After the Fact: Frivolous ways


It’s been a long while since I went to a movie theater. When you live a mile or so from the drive-in movie, it’s just a lot easier to load up the kids, the dog and snacks for all to see the latest fare. Of course, it’s only open in summer, but, during the interim, there’s Netflix. With exception of the wonderful Disney, Pixar, and other animations, movies aren’t all that exciting anymore anyway. When they present the Oscars or Emmys, I haven’t a clue who most of the nominees are, let alone the winners.

Few, if any, of the contemporary “movie stars” can hold a candle to performances by the Humphrey Bogarts and Katherine Hepburns of the film industry. Re-makes of the old movies are never as good largely because they can’t “re-make” the stars. Can you imagine any of what my friend refers to as “the Bimbettes” taking on the role of Scarlett O’Hara? I can hear it now: “Like, oooh, tomorrow is, well, tomorrow is maybe Thursday and who’s this Tara? Is she going to be in this movie? Well, for c***’s sake, I’m not going to work with just a nobody.”

Not all of the contemporary stars are brainless but not many could compete with Hedy Lamarr. For those who don’t know, Hedy, in addition to being a rare beauty and accomplished actress, invented the precursor for wi-fi and GPS back in the 40’s, otherwise known as spread-spectrum technology.

The movies I saw as a girl were not “rated” for content. It wasn’t necessary. There was no nudity and no profanity. Mae West was pushing the envelope with a suggestive “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?” in the movie, “She Done Him Wrong.” And the first scandalous love scene was when Burt Lancaster had a roll on the beach with Deborah Kerr, both in ‘50’s approved swim wear. My friends and I all gleefully paid our ten cents to see that movie! And we each bought a box of popcorn for another dime. Talk about a cheap date!

Do teens even go to the movies on a date anymore? My great-grandson Jacob ended a budding romance (he’s now in junior high) because his date wanted popcorn when he took her to a movie. “Grandma, she spent my whole two weeks’ allowance and I have to work hard for that!” With the cost of admission plus popcorn and a coke, they’re going to spend the equivalent of what I earned in a month (or maybe two months) working as a part-time waitress at Draggon’s Drug Store in my hometown. It was across the street from the high school, a plum job for the girls who wanted to work but didn’t have a car of their own. I started at 3:30 and worked three hours, two or sometimes three days a week, meaning I had a warmed-over dinner at home before starting my homework. And I worked on Saturday. My social life was pretty well non-existent but I had money in the bank. And I wasn’t about to spend it on an hour or so at the theater, and their popcorn wasn’t as good as what we could make at home.

I have another great-grandson in Creede. John D. doesn’t have the problems that face Jacob, who’s in Cheyenne. There are fewer than 10 kids in his class and not much for teens to do up there. He’s not old enough to have a drivers’ license yet. Somehow, I don’t think John D. cares about dating: he’s too busy working and hunting and participating in sports and he’s not going to spend his money on frivolities. Or girls.

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