A Bit of Nostalgia

Blog visitor “LadyWiz” and I have shared fond memories of a bygone avenue of pleasure known as “Million Dollar Movie.” The way things are going with our country, someday fond memories might be all we have left.

When I was a kid, we had only seven TV channels: the three major networks, Public TV, and local channels 5, 7, and 9. Channel 9 was (and still is) WOR-TV, and from 1955 through 1966, one of their showpieces was “Million Dollar Movie.”

Twice a night on weekdays, and twice a day on Saturdays, except during baseball season, “Million Dollar Movie” ran classics from the RKO movie library. The theme music was from “Gone With the Wind” (“da-da-da-DUM, da-da-da-DUM”), and there was an announcer who regularly reminded the audience, “If you missed any part of [Title], or wish to see it again, the next showing is at such-and-such a time.”

Ah, how wonderful it was! “King Kong,” “Son of Kong,” and “Mighty Joe Young”–a thrilla with a gorilla. “Gunga Din.” And such beloved classics as “Attack of the Crab Monsters,” “Prehistoric Women,” and “Queen of Outer Space” with Zsa Zsa Gabor and poor Eric Fleming, the star of “Rawhide.” Not to mention “Godzilla,” “Gorgo,” and “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.”

All right, I was a 10-year-old boy. I wasn’t going to sit around watching a lot of kissing movies, was I? They did show a “Blackbeard” movie (with William Bendix in a supporting role) which scandalized me because I had just read all about Blackbeard the Pirate in one of those glorious old stamp-and-coloring books–remember them?–and the story told by the movie wasn’t a bit like the real thing. I was fit to be tied! My mother tried to explain, “That’s called poetic license,” but I wasn’t buying it. Little did I dream that eventually poetic license would be taken with history, current events, and the economy, too. I guess Solon was right when he predicted that would happen… circa 500 B.C.

I don’t know about anybody else, but my imagination was ignited by those hokey movies and the fire still burns today.

4 comments on “A Bit of Nostalgia

  1. “I guess Solon was right when he predicted that would happen… circa 500 B.C.” Hmmmm; that means 2513 years ago and the world’s still spinning and Uncle Sam is still kicking. He might even outlive those who are trying to get rid of him. Any thing that speaks of survival of the fittest (and don’t you know that, of all the nations of the world, ours is [or was] the fittest) sounds good to me. I need a little inspiration now and then with all the foot-dragging our representatives in D.C. are doing. Have you noticed?

    1. Here’s the full story, Dorothy. Solon was present when Thespis (for whom “thespians” are named) staged his first play in Athens. He asked Solon how he liked it, and the old man answered angrily that he didn’t like it at all. “All those lies!” he said. “It’s bad enough having so many lies on a stage; but before long we’ll find this in our daily business, too.” He was afraid the plays would make the Athenians careless about the truth. I don’t think fiction does that; but I do agree that corruption easily spreads from one corner of society to another.

  2. Artistic, poetic and literary license, I can take some of it. However, I heard a recent History Channel [talking about artistic license] showing of the new hit Bible series made reference to the Ark springing a leak. Oh God!

    Say, remember all of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger films on “Million Dollar Movie?” “Top Hat”, “Flying Down To Rio” and “The Gay Divorcee” to mention half a dozen. Thanks for allowing me to gibber on your blog my dear brother.

    Happy Resurrection Day, your dear Mom’s having a grand old time!

    1. Here’s another blast from the past for you: The Early Show, with its unforgettable theme music, “The Syncopated Clock” by LeRoy Anderson.

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