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Today's Audience


bhryun
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Hi -

 

I just turned 40 in July. This afternoon this beautiful young guy with full lips who bagged my groceries was a CLONE of Ricky Nelson. I said "I bet everybody tells you that you look just like Ricky Nelson!" He looked at me vapidly and said, "Sorry, I don't know who that is, Mam" - Well, after I scraped myself up off of the floor from 'Mam' (where was I when I stopped being 'Miss?!') I stopped to think - how would this kid know who Ricky Nelson was? When I was growing up we had 13 channels. No cable. No Vcrs. No Infomercials. No syndicated shows. No MTV. You watched what was on the 13 channels - whether you wanted to or not! When you got home from school you didn't watch "Oprah" - you watched reruns of "Ozzie & Harriet" and "Father Knows Best" ... All of the local channels ran the "Million Dollar Movie," "The Early Show," "The Late Show," "The Late, Late Show" - you had 13 channels so you watched what your parents watched or you didn't watch at all - then we stumbled on Cary Grant and Doris Day and Bogie and fell in love. These kids NEVER see them - but it's not their fault - they can't know what they don't see! Yes - TCM is here - but we're looking for it - I have the Golf Channel, too - but I don't watch it because I'm not interested because I've never watched alot of Golf. I bet if today's kids had the exposure to classic movies as they grew up like most of us did - and not have to take them like medicine because it's good for them - they would enjoy them so much more .... Ahhh... All this over Ricky Nelson!! LOL!

 

- Madge

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Madge, after reading your post I decided to glance through a few People Magazines and jotted down some names of current celebrities, which I admit I wouldn't recognize, if I past them on the street.

Owen Wilson? Natalie Portman? Seann William Scott? Julia Ormond? Orlando Bloom? Reese Witherspoon? Josh Hartnett? Paris Hilton? Ryan Phillippe? Sienna Miller?

And I wasn't aware of a group called Toto. The only Toto I knew of was Dorothy's dog in "The Wizard of Oz".

 

So, I guess the reverse can be said of some of us older movie buffs, who knew of Ricky Nelson (I even have some of his hit records).

To be honest with you, I'm glad I belong to yesterday's audience.

 

Mongo

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Hi Madge and Mongo,

 

Madge, you should have said "Ricky Martin" instead of Ricky Nelson and you would have hit a cognisant brain cell in that young man.

At least he was polite and called you 'Ma'am', which is a very respectful term in Canada, Britain and the southern States but apparently not in the remainder of the States.

This is the proper way to address The Queen, should you ever meet her.

 

Mongo, the following current celebrities whom you mentioned are:

Owen Wilson, Seann William Scott and Josh Hartnett - dweebs, university frat boy entertainers, who say 'wow', 'awesome', 'right on', 'amazing' and 'dude' and are called talented.

Natalie Portman and Sienna Miller - interchangeable bimbos, fond of saying "Oh my God" a lot; who once the wrinkles start will find their 'careers' at an end. No Katharine Hepburns nor Lauren Bacalls here.....

Julia Ormond - a fair enough actress, but no volcano (yet??)... She played Caterine the Great on TV before Catherine Zeta Jones and was better.

Toto - a band that is actually pretty good. A pretty good group. I have an album of theirs and am not covering my ears, so I'll give them a pass!!

 

Larry

 

 

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Hello! I am new and mostly a lurker, but I had to reply to this. I am 32 and grew up watching the classics and have spent my whole life feeling out of touch with everyone else. Still do, but I decided to take some action and educate. I have had quite a few get togethers where I supply drinks, eats and what I consider an essential watch. I tell them there will be a question contest at the end which applies to their competitive side. It has always been a blast even if they will never again watch anything earlier than the 80's on their own accord. I just can't have someone I know miss the experience of Casablanca, Sunset Boulevard or Gone With the Wind. I should take it as a good sign as they keep coming back and don't fall asleep.

 

On an added note, my seven year old daughter knows who Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Jack Lemmon, Joan Crawford and (my personal fav) Marlene Dietrich are. She can also quote Sunset Blvd. It's all in the selection. Children can't help but laugh at the "Charge!!" and Grant performance in Arsenic and Old Lace. Or the silly morocco dance of Lemmon in Some Like it Hot. And who can resist the charm and Grace of Miss Hepburn???

 

I honestly believe most people have a misconception of classics and are pleasantly surprised to see the originality, witty dialogue and overall class of these films we love. Madge, thank you for the post and making me feel not so alone in my thinking!

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I've worried about this lack of accidental exposure a lot, Madge, but I was encouraged when I saw a promo on TCM last night for a new program that brings movies into the schools. Teachers can get hold of a study guide that helps them inform their grade-school students about various black-and-whites. I think the program is sponsored by TCM and IBM.

 

The movies in the first package have social and historical importance (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), but part of the curriculum is to teach about how films are made. These three films are also notable for their use of children as characters whose emotions are concentrated upon, which the creators of this program felt would help kids relate to the movies.

 

If you get a chance to see the promo, in which Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorcese describe the school program, do watch it. It might make you feel more hopeful, as it did me.

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divacrazed, I do think a lot of people have a misconception of the classics and simple exposure can sometimes cure this. I've written it before here but, again, since I met my wife, who has several older children than ours, I introduced the classics to them, the youngest now 10 and 12, and they absolutely love what they see. The 12-year-old boy is silly (as most boys that age) and thinks Bob Hope is far funnier than the comics today. He loves Errol Flynn films, Cagney films, almost every vintage picture I've shown him. The 10-year-old girl sat down and watched Torrent with Garbo and was enraptured. Imagine a young girl brought with today's hyperactive media enjoying a silent antique. Open-minded on their behalf of content and not outdated visuals can bring a lot of enjoyment out of the classics for a younger audience.

 

I'm currently stacking a long-term care facility with copies of classics for the residents to enjoy, films like It's Love I'm After, Holiday, Four's a Crowd, To Be or Not to Be, light pictures I believe the residents would enjoy and not tax them too much and they're loving them, but the staff, primarily younger, who've never been exposed to these films themselves, are loving them too. It just comes down to simple exposure, I think, and I'll have to show the kids Arsenic and Old Lace. I surprised I haven't already.

 

Johnny

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Hi Johhny,

 

What a great idea to stock seniors facilities with old movies. They would certainly appreciate them and what wonderful memories for them. Cuddos to you.

I am on a seniors aid board of directors (although I'm not yet classed as a senior); I hope you don't mind if I "steal" your idea!!

 

A good way to get young children interested in good quality films is to expose them to Walt Disney films. I have shown several to my little cousins and young friends and they really concentrate and discuss them afterwards. Stick a bowl of ice cream in front of them too, that helps!

Start with "The Sword and the Stone", "Cinderella", "Snow White" and then graduate to "Flubber" etc.

 

Larry

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Exposure at a young age is defiantly the key. People generally go to what they are used to and classic movies being so different from modern ones I think when people first watch them they are thrown off by the difference in style and they over look the substance of the film. After that they write off all classics. My little brother is off to a good start though. He is seven and one of his favorite movies for years has been Fiddler on the Roof. I also recently showed him Bringing Up Baby and different clips from the TCM website which he really liked. Part of it is he is seven and I am 22 and I think he looks up to me so he just kind of wanted to do something I liked, but considering he wanted to watch Brining Up Baby a second time its a good sign

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What a pleasure it is to visit these boards - everyone is so thoughtful and intelligent! The school project by TCM sounds promising. When I was growing up classic movies gave me exposure to history and other cultures. In a classroom films like "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,"

"Grapes of Wrath," "Stalag 17," "Around The World In 80 Days" etc. could open the doors for discussion on so many important topics ... I defy a classroom full of kids who love Hip Hop not to "get it" when Glenn Miller finds "The Sound" in "The Glenn Miller Story."

 

This reminds me of the school district in New York that has been teaching ballroom dancing to the young kids - they love it! Aside from the steps it's teaching those kids manners and social skills that will be so important the rest of their lives!

 

Speaking of manners - Larry, your post made me chuckle. Yes, even here in culturally starved L.A. "M'am" is a term of good manners and respect - when it is delivered with good manners and respect. The bag boy I mentioned earlier said it to me with a bored eyeroll which translated "You Old BAT!" I felt like Mabel Albertson! She's a lovely lady, but I haven't quite hit my "you old bat" years yet!

 

Diva, your parties sound like alot of fun - what a great idea! Johnny, what a kind thing you are doing. Your kindness is proactive - you've given me something to think about ...

 

I really enjoy everyone here!

Madge

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Madge and Larry, Thanks for your kind words. Larry, by all means, 'steal' the idea, I figured others have done so already but everytime I went into the homes where my wife works, or has worked, all I ever saw were cheap public domain garbage or Carousel or Fiddler on the Roof and I'm sure residents wouldn't mind watching something else. I brought them It's a Wonderful World, with Colbert and Stewart, and that went over them like the repeal of Prohibition did with the American public of 1933. Nice to see the more lucid clients have a good laugh. Some of them have been through so much grief and sadness I think they should spend whatever cognizant time they have left watching silly old films coz that's what I'll want to be doing when I'm in their position, if I ever make it to their position!

 

Johnny

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Johnny -

 

I'm going to change a terribly crass expression into a "G" Rated one - "Good ideas are like earlobes - everybody's got them" - You had a good idea and you followed up on it and as a result you are making people happy. It just makes me think of many ideas that cross my mind as I watch the news and read the newspaper (needy children, neglected seniors, stray animals ...) that fade away as quickly as they come. Most people - mea culpa - assume that someone else is going to pick up the slack. Well you followed through ... As Tennessee Ernie Ford would say - "You just gave me a hitch in the get-a-long!"

 

Thanks!

Madge

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Hi Madge and others- You've all had good comments regarding this topic. When I was growing up in the 1950's, we had a choice of three channels where I lived. They all ran movies, but back then the studios wouldn't sell their more recent films to tv, so most of the ones that were shown were from the '30's or '40s. Since that's all that was available, we watched them and enjoyed them. I can remember going to school and how all the guys were talking about the previous day's showing of "King Kong". Nobody spoke of it as an "old" movie. To us it was brand new.

 

Today, except for TCM there just isn't a place to expose kids to classic films. I think all of us should do our part and help educate kids in the joys of classic films. Whether, it's showing films at schools or just inviting your kids or grandkids and their friends in for a one. As the saying goes "Together we can make a difference".

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Someone made a good point about today's audiences somewhere - it's fantastic that we now have entire cable networks devoted to old films - but it means they no longer play on regular channels at late night or during the day, which is where many of us who were born in the TV age and after the Golden Age came to know and love our films. So unless you deliberately turn on these other channels - and what kid will - you don't know the films.

 

I love that TCM has an education program. I've introduced some of the great films to friends - some of them are my own age and have never seen them. I did have a friend from Haiti who knew all of Elvis' movies but didn't know where the term "you're trying to gaslight me" came from. I gave her the film and she loved it. We also watched All that Heaven Allows on a dinner break (night shift) and ended up watching the whole thing straight through! It was my Haitian friend and a young woman from Guyana, and we loved it. So all it takes sometimes is an intro.

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Being an old movie buff myself ( they don't have to "classic" just old), my kids of course were exposed to many different genres, and know who many of the greats are. My son shocked the pants off of me a couple of summers ago though. He had read "To Kill a Mockingbird" in his high school English class and they watched bits and pieces of the movie but he had never seen the whole thing. When he came to visit that summer, I had just taped it off TCM and he insisted on watching it. Now you must understand, my son is a movie talker. I have never known him to let more than five minutes go by without making some comment on the movie or actor, or a stray thought that just popped into his head. I started that movie and he sat on the couch absolutely mesmerized. Did not say one word, his eyes never left the screen. When it was over he sat back and whispered "wow". Then he looked at me and said I don't know what to say. He watched it four more time that summer and every time discovered something new. We had many wonderful talks.

my daughter is also very enthusiastic about the classics, although she prefers movies in color. In fact last Christmas she got me a dvd burner so I could make copies of some of the movies I've taped over the years for her. One of her favorites is "Scaramouche" with Stewart Granger. I think my kids have excellent taste!

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