Was this a hit when I was eight years old, or what? Walt Disney’s Zorro–and you can bet there was a whole lot of swordfightin’ goin’ on in our neighborhood!
Now hardly anybody had color TV back then, but we knew from Zorro bubblegum cards that the show was filmed in color. And of course Zorro had a lot of adventures at night, wearing a black mask and cape and riding a black horse–so how much color did you need?
This show generated pulse-pounding excitement among us kids. I don’t think TV shows can generate that kind of excitement anymore. Maybe because there are so many of them. Maybe because Walt Disney’s dead and the company he founded has gone over to the dark side.
Anyhow, Zorro was way cool–and so was his alter ego, Don Diego–and we all wanted to grow up to be like him. And how was that bad?
Public school teachers may never get around to teaching any history, math, or reading; but they do find time to “teach” children that “Communism has some really good ideas!” Once upon a time they’d chase you out of town for that.
Originally public education promised universal literacy and all the riches of several millenia’s worth of history, tradition, and lore–for everyone. Well, how did that turn out? Can you find a 10-year-old in public school who knows who David and Goliath were? Sheesh, my mother taught me all those things!
We have more communications devices and less communication than ever before in human history. Have you tried to talk to anyone who’s always up to his eyebrows in text messages? “Use the non-minified dev environment…” Gee, thanks for that advice!
What is our civilization’s chief problem? No, it’s not “systemic racism”!
It’s systemic idiocy–and good luck trying to solve it!
The story-teller’s art is as old as humanity itself; and since the invention of the printing press, the story-teller’s audience has grown by leaps and bounds. Until now.
If you love a movie or a TV show, be it known that somebody had to write it before anyone could film it. And someone had to read it. But fewer and people are reading. Fewer and fewer are getting the stories.
Reading is one of those things you get better at, the more you do it. I can tell you that as a person trained to teach developmental reading. Even without someone to coach you, if you keep at it, reading will come easier and easier to you. And for a good reader, with the right kind of book, it’s like having a movie playing in your mind.
How much the poorer I would be, without reading! Never to have stepped through the wardrobe into Narnia, never to have watched Lord Peter Wimsey solve a mystery, never to have roamed the dead sea bottoms of Barsoom, nor visited The Shire, nor explored the ocean’s depths with Captain Nemo–oh, but I could go on all day!
Just to show you I’m not trying to trick you with a stealth commercial, let me say it out in the open: yeah, you ought to read my Bell Mountain books.
Now, what good does it do to fill our heads with stories that are not true? Always bearing in mind that the parables of Our Lord Jesus Christ were not about real people, real events, and so, strictly speaking, “untrue.”
For one thing, these fictional stories do contain abundant truth. They can serve as parables. They can teach moral truths.
For another, stories, like sleep, can knit the raveled sleeve of care (borrowing a line from Shakespeare). When your life begins to look like the lyrics of the Car 54, Where Are You? theme song, you can escape into your favorite books–or into new stories altogether, to see what you might discover.
The more you read, the more you’ll retain; and the more of your reading you retain, the better you’ll be at expressing your own thoughts. I realize that applies to all reading, not just reading fiction. But it certainly doesn’t not apply to reading fiction.
Reading is good for you! Period. Civilization would never have gotten anywhere without it.
I was 11 years old in 1960 and wasn’t allowed to stay up on Friday nights to watch The Twilight Zone. So every Saturday, Bobby across the street would tell me what I’d missed. And I have a very vivid memory of him telling me about this episode, Long Live Walter Jameson.
I’ve played team sports, and can testify that sports brings out the worst in people. You never saw such politicking, back-biting, rumor-mongering, and throat slitting as you’ll find on any softball team. Something about sports tells a certain kind of pinhead that he can really let fly. Heck, play pickup basketball with the same guys long enough, and the same thing will happen.
In which Gable eats a carrot… just like Bugs Bunny
Any movie starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, and directed by Frank Capra, has just got to be good! And It Happened One Night is no exception to that rule.
Man, they made some great movies in the 1930s! And this is one of that period’s great comedies. Not split-your-gut, roll-on-the-floor funny, but quietly and relaxingly funny–ideal for a weekend afternoon. It’s also totally sleaze-free: although if you were ever wondering what happens when “a cold mama gets hot,” there’s a creepy little man named Shapely who can tell you all about it.
The story centers on a madcap heiress (Colbert) trying to run off and marry a lounge lizard, against her zillionaire father’s wishes. The madcap heiress is now an extinct species, although cryptozoologists think there may be one somewhere in the Adirondacks. She takes up with a recently-fired reporter (Gable) who helps her because he thinks he’ll wind up with the scoop of the century. Of course they fall in love, but don’t worry–it never degenerates into a kissing movie.
Sometimes Capra skates on thin ice over dark tarns of cutesieness, but he never falls in. America in 1934 was still in the throes of the Great Depression, and a very different place from what we’re used to. This is also a great slice of life movie: you’ll see those differences. When a bus rider literally faints from hunger, that’s not something we’ve seen in our time. The Depression did that to people. But when a whole busfull of riders, who don’t know each other from Adam and Eve, while away their long, long journey with a sing-along–y’know, that was good! Wish we could recover things like that. “The Man on the Flying Trapeze” will keep popping into your head many hours after you’ve seen this movie.
I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you have already seen it at one time or another, but don’t worry–Capra, Gable, and Colbert never get stale.
Oh! And this may be your only chance to see an autogyro–obsolete predecessor to the helicopter–in action.
Well, waddaya know! They’re still making autogyros! Nice, sleek, modern ones–I had no idea. I wonder why they’re not more popular than they seem to be. They look like they’d have the advantages of a helicopter but would be much safer. The one in the photo is an old one, about identical to the one used in the movie.
We got five of these calls yesterday–answer the phone and there’s no one there. It’s really annoying!
Reading up on it, we find two chief causes of nobody-there phone calls: 1) telemarketing robots mindlessly dialing numbers even when the telemarketer isn’t there to pester the victim; and 2) collecting in-use phone numbers for sale to criminals who want to steal your identity or hack into your bank account.
The advice we get from all sources is, “Just hang up.”
I don’t know why telemarketing is allowed at all. Actually, one of my first jobs after college graduation was as a telemarketer for Time-Life Books. At least I was a real person whom the victim could curse at and call names. I mean, when you’ve just sat down to your dinner, and you’ve got a loved one in the hospital, you’re gonna get up and answer the phone, aren’t you? And when it’s nobody–!
These calls are up there with aiming floodlights at your neighbor’s bedroom window all night, or cutting loose with your leaf-blower at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning.