Wednesday, December 15, 2004

To Jimmy, with love

When I was growing up, Saturday was the good day in the week. Our fresh, young bodies would wake us up at the crack of dawn, just in time to watch the Littlest Hobo on TV. However, being the well-mannered children that we were, we knew well enough that we were not allowed to watch the TV without permission: so, at five thirty in the morning, a troupe of little feet would pad to the door to the master bedroom, tap on the door and crawl on top of mom or dad, asking if we might watch TV and get ourselves some breakfast. How considerate and honest of us, we thought, mom and dad otherwise wouldn't have woken up for another three or four hours, and they never would have had to know that we were watching TV!
After the Littlest Hobo, a brief science show called "Did you know??" made way for our all time favourite, "My Secret Identity." The mailbox rattled, and the comics arrived! Second to the comics was the TV guide, where we immediately surveyed the evenings possibilities. Stephen looked for which episode of Star Trek was playing, David checked out who the Leafs were playing, and Marya and I went straight to the description of the movie playing that night on "Saturday Night at the Movies" on TVO. The arguing and debating began already at 8am, as to who would get to reserve the TV for that evening.
Once everyone was up, the TV went OFF, chores were written on the chalk board ("clean room: S, M, D, J." "vacuum: D" "Sweep: S" etc), half hour time slots of piano practicing began, and books (being read while "cleaning" our rooms) were taken away. The afternoon often consisted of a trip to the library, grocery store or mall, but mostly we spent afternoons outside climbing trees and playing games of back yard baseball with ghost runners.
Baths then took place while mom made the dough for pizza, and when we were all scrubbed squeaky clean, we'd sit down in the oven-warmed kitchen for some of the best pizza I've tasted in my life. When all had eaten and the Today was read, arguments that began brewing in the morning about the evening TV schedule came to fruition and because we had already seen that movie, or because the Leafs had a night off, the dispute would be settled, always resulting in at least one pouting child. Nevertheless, it was those evenings that we all watched either Hockey Night in Canada (Holy mackinaw!) or Saturday Night at the Movies together. We didn't have a VCR, so the movies that I grew up on were those movies, North by North West, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Sabrina, Cracked Rear View Mirror and many, many other classic movies. Mystery, romance, adventure in African jungles, we watched them all, and I love those movies. Some of the most popular movies that have been released in the past several years are remakes of the 1950's movies, and there's a reason for that: those movies, while perhaps cheesy, have good plots, good actors and did well for the technology that they had back then.
The actors were, in my opinion, that much more talented than those that you find nowadays. Sure, Harrison Ford is a good looking man and can convincingly portray a super-hero president, but I'd like to see him act as well as he does in addition to singing and dancing like Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire or Danny Kaye! We just watched It's a Wonderful Life this weekend, which stars the illustrious Jimmy Stewart. Look up his work biography, and you'll find some amazing classics: the afore mentioned Mr Smith and Wonderful Life along with such great films as Harvey, a story in which the 6'something Mr Stewart's best friend is a 6'something invisible rabbit. It doesn't get any better! You can take your Vin Diesel and his xXx-- I'll have Jimmy Stewart any day.

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