musings on travel, international living, development aid, politics, turkey (the country more than the meat) and anything else that comes to mind...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Preparing for Life as a Retiree

Yesterday I turned on my television and, for some strange reason, the satellite opened to Turner Classic Movies. Now I'm a big fan of movies, but HD is usually preferable to Technicolor in my book. For some reason, I couldn't change the channel. It might've been that I needed to switch out the batteries in the remote control, but I think it had more to do with the fact that I was enthralled by the powerful primary colors, fake backgrounds, and scenes of 19th century high society (riverboats, etc). After watching the epic "How the West was Won" (1962) last night (in case you were wondering, it was railroad that won the west), I woke up this morning, still in last night's trance, to "Billy Rose's Jumbo" (1962). Here are some thoughts on my journey down pre-memory lane:
  • The women in these movies are stunningly beautiful, akin to porcelain dolls, albeit surprisingly similar in appearance to one another.
  • Every movie made before I was born seems to have been a musical, something distinctively lacking in today's flicks. Now I know where Bollywood got the idea.
  • British accents were synonymous with sophistication even in the days of yore.
  • Butt chins were acceptable and made the manly men even manlier.
  • Horses featured prominently in every movie.
  • Kissing sequences never lasted less than 5 minutes, were always accompanied by sweeping strings, and rarely involved anything other than the actor/actress locking lips at extremely awkward neck angles for excruciatingly long amounts of time.
  • "Special effects" are almost more special when you realize that they were accomplished before the advent of computers.
  • Any given group of Native Americans ("Indians") had vocabularies eerily similar to a pack of hyenas.
  • Did life exist before computers?
I have to note that Billy Rose's Jumbo was particularly entertaining at the end. If you haven't guessed by now, it's about a circus and contains all the normal mid-century drama: love found, love lost, rags to riches to rags to riches, love found again. The fun thing about BR's J (as a gen. next-er I feel the need to abbreviate everything) was that after the final plot resolution (read: love found again) the movie extended for several more minutes on a colorful dance/circus/song master performance that made me want to dust off my old clown nose, train an elephant on my upcoming trip to Kenya and join a mid-western circus circa 1934.

Anyone care to join?