There are so many blogs out there. A person cannot “Google” a subject without finding someone’s blog on the topic. There are many great blogs, ones that are regularly maintained and always evolving. There are also a ton of blogs that an enthusiastic fan started and no sooner than they click “publish” on their free blog, they’ve abandoned it. It’s a regular ghost town of deserted blogs on the internet–Here’s hoping my blog doesn’t end up a statistic.
My intention with this blog is to share my enthusiasm and opinions of classic film and television. I may slip in some more recent films here and there, because I’m wacky like that. I do not intend to provide any serious technical analysis of film or television. I am not trying to win the Pulitzer Prize for greatest written article about Casablanca. I am not auditioning for anything. This is purely a not for profit fan blog written by someone who watches way too many movies and way too much television. I feel all this couch potato time is worthwhile, however. Someday, all this information (trivial or not) gleaned from these films and programs will assist in my quest to completely dominate trivia night. Everyone needs to know the name of the bully who relentlessly picked on Cindy Brady right? (Answer: It’s Buddy Hinton).
I am a former Nick-at-Nite junkie. I discovered it one night in the sixth grade in 1995 and watched it religiously until it went downhill (circa 2002). Nick-at-Nite, back in the day, had such a fun aesthetic. Retro-inspired graphics, jingles, funny advertisements for their programming (Look up “The Pants That Ate Fred Mertz” on You Tube. You won’t regret it), and on-screen placards before each episode which provided some basic information (episode name, number, original air date, etc.) with a fun trivia fact. Their annual Block Party Summer (each evening featured a 3-hour block of a specific show) was one of my favorite times of the year. It was always a downer when one day was a dud (e.g. one year, Mondays were “Monkee Mondays”). I always thought: “Now what am I going to do [insert day of the week] nights?”
The first show I watched on Nick-at-Nite was I Love Lucy starring the inimitable Lucille Ball (aka “Lucy”). Even now, after 21 years, I Love Lucy is still my favorite television show of all time. My other favorite shows that I discovered on Nick-at-Nite and continue to watch up until this day are: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Green Acres and The Brady Bunch. There are so many fantastic shows that Nick-at-Nite introduced (or re-introduced) me to over the years, and thanks to Hulu and DVDs, I can enjoy them again and again. I have been known to use a combination of You Tube, DVDs and Hulu to try and re-create at least something that kind of resembles my beloved night-time block of programming. Until my demands are met, and Nick-at-Nite in all its 90s retro-inspired “graphic-ed” glory are reinstated, my makeshift block of classic programming will have to make do.
In conjunction with my Nick-at-Nite and Lucy obsessions, I branched out into classic movies, via Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and American Movie Classics (AMC). TCM debuted in 1994. I only had the channel for a few years before it moved to a higher tiered cable package (don’t worry, I have since gotten it back and have had the channel for the last ten years or so). AMC used to show classic movies and shorts from the Golden Age of Hollywood. They closer resembled TCM in that they played a variety of films with Nick Clooney introducing them (a la Robert Osborne on TCM), I used to watch a lot of Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Brothers and The Three Stooges.
TCM (not so much AMC) provided the perfect venue to get to know more about my favorite classic television actor. Knowing that Lucille Ball had a movie career before I Love Lucy, it was my intention to see her appearances in these films, whether she had a walk on role (e.g. 1935’s Roberta. Ball appears in the fashion show sequence. Her lines were deleted from the final cut) or a small bit part (e.g. 1935’s Top Hat, she appears as the flower shop clerk and has couple lines), or was the star. I had to see all her films. I would set the VCR up for these recordings and cross my fingers that the tape didn’t run out or that I didn’t mess up the recording somehow.
During this time, I also watched the annual televised viewing of The Wizard of Oz, which was a tradition. I love this movie and enjoyed watching it each and every year. We eventually got the VHS, but there was just something about watching it on network television. It was an event. My favorite character in ‘Oz’ was Judy Garland’s character, Dorothy. From my love of Judy, I started seeking her films out on TCM in addition to Lucy’s.
My love of Lucy and Judy has led me into an inescapable vortex of classic film. Each film I watch has the possibility to join my running list of favorite films and introduce me to new favorite performers. Thanks to Nick-at-Nite and TCM, I have discovered so many great stars that have become my new favorites: Errol Flynn, Katharine Hepburn, Gene Kelly, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Betty Grable, just to name a few. I have one cardinal rule that I try to follow when going into a “new” film: Go into it hoping that it’ll become my new favorite film. I never look for what’s wrong with a film until the end, when I discover that nothing “clicked” for me when I watched it. I’m always willing to give films a second chance, unless I hated it so much that I don’t intend to ever watch it again (Apocalypse Now, I’m looking at you).
I hope to share my enthusiasm (and perhaps disappointment) about film and television. Some of the films I may discuss, I have seen a billion times, others I just watched for the first time and am sharing my initial thoughts and opinions about the film. I do not claim to be a film historian or expert, I am just a fan. I’m constantly amazed how many films there are in the world and every day, I am finding out about more and more films I’ve never even heard of, let alone seen. My DVR is always on the verge of being full. I can’t help it, everything sounds so interesting.
Remember, this is all opinion, my opinion. Please don’t beat up on me because you disagree with my opinion. I’m open to conversation and trying to understand another point of view or perhaps giving a film a second (or third or more) chance, but if someone flat out disagrees that my favorite road movie is The Long, Long Trailer, then I really don’t care. I love what I love.