|Lady and the Tramp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Some of my earliest memories relate to movies. When I was a child my parents, my mother especially, were fairly avid movie-goers. In the faintness of my memory I seem to recall going to the movies nearly once a week. It was probably not that often considering the tight budget to which our family likely adhered, but still it was probably more often than most of the other kids that I knew.
Many Saturday mornings my mother would take us to movies that were older films that circulated in the theaters for what were likely budget showings. We'd see monster movies, comedies, westerns, and other B films that were considered family fare and in some cases maybe not. My favorites were the comedies of Abbot and Costello and anything scary or science fiction related.
We always had a television when I was growing up and much of my movie viewing was right in our own living room. There were no large screen televisions in those days so we were accustomed to watching programming on a 15 to 19 inch screen. Since I didn't know anything else this was my norm and I never considered that television screens would ever be larger. Another norm for us was black and white. I had seen color televisions like the one a wealthy uncle and his family had, but my family never had one until after I was in high school. And that color television had what I'm guessing was a 25 inch screen.
Back then a big screen was what they had in the movie theaters. It was always a special event when my father and mother both took my sister and I to the movies. Usually as a family we'd go to see whatever major release was showing--typically it would be a Bible epic like The Ten Commandments though sometimes it might be a Disney film like Bambi or Lady and the Tramp. If there was a circus film or something that might have a juggler in it then that was a guaranteed theater excursion. It was all fine with me as any movie was something that I wanted to experience.
After we moved to San Diego when I was eight years old, I probably watched an average of nearly a film a day on television. That's not to say I didn't spend time outdoors or playing with whatever it was I played with back then. Time was in abundance so I always seemed to have plenty of time for both play and watching television.
In those days on the San Diego television station there was a movie every week day afternoon. I'd often watch those after coming home from school. Then there was Saturday Night at the Movies on NBC when they would show fairly recent top tier films. I was in front of our television set for nearly every one of those. Some of my favorite viewing was on Friday and Saturday nights when starting at 11:30 PM one of the stations would show films all night. Apparently my parents were fine with me doing so because many a weekend I'd be up late, sometimes all night, watching two or three movies in a row.
When I was entering middle school--or junior high as we called it back then--we moved to Northern Indiana. In nearby Crown Point there was an old theater on the town square. Nearly every Friday night you could find me there with my sister and a friend or two. There were the James Bond films, surf movies, and the rock and roll films such as the Beatles' Hard Day's Night and Having a Wild Weekend with the Dave Clark Five. The candy was cheap and movies were a quarter. My mother would drop us off and pick us up when it was all over. Those were great times.
My childhood of watching movies was not just memorable to me, but it paved the way for a avid enjoyment of films in later years up until now. I don't watch films like I used to, but I easily could if that were how I wanted to devote my time. And I'd like to spend a lot of time watching movies, but there are so many other things that I want and need to do.
The other day my wife said that when she retired we'd watch movies all day. I'm not sure I'm ready for that much movie watching, but it sounds tempting.
Did you watch a lot of movies when you were a child? Did your parents take you to see movies? What are some films that you saw as a child that had a big influence on you?