By Rich Kozlovich
Spring is a few months away and pest control will take off and there will be little time for reflection as there is in the winter time. Actually, I love weekends with really bad weather in the winter months. I can surf the web, read books, write articles, research information that interests me, watch movies; and no one bothers me. I love watching movies, especially the old movies.
A friend of mine wrote about this some time back, which made me think back to my youth and my love for the old movies. I loved everything that was a part of the old movie scene, especially the great old movie theaters that we had in Cleveland. Even in the small town in which I grew up the theater was special. The stars were special then too; John Wayne, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, and the greatest swashbuckler of them all….Errol Flynn.
The lights would dim and finally darken, creating that wonderful anticipation that comes when you know that the movie was about to start at last. Even the previews of coming attractions were great. At the end of the movie people actually applauded. I always thought that was a little stupid when I was a kid, after all…the actors couldn’t hear it….why bother? It’s funny, I still wouldn’t applaud today, and for the same reason, but I miss it.
Yes, people actually applauded when the movies started and when they finished. And when the cartoons came on we kids cheered, and nothing could get a rise out of a bunch of kids quite as much as seeing Roy Rogers riding headlong into the screen atop Trigger followed by his friends chasing the bad guys. An uncle took me to one of those Saturday matinee Roy Rogers cowboy movies and swore that he would never make that mistake again. I always loved the movie, “They Died With Their Boots On”, with Errol Flynn. Talk about fantasy! That is so far afield from the truth about Custer that someone should have been slapped for it….and yet….I still love it!
Some of the old theaters were real palaces. Cleveland has a number of them that were slated for demolition but were refurbished instead, which pleases me for a number of reasons. First, because of that decision, we have the second largest theater district in the country. Secondly, they were magnificent like the Palace…and it really was then, and is now……a palace! And third, because so much of what was great is torn down and replaced by buildings that are so forgettable, like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Somehow the words Rock and Roll and Hall of Fame shouldn’t be in the same sentence, but that is another story. Lastly, because they made me feel great when I was there, and I get those feelings every time I go back.
The men would wear suits and ties and the women wore dresses with hats, and matching gloves and purses and high heels. The children were dressed in their Sunday best, because going downtown to the movies was a big deal. It was a big deal and everyone acted that way. The ladies of that era were in my opinion the most attractive ever because they had style, grace and class.
They must have had revivals of older movies even back in the 1940’s, because in my mind’s eye I can still see the original Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan. They were originally made between 1932 and 1948. I was only 2 when Johnny Weissmuller made his last Tarzan movie. I must have been about five when I saw the original 1932 movie in a neighborhood theater and I never forgot the scene where the pigmies throw everyone down into the pit to be killed by a gorilla that is later shot full of arrows.
Hopalong Cassidy was my ultimate hero though. I was even called Hoppy by my childhood friends in those early years, at least until I moved to the farm. Those years were a large part of my wonder years. I lived in Cleveland and there were a lot of kids in the neighborhood. We were out and about all day every day.
Even now, as I look back on those years, being as young as we were, I marvel at the immense freedom we had to wander up and down the streets, play baseball at the playground and best of all…the dump. There was always a potential treasure to be found in the dump. The world was very different then. I didn’t realize it then nor did I realize it for many years, but we were all very much like the “Little Rascals”. There's no Captain Penny presenting those old Little Rascal movies every afternoon, so I doubt that younger people even know what I am talking about.
The world has changed. A lot! We don’t dare let our children roam to far, or too often, because there are so many unsavory and violent people out there. We don’t dare leave our doors unlocked…even when we are home. In my youth people actually left their keys in their parked cars with the windows open while they shopped. Unbelievable today I know. Good manners were not affectations; they were expected. Saying please and thank you were expected, and most felt perfectly content to do so.
Then it all changed. Since I am 70 I must confess that I was a part of that change. They claim the Baby Boomer Generation started in June of 1946. I was born in July of that year. I was the beginning of the Baby Boomers. I remember that I disgustedly thought that it was really stupid to applaud movies and I said so. The older members of the family gave me a disgusted look or just shrugged, as if to say….I shouldn’t have to explain this to you.
Although I did get dressed up for some occasions, I didn’t want to get dressed up to go anywhere, least of all the movies. A tee shirt, tennis shoes and blue jeans were good enough for me and if it wasn’t good enough for everyone else…well that was just tough! As if all of those goody-goody two shoes manners really mattered. After all……that was just being a phony. A cover up for how people really felt.
I didn’t realize it then, but all those “phony” manners and descent attire are an important part of what allows for civilized behavior.
What had happened? Everything changed! One of the reasons was that this was the first time in human history the young population became so large that the adult population couldn’t properly absorb them; and we created our own little sub-culture. After all; we teenagers knew that our 16 or so years experience in life was worth far more than the decades of experience in life of all the adults combined.
As this population trend continued this sub-culturing trend continued, and every few years we had another downward spiral of values, until the American culture was altered almost beyond recognition. Clearly beyond the recognition of America’s founding fathers. The most successful culture the world has ever known was now awash with irrational paradigms that are clearly destructive to all of humanity.
This irrationality extends into every facet of our business and personal lives. The Green Movement, which became the most irrational movement of them all, was born in this crucible and has now become one of the most corrupting dominant forces of thought and action in the world today.
Fortunately I grew up. I also cringe at many of the things I said, things I did and laugh at thoughts I thought in my youth. I always wonder at these famous people who on their death beds claim they “have no regrets”. Well…..I have a lot of regrets. I hope it is because I grew up enough to recognize my failings and made a determination to correct them and to avoid repeating them. Part of that process is being able to see that which is real versus that which is shadow over substance. If we are capable of seeing ourselves as we really are, then we will have a lot less difficulty in seeing the rest of the world as it really is.
Everything we are told in the newspapers and the electronic news media is a lie. These aren’t necessarily lies of commission, (although they are guilty of that also) they are mostly lies of omission. Even many of our history books can’t be called anything less than propaganda in order to promote some view or other.
Read two different history books on the same subject from two different people for two different philosophical paradigms and you wonder if they are reporting about the same events. Everything we are told should bear some resemblance to what we see going on in reality. Mostly we are lied to. Virtually everything we are told by the greenies is a lie. If you have a problem with that then get over it! Because those are the facts and we need to start recognizing the greenies for whom and what they are.
Recently I bought a CD of the original Broadway cast of Camelot and I still love it. I first saw the original traveling cast of the Broadway musical Camelot with Kathryn Grayson as Guinevere in 1962 at the Palace; and I walked out feeling just great. I loved Camelot and it is still my favorite Broadway production, and I think the greatest Broadway musical ever produced. I can still sing some of the songs…at least parts of them. I saw it again with, Robert Goulet as King Arthur this time. This was thirty years later, and I walked out feeling just as great as I did after and having seen the original traveling cast, although I knew it wasn’t anywhere near as big or as good a production as the original.
Being insatiably curious is its own reward and its own punishment. I know nothing can ever be the same once we are grown. When we get old it really becomes clear that nothing was a good as we thought it was, and nothing else can ever be that great again. It wasn’t just the movies that I loved…it was the time, and it was a golden time.
But Camelot really is a myth, and although coming to that realization takes some of the pleasure out of life - but once we can accept that - it frees us from the shadow of illusion and allows us to see the light of reality.
This is the reward and this is the punishment.