This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. As they say, “Tis the season.” My colleague Morgan Lewis over at Morgan on Media has offered his keen movie thoughts for the yuletide season this month, too. Most recently, his Non-Obvious Christmas Movies list gets the credit for this particular memory download and the unique vibe one film had on me. Obviously, before it ever became the staple it is today, and played seasonally ad nauseam on cable.
“The line waiting to see Santa Claus stretched all the way back to Terre Haute. And I was at the end of it.”
The Marina Del Rey Six:
November 23, 1983: Once, I couldn’t wait until Thanksgiving came and went. For the kid in me, it signified Christmas (and presents) were just a few weeks away. Works that way when you don’t have to purchase them yourself. My cousin, who was more like a sister, and I would begin to plan our treasure hunt for locating wrapped gifts at grandma’s house.
Once found, careful scrutiny (and deft shaking) were the tools used to discover their masked contents.
Life was simpler then. Growing up may have dulled this child’s gleam for such things, but never did it go away entirely. Although, become more jaded I did to the marketing of it all. Much later, this newly crafted adult, now tempered by the cauldron that are the teen years, saw it repeated in the children who subsequently joined our clan by birth and marriage.
“We plunged into the cornucopia quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice.”
By now, living with She-whose-name-must-not-be-mentioned brought its own holiday peril to such family festivities. Right before this year’s Turkey Day, with her working another evening shift at the hospital, I found solace of more than one sort by heading to the movies. The Marina Del Rey Six, a few miles from our current place in Fox Hills, a new venue for this from-time-to-time single movie-goer.
I’d heard about A Christmas Story via the motley twosome on weekly television that hosted At The Movies. Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. Mostly, I sided with Roger in reviews. Yet, after seeing the film first-run, for one of the few times, it was Siskel who really nailed the film’s feeling of youthful angst and want. The sincere, be it an all too familiar, battle-weary awareness of being a kid at Christmas.
While no air rifle, I’ve owned every version (VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray) of the film ever since.