Archives for posts with tag: 1970’s

This is an encore publishing of my 2012 blog post “My Star Wars Experience” in honor of May 4th.
When I was 12 I saw a commercial for a new movie that was coming out, and it looked really bad.

It was for Star Wars.

If you’ve ever seen the original trailer/commercial for the movie, you might know where I’m coming from. It looked BORING. You can view the trailer here if you’ve never seen it. So with no plan to spend my allowance on that movie I put Star Wars behind me. But it wouldn’t be for long.

When I was a kid, I was pretty good friends with Andrew Shalit, son of NBC’s film critic Gene Shalit. While having a dad with connections must be a grand thing, having a friend with a dad with connections is nothing to sneeze at either.

Andrew invited me and roughly 6 other friends to come into New York City to see a private showing of, what else? Star Wars.
While I was not thrilled about the film we were going to see, I was pretty excited to hang out in the city with my friends. I was not going to miss this just because the movie looked a little dull.

We took a van into mid-town Manhattan and were let off at a large office building. Hmmmm. I was expecting a theater. We took the elevators to an unknown floor/office where we were then ushered into a little tiny theater.

It had a big screen, but only 4 rows of seats, and maybe 6-8 chairs in each row. This alone was worth the trip to see the boring movie. I’d never been in a private screening room. I’m not sure if I even knew they existed.

Before long the lights went down and the movie began. 121 minutes later I emerged from that little theater in love with Luke Skywalker and wanting to be exactly like Princess Leia.

Except for the hair.

We were each given a T-shirt that had the Star Wars logo or the phrase “May the force be with you.” I chose the one with the Star Wars logo. What a great bonus to an already awesome day.

When we were dropped off back in our home town, my friends and I played jedis vs. stormtroopers on the walk home, using sticks for light sabers and rolling/running over people’s lawns and across streets. I don’t think the movie had even hit the theaters yet, and I was already hooked.

I bought a few movie stills to hang in my room and spent that summer falling in and out of lust for both Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. I think I saw the movie a few more times in the theater as well. But, that’s where the love ended. I saw Empire Strikes Back along with the rest of the world, but hated the ending. How dare they cliff hang me with at least a year to wait for the outcome.

Return of the Jedi was good, but neither that or Empire Strikes Back grabbed me in the same way Star Wars did. I also did not like any of the prequels. Jar Jar Binks was fucking annoying as hell, and the story didn’t interest me in the least.

I never jumped on the Star Wars saga bandwagon. You’ll won’t find me at Comicon dressed as Darth Nihilus (Stern fans may giggle at that), and I don’t collect the figurines. But if that wonderful, original, innovated film from 1977 is on television, I’ll grab my kids, pop some corn and plop on the couch to escape in to space for 121 minutes.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Always Something There to Remind Me.”

1965-pontiac-catalina-dash

I guess I am one step ahead of the Daily Post, because I wrote about this exact thing a few weeks ago. So here it is again…

The Forgotten AM Radio Song

The other day my husband began singing a tune…I’d heard it before, and asked him “I know that song…wait, what song is that?” He answered, “You and Me, by Alice Cooper.” Holy cow. I must have heard that song hundreds of times, yet I had totally forgotten that it even exsisted.

So I YouTubed it, and listened. I was immediately transported back to 1977.

I could imagine sitting in my mom’s mint green Pontiac Catalina, tuned into WNBC and WABC – both on the AM dial; which was all we had in our cars back in those days. When my dad bought a car, he didn’t upgrade anything – you got what the car came with, which usually meant only AM.

When you had to listen to AM, you heard the same top 40 songs over and over again…kind of like half the shitty FM stations that are around now-a-days that play Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa every 15 minutes, and Taylor Swift every 10.

But hearing this song again? I could picture days at the pool, hearing the tinny quality of someone’s transistor radio playing this old Alice Cooper song – and possibly the crackle from some far away lightning strike. I love that crackle.

I could imagine myself in the backseat of my dad’s station wagon, driving over the Triboro bridge on the way to one of our Friday night excursions, watching all the twinkling city lights, window down, breathing in the distinctive smell of New York City.

Or a warm night on Martha’s Vineyard, eating a soft serve cone from the Quarterdeck, and keeping my eyes peeled for a glimpse of my summer crush.

How could I have totally forgotten this song? While I didn’t love it or anything when it came out, I had heard it over and over again driving around with my mom, or listening to the radio while I cleaned my room. Or maybe while I did homework.

Listening to it again was almost like opening up a time capsule. Something that was buried in me decades ago was suddenly unearthed by my husband absent-mindedly humming a tune. I know I’m not describing this right, but when I played that song again on YouTube it was like 2015 just melted away.

I was somewhere else for a very short while. It was pretty cool.

No wonder it was called "The Music Man..." There's a song every 2 minutes!

Last night I stumbled across “The Music Man” on TCM. I was then, of course, glued to the TV set for the duration of the movie. You see, this movie holds a special little place in my heart, as I was a town member in the Leonia Player’s Guild production of this very musical back in 1970-something.

Every year the theater group in my town put on “the play in the park.” It was always a big style musical, and anyone could try out for it. This was the one year that I tried out, got cast, and followed the process all the way through to the performance. Other years I either didn’t get cast (no young kids needed) or something hindered me from following through on my obligation.

One year, I was cast as a trick pony in the play “Fanny.” My whip wielding task master was an older boy in my school who took the job of training me with the flick of his leathery lash a tad too seriously. With the creep factor reaching new heights, I opted to bow out of my role and instead joined my best friend John and his family on a trip to Jamaica.

Come on…you would’ve too…

Watching the movie brought me back to that very summer. My music teacher, Mrs. Macarry, played the lead role of Marion the Librarian; she was so lovely. She was thin and blonde with a fetching little overbite like Beverly D’Angelo. Having a minor role as a towns person left me lots of time for horseplay. You have to understand – the play was performed in the park. There was LOTS to do when you were not required to be on stage. A brief rendezvous with my crush, a giggly chat with my girlfriends, or a few minutes on the swings in full costume.

With so much history attached to this musical, there was no question as to whether or not I was going to watch. Real Housewives of NJ? See ya! I have some serious reminiscing to do.

A few things struck me really odd. First, I remembered WAAAAYY too many lyrics. I can remember all the words to “Shipoopi,” but ask me to name you 3 senators and I’ll stare at you with a dead, blank look on my face. That’s fucked up.

Secondly, there was literally a song every 4 minutes. According to Wikipedia, there are TWENTY SIX songs in “The Music Man.” Twenty freakin’ Six.  “West Side Story?” Eleven songs. “Oklahoma?” Twelve songs. “Sound of Music?” Roughly Eleven, not counting when songs are re-sung during the Saltzburg Music Festival.

Twenty Six. That’s insane.

In any case, I really enjoyed watching this movie again. I have to admit, I got pretty tired and decided to blow off the big ending scene where the ramshackle boys band magically transforms into a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade band. And, I kept seeing Robert Preston’s Harold Hill character morph into the very gay Toddy Todd  in “Victor Victoria” – another musical favorite, which made it hard to buy into  him wooing Shirley Jones. It was his best role, if you ask me.

Oh, and “Victor, Victoria?”

Seven songs.