Friday, July 06, 2007

I am Timacus


I have always been an avid movie watcher. I have loved escaping into a good film for as long as I can remember. We couldn’t afford to go to the movie theaters much when I was a kid, so many of the early movies I watched were on our console black and white television. I don’t even think my parents bought a color television until after I left home. I remember being shocked when I saw the Wizard of Oz in color for the first time. I had assumed the yellow brick road was gray for years.

On the rare occasions when we did go out to a movie as a family it was usually a drive in. My brothers and I would put on our pajamas and pile into the family’s old 1936 Chevy. Once we got to the drive in, we’d go play on the swing sets and jungle bars until it got dark enough for the movie to start. Then we’d pile back into the car and pass around a grocery bag filled with popcorn my mom would pop ahead of time. I’d usually fall asleep before the movies ended and wake up being carried into the house.

My favorite films were epics involving sword fighting. I enjoyed films like Spartacus, Ben Hur, and the Vikings. My brothers and I would act out the films for weeks after seeing one. My father made us wooden swords and we crafted shields out of old garbage can lids. We never seemed to get tired of chasing each other around the yard whacking each other with the wood swords screaming, “Oden,” and “Vahalla!”

I also remember being fascinated by an old Disney movie called Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow. It came out in 1963 and starred Patrick McGoohan. He played a 18th century reverend in England who lead a band of smugglers who dressed like scarecrows when they moved their merchandise. I wanted to be the scarecrow. I made a scarecrow mask out of an old burlap bag and rode around the neighborhood on my bike with it on head calling out that I was the scarecrow. I think the burlap gave me a rash.

I was an odd child.

Patrick McGoohan also starred in another Disney film that came out in 1964 called the Three Lives of Thomasina. It was about a little English girl and her cat. I had a crush on the little girl. I think it was my first crush on a film character. Several years later I had a crush on Dr. Zira, the chimpanzee scientist in the Planet of the Apes.

I told you I was an odd child.
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