Old Movies

I revisited another old classic movie. This time it was Woman of the Year with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. I believe it was their first collaboration and the beginning of a lifelong romance between the two in real life.

I can’t entirely explain it, but there’s something special about these old movies set in a bygone era. In some ways, I prefer the old to the new. I think what we’ve gained in terms of technology and communications we’ve lost in terms of interpersonal relationships, ethics, morality, and general quality of life.

I’ve said it before (more than once), but if I could only have one channel for the rest of my life, I think I’d go with Turner Classic Movies. It’s the next best thing to having an actual time machine like the one Rod Taylor used in that H. G. Wells adaptation. I do think I’d like to step into one of those movie sets from the 40’s or 50’s and live there.

I’m definitely not one to say that everything new is crap and everything old is perfect, but I do think movies were much better when the emphasis was more on character and story and less on CGI and blowing stuff up. I like new movies when they are character-driven, usually smaller budget films that qualify more as art films than blockbusters.

I understand that those old movies often created an illusion of the ideal rather than represent the reality, but it’s an illusion I’d escape to any day. I don’t need reality TV because I get enough reality from Nashville traffic and the occasional headlines from the internet.

Everyone needs some black and white cinema in their lives. Everyone needs to experience the classics like Casablanca and To Kill a Mockingbird. Check out TCM from time to time. You won’t regret it.

We All Remember

I saw today where Robert Osborne passed away. I knew he had been in declining health, but I had no idea that he would be gone from us so soon. Part of me always hoped that he’d get well and return to his normal hosting duties on Turner Classic Movies. I, along with many others, will miss him.

I owe my love of classic films to Robert Osborne. No one made the old movies come alive for me like he did. He had such an old-school charm reminiscent of many of the bygone Hollywood actors and actresses in those movies. I looked forward to his introductions as much as the films themselves.

While I like the other hosts for Turner Classic Movies, none of them come close in my mind to bringing the golden age of Hollywood to life like he did. No one else had such a connection with the classic era of Hollywood like he did and carried himself with such elegant grace.

He always seemed like someone who’d be a joy to have a conversation with over a cup of coffee or tea. I imagine he would’ve been knowledgeable about many topics, but particularly about the old movies. He probably knew more about the classics than anyone and his introductions came across as warm and friendly rather than cold and academic. He was friends with many of the stars from those films, so I imagine he had more than a few anecdotes he could share.

I can’t imagine TCM without Mr. Osborne. I hope they keep up the homage to all the great films of a bygone era and while they can never hope to replace him, I hope they will continue to have hosts who will make those movies come alive to new audiences around the world.



Farewell to Lorien (and to Another Golden Age Actress)

“Crying farewell, the Elves of Lórien with long grey poles thrust them out into the flowing stream, and the rippling waters bore them slowly away. The travellers sat still without moving or speaking. On the green bank near to the very point of the Tongue the Lady Galadriel stood alone and silent. As they passed her they turned and their eyes watched her slowly floating away from them. For so it seemed to them: Lórien was slipping backward, like a bright ship masted with enchanted trees, sailing on to forgotten shores, while they sat helpless upon the margin of the grey and leafless world” (J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings).

Few are probably aware of it, but the world lost another star recently in the passing of Gloria DeHaven. She was another from the golden age of Hollywood who has slipped away from us.

I love watching Turner Classic Movies because I feel as though I’m stepping back into a simpler, less complicated world where it was easier to tell the good guys from the bad, where love was something worth fighting for, and where the cause of the just prevailed.

The world portrayed in these old movies is more and more a relic of the past with so many of the virtues and values seemingly going extinct in a world where more is better and where everything needs to happen NOW.

Seeing the old black-and-white does something good for my heart. The same goes for Technicolor. A lot of the newer movies may look and sound better, but they ain’t got the same soul (to appropriate a line from a Bob Seger song).

The old movies were about telling stories about real people who laughed and cried, loved and lost,  lived and died. There weren’t any CGI effects– just witty dialogue and fleshed-out characters.

I’ll have to look up one of Gloria’s movies and watch it in her memory. RIP to another from a golden age gone forever.

Old Books

I do love old books. I have quite the collection.

True, most of them aren’t in the best of shape and they aren’t probably worth a whole lot, but they have sentimental value for me.

One that I’m looking at right now as I write this is an 1892 Book of Common Prayer that I’ve had for long enough to not be able to remember where I got it or what I paid for it.

I’d love to climb into a time machine and be transported back to 1892, a la H. G. Wells. Since that is not likely to be an option any time soon, I’ll settle for a piece of 1892 in this little prayer book that looks like it’s 123 years old. Like I said, it’s not in the best condition. But it’s mine.

Some old things are good. Old friends and old pets are the best. Just ask my 15-year old feline. Finding old yearbooks and listening to old music can bring back the best memories.

Yeah, I’m old-fashioned. I don’t listen to much current top-40 music or go see the newest movies. I prefer old music and Turner Classic Movies, the channel that shows all the classics.

Maybe, at some point, I’ll find an edition of that 1892 prayer book that’s in better shape than mine is. If that’s the case (and if the price is right), I’ll snatch it right up and add it to my already ridiculous amount of books.

Until then, I’ll handle the one I’ve got with tender love and care. Maybe I should try that with the people who are currently in my life.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to turn off all your smart devices and electronics and go somewhere small and quiet and actually read a book. You know, the one with actual pages that you turn by hand. Those kind.

Try it sometimes.


Your January Report from Yours Truly (Borrowed from TCM)

I always love when they have the monthly updates from TCM about new DVD releases, as well as biographies about the classic movie stars and information about upcoming classic movie festivals.

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so here’s my own January report:

I recently read a fantastic book by Mark Batterson (In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day,  Wild Goose Chase, The Circle Maker) called The Grave Robber. It looks seven miracles of Jesus from the Gospel of John from the viewpoint that the God who did those miracles back then is the same God who is just as capable of producing miracles in this day and age. It definitely came at a time when I needed a spark of renewal and revitalization in my own faith, so I give it two thumbs way up.


Also, I’ve been listening to some old Bob Dylan. By that I mean his first eight studio albums, remastered and released in mono. I love the way he has with words, even if I don’t always understand completely what he’s singing about. Plus, I’m sure my two uncles are smiling down from heaven at this musical selection.


In keeping with the 60’s theme, I went to the library and checked out an old movie adapted from a Neil Simon play, Barefoot in the Park. It features Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, both looking radiant and very young in this film. It’s a comedy that manages to be funny and intelligently witty at the same time, a rare feat for Hollywood.


I think that wraps up my report for January. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep you updated on my latest book, movie, and music finds that will probably not be new (or possibly even new to you) but they will be new to me.

So until next time, watch TCM and keep me posted on what you are reading, listening to, and watching these days.