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Keeping legends alive


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Hello all, my name is Richard and although I am new here, I am a long time classic film lover.

 

As of late I have been somewhat troubled by the fact that with ever changing times and new generations, many of the classic film actors of yesteryear are being forgotton.

 

The other day I went to Mickey Rooney's official website and found there was maybe 4 members that are a part of the forum. I went to Bing Crosby's website and couldn't help but wonder, am I the only person that comes here anymore?

 

I guess my question is, will there come a time when these actors/actresses will be forgotten?

 

I hope this is not the case, what is your opinion?

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I happen to love biographies! That is why I have been interested in even the silent stars. But maybe the new generation can only relate to their own generation of stars? I am not all that interested in the new stars unless they are in a movie I really enjoy. I never was interested in Amy Winehouse and only listened to one of her songs when she passed. I actually liked the song! Shows me I too should not

be so closed minded myself.

I'm sure there will be a few people of younger generations that will check out stars of the past.

 

In the years to come I have often wondered if even Elvis will be forgotten? I hope not!

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Unfortunately as with all things, the passage of time tends to shrink the memories of past events. People tend to live in their own times, but some get curious about the past and they want to explore it. All we can hope for is that these things (like films) are preserved in some fashion, so they're always available for future generations to experience. As a child I didn't have much interest in old movies, but over time I have developed more of a curiousity about them and a bit of nostalgia about what my parents grew up with (explaining my interest in the 30's and 40's times). I am glad there are opportunities to see many of these films today. Also the passage of time tends to redefine the importance or popularity of things past. Some films and their stars hold a "value", it may even grow. Others will fade, or I will like while you don't. For example Mickey Rooney and Bing Crosby were huge in their time, today the interest isn't at the same level. Not meant as a slight at them, its just the public persception today. But that could change in the future, the next generation may "rediscover" them .

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As time marches on in all art forms how well creative 'stars' from prior generations will be known or not is driven by many factors. Of course there is the sheer talent of the star but there are also non talent factors like how they died (dying young is a good way to be remembered but I wouldn't recommend it as a career move!), as well as various scandals.

 

Now this might only be how I frame things, but I see layers or tiers of stars from each generation (or time period), with a top layer that will always have an historical presence, a second layer that dims over time and than everyone else that only the direhards (i.e. those that make an effort to seek out), will know about.

 

The good think about the future is that it will be technically easier for subsequent generations to get 'old' content. This was NOT true when I was growing up in the 80s. So in most cases the content will be there IF one wishes to seek it out (and if can afford it).

 

Like we see today with cable TV and over 100 stations to pick from, where there are more options one often needs direction (a guide) to lead one to the gold. But at the same time these 'guides' tend to highlight the top layer and some of this second layer and thus in someways contribute to the loss of interest in anything beyond that.

 

As for Mickey Rooney my guess is that he will be most remembered for the movies he made with Judy Garland (someone more likely to be remembered because she was a film star, a music star and she has that 'scandal' quality associated with her life).

 

Bing Crosby? Well to me he is one of the top 3 male entertainer of the 20th century. But I can see him fading and being pushed to a lower tier by someone like Frank Sinatra since Frank had a more interesting tabloid type life.

 

 

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Though I'm sure this isn't a new "theory", here's what I think might be the reason why the memory of some great actors and entertainers just seems to fade away a generation or two after they've gone to that "Big Movie House/Stage in the Sky", whereas others seem to catch and hold the attention and fascination of many generations to come. I'll call it the "Rebel Syndrome".

 

Seeing as how Mickey Rooney and Bing Crosby were broght up by the OP mrstewart here, I'll start with them.

 

When one thinks of these gentlemen, one would think of Mickey as being that perenially likeable juvenile Andy Hardy, or at least in that vein. When one thinks of Bing, they'll remember him as that amiable and easygoing actor/crooner. And, as the OP, mrstewart, has mentioned here, both of these very talented gentlemen appear to be on that "Who Was He? Road" in the near future.

 

However, think of how Humphrey Bogart, or Marlon Brando, or James Dean, or Elvis Presley, all of whom seem to find new fans generation after generation, after, in some cases, decades after they've died. All of them started out either playing the "Bad Guy" or "The Rebel". In the case of Elvis, of course, he started out by shaking up the established music business of the time.

 

And, because each new generation is to a certain extent prone to reject the established order of the previous generation, there is a natural inclination for said each new generation to more appreciate those who in past generations did exactly that...reject the establishment.

 

In other words, the second group mentioned above were NOT just the nice, easy going, amiable sort, who during their lifetime played their role in the established order of things during their generation.

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Hello. I found the questions very interesting. I have been an classic movie fan for a while and am constantly finding new gems to enjoy. What I find most interesting is when I put these movies on the house seems to stop. My husband and my sons almost always end up watching the movies with me and comment how much they enjoyed it. They even suggest going out to buy the movie. That is how well it went over. When I put on a newer movie I usually end up watching it by myself. Maybe this phenomenon is only happening in my house. I just know that it has created some excellent movie times for me and my family. they also know alot of the actors and actresses by name now. I guess some of the old movies will pass away but I think alot will stick around just because they have qualities about them that the movies now don't have.

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> {quote:title=ennisdelmar2 wrote:}{quote}Unfortunately it may be worse than we think. I recently mentioned Jimmy Stewart at work and a couple of late 20-somethings asked me who that was.

There MIGHT BE a very simple answer to this, ennis.

 

A whole lot of Jimmy's movies were filmed with, yep, B&W film stock.

 

(...ya think I'm kidding?!...dude, I know some friggin' FIFTYsomethin's who get turned off at the sheer mention of watchin' a flick that's not in vivid Techicolor!...maybe you do too, HUH?!)

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That was great to hear, Maumak! B-)

 

However, you DO realize that your household is probably 1 in 10,000 in this regard, don't ya?!...I'm sorry to say.

 

(...btw, welcome to the site!)

 

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When one thinks of Bing, they'll remember him as that amiable and easygoing actor/crooner. And, as the OP, mrstewart, has mentioned here, both of these very talented gentlemen appear to be on that "Who Was He? Road" in the near future.

 

However, think of how Humphrey Bogart, or Marlon Brando, or James Dean, or Elvis Presley, all of whom seem to find new fans generation after generation, after, in some cases, decades after they've died. All of them started out either playing the "Bad Guy" or "The Rebel". In the case of Elvis, of course, he started out by shaking up the established music business of the time.

 

What's interesting about Crosby is that stylistically, at least in his first few years, he was a definite musical rebel of sorts, the prime proponent of a new, more intimate, less stiff pop vocal style (listen to jazz vocal records from most of the 1920s to hear the difference). He regularly recorded with black acts such as the Mills Brothers and even Duke Ellington's orchestra and always cited Louis Armstrong as a prime influence. Bing was hugely popular in the black community in the '30s, inspiring imitators both black and white. Heck, even Presley was indirectly influenced by Crosby (one of Elvis' favorite singers was Dean Martin, who sang in Bing's style).

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