As most of you know, today is Veteran’s Day (or Remembrance Day, depending on where you live). As I am not up for a heavy post, I thought I’d reflect on one aspect of a veteran dear to my heart, my dad. He served in the U.S. Air Force, and today’s post is dedicated to him. I miss you, dad!
I mentioned in a recent blog post the magical day when my parents (chiefly my dad) broke down and purchased a VCR. It was the mid-80s, and the flourishing market of home video was bringing an array of choices to our living rooms. Gone were the days of having to either a) see a movie in the theater, or b) wait for it to be aired on television. Living out in the boonies with a handful of snowy channels pulled in through our roof antenna, our TV movie choices were even more limited. No HBO (Honey, BeastMaster’s On!) for us. We were stuck watching edited for television movies on network TV. Remember the badly dubbed voiceovers that never quite matched the tone, covering the “indecent” language? I still recall my favorite edit, from the beloved Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “Cameron is so tight, that if you stuck a lump of coal-IN HIS FIST-in two weeks, you’d have a diamond.” That’s benefit #1 of VCR ownership right there. Blank tapes, so you could record your favorite movies off air. Bonus points if you mastered the skill of pausing and resuming recording during commercials. I was a recording ninja.
With this advent of home movies courtesy of the VCR, my dad took full advantage of the opportunity to broaden my film horizons. And with the emergence of the $1.99 movies (to buy, not rent. What a bargain!), my dad was able to bring home such classics Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy, Attack of the Crab Monsters, It! The Terror From Beyond Space, The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and A Bucket of Blood; serials like Flash Gordon, Radar Men From the Moon and perhaps my all-time favorite, Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere.
As you can see from this small sampling (seriously, he had dozens and dozens of tapes) I was never at a loss for classic cinema. It’s not every thirteen year old girl who will sit for hours on end, watching B-movies from the 50s and 60s (and earlier) with her dad. Call it an odd way to bond, but for us, it worked. Perhaps it was made better, our boding sessions heightened, by my mom occasionally peeking in on us, rolling her eyes before leaving us to watch Earth Struggle For Its Very Survival! I guess she just wasn’t a fan of high-concept art.
I’ve looked up some of the tag lines and am glad to see they brilliantly portray the thrills, the chills, the promise of excitement each piece of cinematic genius offered movie-goers.
Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy: Weirdos! We DARE you to see it!
Attack of the Crab Monsters: From the depths of the sea…a tidal wave of terror!
It! The Terror From Beyond Space: It Breathes. It Hunts…It KILLS!!
They just don’t make ‘em the way they used to. It’s too bad.