Also known as "my favorite movies from childhood."
Just a few weekends ago, my dad celebrated his 4,500th movie (that is, individual movies seen). He is a movie fan through and through, and instilled the same appreciation and devotion to great (and not-so-great) films in us. Whether by choice or by default, we were raised on Turner Classic Movies and American Movie Classics, with box sets of Humphrey Bogart videotapes sitting front and center under the television.
Watching black & white movies never phased us and silent films were just as easy to watch and ones with sound.
Did you know that my sister's and my favorite movie at age nine was To Have and Have Not, starring Bogart and Lauren Bacall?
It's true. We would turn it on before school, and when our best friend would come by our house to walk with us, we'd casually invite her in and hope that this time she would stop and say, "Oouu, what is this cool movie?" and then agree that it was, indeed, the best movie around. Sadly, she never did.
But we loved it. There was something inspiring about watching a thin, deep-voiced, 19-year-old Bacall take a wicked slap across the face by a waterfront ruffian without so much as a flinch and then manage to hold her own in a room with someone as intimidating as Bogie. This girl was tough-as-nails... an incredible role model for a girly little tyke like me.
Other than Disney's live action and animated features, I don't remember watching anything other than old movies when I was a kid. And until I was in the 5th or 6th grade -- when my friends were all going to see Mission Impossible in theaters and I had to stay behind -- I never even considered it wasn't a widely accepted form of entertainment.
I mean, didn't every little kid spend Saturdays watching Shirley Temple and Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies?
Naturally all of my friends thought that Clark Gable was the dandiest leading man around... right?
And everyone knew that the comedy duo to beat was clearly Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.
Ahhh, floating head posters. Can ya beat 'em?? (That's a rhetorical question.)
Eventually I stopped daydreaming in black & white and technicolor and joined my friends at PG-13 rated movie screenings. I stopped letting my dad change the channel to TCM on a whim and refused to watch just any old thing that Robert Osborne happened to introduce that night.
My teenage years were difficult.
Now, of course, there is almost nothing I value more than my parents' choice of entertainment for us. Had it not been for those early years of Hitchcock and Bing Crosby, I don't think I would have been as open to these kinds of movies as an adult -- certainly not as a teenager!
When the holidays come around, I crave the comfort and warmth of old, classic movies... ones that make me nostalgic for holidays at home in front of the fire, listening to my father laugh at films that -- I know now -- have a special, nostalgic place in his heart as well.
Did any of you watch old movies as kids? Anything that's stuck with you 'til now? What was your favorite movie when you were nine?
(1) The Cameraman (2) How Green Was My Valley (3) Strangers on a Train (4) On the Waterfront (5) Dear Ruth (6) To Have and Have Not (7) The Big Sleep (8) Key Largo (9) Wee Willie Winkie (10) Top Hat (11) It Happened One Night (12) Road to Morocco (13) Road to Rio (14) The Best Years of Our Lives (15) The Kid (16) It's a Wonderful Life (17) Holiday Inn