I grew up HATING old movies. Yes, I completely admit that. And what’s worse, is that I have no idea why. I just refused to watch any movie before 1990. It now occurs to me that was almost 25 years ago and those movies are now considered classics… but I digress. That changed ever so slightly when my parents got DirecTV and the very first TV show I stumbled upon was I Love Lucy. It was addiction at first sight, an addiction that only escalated when I learned that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were married in real life. I read (and I hated reading back then) everything I could get my hands on about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and I also remember the day that I learned their marriage ended in divorce. I didn’t watch I Love Lucy for months after that, I just couldn’t. I think I must have thought I was punishing or spiting them or something. Silly, huh? I still mourn their marriage deeply, although my wounds are somewhat licked by the fact that I know what a deep friendship they were able to form after their split. Somewhat…
Ok, back to movies. Soon after discovering I Love Lucy, I also watched the three movies that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz did together: Too Many Girls (the movie on which they met), The Long, Long Trailer, and Forever Darling. In spite of my delusional denial of their divorce, I even managed to watch Lucille’s movie Yours, Mine, and Ours that she did with Henry Fonda, who she went on one date in early 1940. But still, those were my only exceptions to my “I hate old movies” declaration.
Fast forward almost 20 years… In May of 2014, I randomly got the idea that I was going to watch every movie Lucille Ball ever filmed, no matter how small her role. To accomplish this, I discovered the Turner Classic Movies channel (call letters TCM) and my first committed movie viewing of classic film was Meet The People (1944). Beyond the year of release, this was ironic because it was a musical and… you guessed it. I hate musicals. But guess what? It was good! Even though Lucille’s voice was dubbed (DON’T get me started on that… that’s a soap box I’ll never get off of.), it was very good.
One non-Desi Arnaz Lucille Ball movie under my belt, and my viewing continued. It wasn’t long before I decided to watch the entire filmography of other actors and actresses: Carole Lombard (Lucille Ball’s best friend until her death), Clark Gable (Carole’s 2nd, and last, husband), Red Skelton (who I discovered thanks to my grandmother, but never watched anything more than his sketches), and Mary Wickes (I discovered Little Women and Sister Act the same year as I Love Lucy), the list goes on…
It’s now been 6 weeks since I’ve started my Classic Movies Check List, but I haven’t limited my viewing to just those movies. I’ve finally kicked my cinematic prejudices to the curb and stopped judging movies by the year they were made or who is in it (for the good or the bad), and instead decided whether or not to watch a movie based on the plot. What a novel idea, huh?
I’m now completely hooked. I’ve even completely altered my sleep schedule (I sadly don’t have a DVR. I need one.) to view movies that I know won’t be airing for a while. This is impressive because I HATE getting up early. Working from home (more on that later), I’m able to have flexibility in my schedule, so I’d much rather sleep 2am-9am rather than 10pm-5am. I’ve even jokingly called anything before 7am 0 flight:30 because that’s the only reason I thought good enough to be up at such a horrible hour. Now, watching classic movies is on that list. If you were at my house, you’d often see me dragging myself out of bed (or staying up til) at 3am just to watch a movie.
Now, I know you must be thinking I’m nuts. And I am. “Why don’t I just buy the DVD?”, you ask? For a few reasons… One is that I don’t like paying money for something that I’m not sure I’ll like… I do that enough with DirecTV (and believe me, I’ve spent too many years not getting my money’s worth by watching mediocre at best TV and not finding the good stuff). Second, and most importantly, there are SO many good classic movies out there that I just don’t have the time to have a large list of movies I watch more than once (although, believe me, I do have a list). Third, space. It’s the same reason I don’t buy physical books. (Like the smell of them? There’s a candle for that.) If I bought a physical copy of every book I’ve ever read or every movie I’ve ever watched, I’d have to live in the Vanderbilt mansion… or the National Archives lol. Last, and this is just my personality, I can picture myself getting a DVD of a movie that I love and, for no particular reason, not wanting to get rid of it…maybe just because reselling movies I have no plan on keeping in the first place is a lot of wasted time better spent watching movies. I’m not saying that DVDs aren’t great and don’t have a lot of great bonus features, but I’ll rent them from the library if at all possible.
Another good place to find movies, I’ve discovered, is Youtube. The selection isn’t great, and you often need to view it in several different parts. but if there’s a classic movie you want to watch, and you can’t find it anywhere else, check youtube! You may be surprised. As someone that won’t pay for music either, it’s no surprise that I’ve found some great movies there.
Now that I’ve watched over 100 movies (and no, I’m not kidding… I was as shocked as you are when I did the final tally), my obsession has lead to another great idea… well, other than this blog. I’ve decided to meld my love of classics with another one of my loves- fan fiction. Why do most of my loves start with something I don’t like? Because I seriously hate writing, but I love both reading and writing fan fiction. Sadly, there aren’t many classic film fandoms out there, but I’m hoping to single handedly (or not so single handedly, I’d be thrilled if I had other classic film fan fics to read!) change that. Please see my “Contact Info” page for the link to my fanfiction.net profile.
I mentioned before that God has blessed me with a flexible schedule. That’s because I own my own business, In Their Footsteps Genealogical Services. Between classic films, my work, and my love of vintage hairstyles and clothing, it’s no wonder that I think I was born in the wrong decade. As in love as I am with these films now, I can only imagine living in the era in which they were made… although it is nice to have the modern convenience of having them all at my fingertips in one one way or another.
I’d love to learn more about my readers, so please use the contact form before to tell me your story with classic films! Do you know someone who loves classic films and/or fan fiction as much as I do? Please share this blog with them. Do you know someone who held the same preconceived notions that I once did? I would love to open the door (or uncover the rabbit hole) to classic films for them!
My journey down the rabbit hole of classic films has already been an interesting one. Where will it lead me next? I have no clue. But then again, that’s the very nature of rabbit holes, now isn’t?
“As soon as my film is done.” ~*~Alice~*