The above is the original trailer for Howard Hawk’s The Thing From Another World from 1951. I’ve been telling people my whole life that it was the first movie I remember watching. I believe it was and the weird part is I remember watching when I was a baby…I mean an INFANT baby! So I suppose that move -mainly the opening with the title burning into the screen is my earliest memory of all. My Dad was holding me and I think trying to rock me to sleep. It was dark in the room save for the light from the TV screen and I actually think I remember that overly dramatic music that many movies had from that era. It’s a wonderful memory and I still love that show today. Many people have suggested that I don’t TRULY remember that….that instead I am remembering people (perhaps my Dad) telling the story of how he would watch Monster movies while he rocked me in front of the TV late at night. I’m sure that’s possible but I choose to believe MY version. Come to think of it my Dad did introduce me to some of the greatest TV and movies of all time. He’s actually in large part responsible for me being the geek I am today. But I’m just fine with that. I have great memories of Dad coming home on Friday nights (he worked the night shift at that time) and we would watch the “CBS Late Movie – Double Feature” – they would often show one episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker and then some horror or sci-fi theatrical film.
I’d stay up in front of the TV waiting for him to come home. Often he’d bring cokes and sandwiches from the vending machine where he worked (a fabricated steel shop). Somehow as a little kid I thought those microwaved frozen sandwiches were just about the greatest thing ever – at least when we ate them late on Friday nights with Carl Kolchak chasing monsters!
He also introduced me to some fantastic (and I guess a bit subversive at times) British comedy (via PBS) – Benny Hill, Morecambe & Wise, and of course greatest of all the immortal Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I remember sometimes Dad would have me lower the volume during certain sketches because if Mom would hear too much “nasty talk” she’d make us change the channel. The Python troupe would often appear in drag and they would speak in a hilariously high pitched voice. One such bit they kept repeating the word PENIS and each time they said it louder…finally on the third PENIS that was it -Mom heard it from the other room and yelled in for us to turn it off!
The tradition has continued as I did allow my daughter to watch Beavis & Butthead with me at WAY TOO young of an age. Naturally we would do this when her Mom was asleep or gone somewhere. My daughter was also quite the Star Wars child as we showed her that movie when she was VERY young and she watched it OVER & OVER as little kids tend to do when they like something. Crazy as it sounds it’s possible she may have seen it more times than I have!
So I really feel sorry for those of you who didn’t have a Dad growing up…or had a crappy one. Mine was (and still is) a great one. I hope I’m half as good.