Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Movie Nostalgia, Part 2~The Thing and Other 50s "Classics"
Looks like it's going to be a wet Thanksgiving....maybe starting off with some snow this morning, then the forecast gerbils are predicting 3 inches of rain in the next 36 hours or so.....something we don't need, at least not that much. Flood watches are already in the forecast.
Tomorrow, early afternoon, we head for my sister Marty and her husband Pat's place....for our annual Thanksgiving get together. Most of the family will be there, including our brood, Anissa, Sam, Hal, and Hal's fiancee Lisa....Mom and brother Mike are bringing the Turkey, Patrica making a boatload of food, and the rest will be chipping in as well...these days make it a little tough to keep the 30 pounds lost in the past 15 months off, but I survived last Holiday season with little weight gain, and am down about 5 more pounds since then....so Let's Roll, and Pass the Turkey.
Having been born in 1949, my first viewing of movies was in the early 1950s...at first with brother Mike, Mom, and Dad, at the Drive-In theaters of Van Wert, Ohio, and New Haven, Indiana, where we often went. I particularly remember an old 3D Movie where the Cowboys and Indians did battle, and arrows would look like they were coming right out of the screen at you...cannot remember the name of that one, but I couldn't have been more than a couple years old. In the early 1950s, before we moved to Venice, Florida(where I saw the majority of movies of my youth). We lived for awhile in mom's hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, around 1952. I couldn't have been more than 2 or 3, but I still remember to this day, nearly 60 years later, the movie "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms"...we saw that at a Wilmington area drive in. What I remember best is this clip, where the "Beast" eats a traffic cop writing a ticket:
Classic to this day....and burned in my memory banks for a lifetime...Great Hokum at it's finest.
The 50s were full of classic horror and Sci-Fi stuff....much of it predicated to the thought that the Atom Bomb and Radiation would soon destroy us all.... it's didn't, at least not yet, Obama and Company may beat the "Atomic Wars" to it.
Most of us remember James Arness as "Matt Dillon" of Gunsmoke fame....however, one of his first parts was as a giant "carrot like" creature from Mars in the classic 1951 Sci-Fi thriller, "The Thing from Another World":
Old Matt finally gets fried by the modern day art of electricity in the end...a classic if their ever was one...."Watch the Skies" the reporter says at the close...great stuff. Arness also played the straight man in another classic from the early 50s called "Them". Giant Ants escape the desert and invade L.A.
We headed south to Venice in 1954, and after a couple years there I was old enough to head to the Venice Movie Theater by myself...or with brother Mike. Usually with 50 cents in my hand, which was enough to get in(35 cents), and buy a pop and giant dill pickle...10 and 5 cents respectively. Only one movie was playing per week back then...usually stiff from Walt Disney, like the tear jerker "Old Yeller" or more lite fare. On occasion we would get to see some great horror movies, like Mike Landon as the young werewolf, in "I was a Teenage Werewolf". Which came along before his days as Little Joe in Bonanza and Poppa in Little House. Vincent Price was a common favorite, from "The Fly", "House on Haunted Hill", and others. I also remember wearing 3D glasses there to view the "ghosts" in the original "13 Ghosts".
Of course all the movies from the 1950s were not Sci-Fi, Schlock, or Horror movies...John Wayne was doing good War and Westerns, which got only better in the 1960s and 70s. But my favorite non Horror/Sci-Fi stuff had to be some of Hitchcock Movies...especially the stuff staring Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, and others...from "Dial M For Murder" to "Vertigo", and "Psycho"...but by far my favorite was "Rear Window", with Stewart and Kelly:
It was and is, a pure classic....of course Alfred Hitchcock had more excellent stuff, both in the 30s and 40s. Joseph Cotton and Teresa Wright in "Shadow of Doubt", and in the 60s with box office money makers like "The Birds". But none better, in my opinion, than "Rear Window".
That's enough for today...I may post one before the Turkey is cooked tomorrow, or maybe Friday, but regardless the next post will focus on my favorite films of the 60s, then we move into the 70s...this may take longer than I had planned, the more I look back, the more films that were classic to my youth and early adulthood, I remember.
Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart from "Rear Window" The Cop eating "Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", the gang from "The Thing" in 1951..."Them" from 54, Michael Landon was a "Teenage Werewolf", Vincent Price played in more than his share of classic horror films in the 50s and 60s.