanks for sharing your trip down memory lane and inspiring mine.

    • Thank you! I’m not a Tiffany’s fan either. I’ve gone through different periods too, but the films I alluded to were the ones that got me started. Thanks again for reading!

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever made it all the way through Tiffany’s, so right with you both there. Growing up in San Diego, we only had three or four channels and a couple LA stations you could get sometimes. You either watched TV reruns or old movies. As a kid, I remember loving movies like Lifeboat, And Then There Were None, Dead End, and That Touch of Mink, the latter of which, I only got about a third of the jokes.

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