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Thursday, February 23, 2012

On My Birthday

Yes, dear readers, today happens to be yours truly's birthday. For the sake of the fact that there are creepy old stalkers out there, I'm not going to outright tell you what I turned today, but I assure you I'm still in my teens. :)

Since today is my birthday, I thought I'd share a personal story. It's the story about how I fell in love with classic movies. Every classic movie lover has a story about how they first became a Classic Hollywood fan. Most people don't wake up one morning and decide to be one. When someone's a fan of something current or modern it's usually something popular that they might have tried out for themselves and enjoyed. But most people don't say, "I want to try out classic films!" You stumble upon - it happens - you're hooked.

I've told you bits and pieces of this story before, but here is a full reflection. I mean, I've been meaning to do this for a while, and I guess a birthday's a pretty swell day to share something personal, right?

{You'll be surprised by how many details I remember.}

how i fell in love with classic films
As a little kid, my parents used to take me to the Blockbuster up the street. I’d wander excitedly down the aisles, carefully choosing out the DVD that I wanted. When I was little, I wanted to watch “The Powerpuff Girls” (much to my mother’s chagrin – she was never really a fan of Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles). As I got older, I rented out each season of “The Lizzie McGuire Show” (I know, it’s corny – but out of all those Disney Channel shows, I still say Lizzie is the best).
When I was about eight, my father excitedly found a copy of “The Sound of Music” for me. Every time he searched for the DVD, he found it had already been rented out – and made jokes that Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer were always renting it out to force upon their grandchildren. (To this, I gave him puzzled looks… Julie who? I was shocked later to find out it was the Grandmother from “The Princess Diaries.”)
Anyhow, that day he found it. I was thinking, “It looks boring,” but my eight year old self considered myself quite open minded so I okayed my dad renting it out, and went to find some Disney movie. We stopped by Giant, I picked up some sort of a granola bar, and returned home – yes, I always remember the granola bars. It’s what I went upstairs to get in the intermission.
We returned home, and my parents took me downstairs to the movie theater (yes, the movie theater – when you have movie buffs like my dad and me in the house, you kind of need one) and we settled in to watch. From the first scene, I was taken by how beautiful the mountains were. But I was still not sure if the film would be interesting.
And then, it captured my attention.
“It’s not boring.” It wasn’t. I laughed, I smiled, I tried to determine which Von Trap Child was my favorite. I thought Captain Von Trapp was mean – but we all know what a big marshmallow he turns out to be. I knew barely anything about the 1940’s or World War 2, but I loved it.
When the intermission came, I went upstairs to grab that granola bar and remarked to my father how much I loved it and how nice it was. We went back downstairs and finished the film, and I quickly decided it was my favorite movie.
Though after the film I had a really severe case of “Sound of Music-itis” (that’s the name I gave to the period of obsession one finds with the film after first experiencing how awesome it is – my friend watched it in the 5th grade from my encouragement, and the same thing happened to her)…. I watched it all the time, over and over again, had it rented out for months (I think I was singing the song in my sleep), I didn’t become immediately hooked on classic movies. 
It took another year for the full breakthrough, even though I loved an “old movie” with all of my heart… and I never forgot the first day I watched the movie.
That came in the summer when I was nine. I was on a real “Disney Channel” high that summer, as a lot of nine years old could be. I think I idolized it. And then, towards the very end of the summer and as I entered fourth grade, it all changed.
One night I was bored and my father invited me to watch a movie, if I’d like to. So I went downstairs and we watched “Love Crazy” with William Powell and Myrna Loy. On occasion, my father had showed me black and white movies – and even a silent film – as a young child, so it didn’t bother me.
I laughed my head off. It wasn’t the best film, thinking back and watching it over, but it was screwball and I enjoyed it. I decided it was a new favorite film of mine. And when I went upstairs, my mother was watching “The Philadelphia Story” on TV. I obviously didn’t realize any of the actors, but I was getting a good dose of black and white movies in lots of parallels.
Then we rented out “Singin’ in the Rain” from my new Netflix queue – the queue was all my own, but my father added this in for me. It was September by then, and though I told myself I still liked my silly Disney Channel shows, I didn’t find myself watching it as often. “Singin’ in the Rain” was an instant hit – and a new favorite movie. I watched it over and over.
I asked my dad to add more old movies into my queue, because I liked them. Next came “Bringing Up Baby” and I was done for. Now my nine year old self talked nonstop of classic movies and I declared Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, the stars of yet another new favorite movie, my favorite actors. After that, I looked forward excitedly to each Friday night – not only because it marked the end of a grueling school week (lol) but because at eight, we’d start a new classic film. There was “Some Like It Hot,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” – “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World” and “Sullivan’s Travels”… and, of course, “The Philadelphia Story” that Thanksgiving, which I excitedly looked forward to – now that Katharine Hepburn was my favorite actress, of course.
I let my love of these films be very open. At family dinners, I’d babble about how Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant were my favorites… and how each new classic movie I watched because my “favorite”.
In October of that year – I think it was Christopher Columbus Day – I had no school and stayed in bed all day reading Nancy Drews. Then I flipped through the TV channels and stumbled upon “I Love Lucy” – the show my mother enjoyed and the show I’d heard of so often, but had never stopped to watch. And it was an old show, and supposed to be great, so I watched.
The episode was “Return Home From Europe” – the one where Lucy pretends a cheese is a baby. I split my sides laughing and from then on, the rest, as they say, is history. Lucy quickly became my favorite actress, and  all I want to think or talk about was old movies and I Love Lucy. I ate, breathed, and slept classic film from then on.
***
Well, that's how it happened. I'm grateful. Very. What would I do without the classics? ;)
Ok, I'm going to blow out some birthday candles -

And that's all for now!
xoxo

23 comments:

StanwyckFan said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! [insert crazy rendition of "Happy Birthday" sung by yours truly]. I love your "how I got hooked" story - I think I'm gonna have to share mine this year... :D Happy Birthday, again!!!

Sophie said...

Happy birthday! I hope you're having a wonderful, classic film-filled day! :D I loved reading your story - it sounds like you have a very cool family! :)

Bette said...

Happy Birthday!!! I hope your day is filled with Lucy and Desi and you have a great day. Your story was really cool, it was a great way to share a post on your birthday. :-D

Dani said...

Happy birthday!!! That was such a lovely story, although it made me feel a little bit old. When you were 8, they had DVDs at Blockbuster?! When I was 8, we had to rewind those damn VHS tapes before returning them :) Good times...

Irene Palfy said...

Happy Birthday, Rianna!! :")

monty said...

Happy Birthday Rianna!

Meredith said...

Happy birthday, Rianna!

Rianna said...

Thank you, dear! I'd love to read your story :)

Rianna said...

Thanks, Sophie! And I'm glad you liked my story; my family is pretty cool :)

Rianna said...

Thank you, Bette! Especially for the Lucy and Desi filled wishes. :) Glad you liked the story!!

Rianna said...

Thanks, Dani! I'm glad you enjoyed my story, and don't feel old ;) Trust me, I had VHS tapes for a long time. :)

Rianna said...

Thanks, Irene!!! and I left a comment on your blog but thanks again for the lovely birthday post!

Rianna said...

Thanks, Monty!

Rianna said...

Thanks, Meredith!

KimWilson said...

Happy (belated?) birthday, Rianna. I enjoyed learning how you became a classic film fan. I think it's uusually our parents who introduce us to oldies but goodies (and sometimes not so goodies). I'm Catholic, so we watched The Sound of Music once a year for as long as I remember, so I understand your affinity for it.

Anonymous said...

Just saw this collection of Hollywood photos -- you might like it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/9104524/Oscars-glamour-in-Hollywoods-golden-age.html

Ginny said...

Happy belated birthday Rianna! I love hearing people’s stories of how they became classic movie fans so thanks for sharing yours. It’s so great that your dad was such a big part of it and that you get to share that special memory with him. The Philadelphia Story is what turned me into a classic movie fan, so it was cool to see it on your list! :)

Elisa said...

Happy Birthday!!

Rianna said...

Thanks, Kim. I'm glad you liked my little story. Oh, that's ironic, I attend a Catholic school.

Rianna said...

Thanks for sharing the link! I just discovered that the Oscars for the films of 1938 took place on my birthday :) Yay!

Rianna said...

Thanks, Ginny! I love reading those stories, too, that's why I was eager to share mine. :) Yes, The Philadelphia Story will forever be one of my favorites!

Rianna said...

Thanks, Elisa! =)

think taps said...

thanks you . I'm glad you liked my little story..you post such a innovative things..

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