March 9th, 2011

overthehedge

Earliest Movie Memories

The other day I was watching the old Charles Bronson movie "Breakheart Pass." It's an ok movie with lots of great steam train action. I wanted to see where it was filmed (Camas Prairie RR in Idaho) so I hit up Wikipedia. I saw they had a link to "movies by year" so I hopped into the time machine to see how far back I could go in my memory as to the first movie I saw in a theater.

I was 10 in 1975 and by that time I had fully discovered the joy of movies. Of course that was the year "Jaws" came out and I vividly remember going to a theater near Utica NY with my parents while we were on vacation and sitting in a packed house. My aunt took me to a lot of R-rated movies. Looking at the list I see familiar titles like "Dog Day Afternoon" (now THAT'S a movie you should take a 10-year old to! *LOL*), "Race With the Devil" (a really bad horror movie), and Disney's more age-appropriate "The Strongest Man in the World."

1974 had the classic kids' movie "Benji." Of course I was a disaster nut at that time so "Earthquake" was firmly burned into my memory especially since I saw it in Sensurround! Although I didn't see it at the time I also have fond memories of my dad talking about "Blazing Saddles" which he saw by himself. He laughed about it for days afterward. We finally saw it together when they re-released it sometime when I was either in high school or college. Either my aunt or my parents took me to "Murder on the Orient Express." More trains! Yay! A special mention should go to Steven Spielberg's "The Sugarland Express" because as we were going home from the theater the car broke down. We thought someone had siphoned our gas tank. Nope. Someone had stolen the whole friggin gas tank! Ah! The good old days of the Arab oil embargo!

1973 had a few memories like "The Seven Ups" which had one of the best car chases in movie history (second probably only to "Bullitt" and maybe "The French Connection"). The plot confused my little 8-year old mind, but I do remember "The Sting" and that wonderful soundtrack. I didn't see it, but my teenage sister went to see "The Exorcist" and I remember her telling my parents that people were freaking out in the theater.

1972 and the memories are fading. I was also too young for a lot of films at the time as well. Only "The Poseidon Adventure" sticks out. I LOVED Irwin Allen disaster movies! An honorable mention goes to "Deliverance" since the commercial scared the heck out of me (the hand rising out of the lake).

Looking at the movies from 1971, there are lot of great titles on the list, but nothing that I can remember. All I recall was hearing about a movie that was really violent for its day; "Dirty Harry." It was a pay-per-view movie in the motel we were staying at when we were visiting Florida (and an Apollo mission was getting ready!)

So my memories only go back as far as 7. I also had responsible parents who didn't take a young kid to adult movies. My dad saw a lot of movies by himself because mom stayed home with me or my grandmother babysat. I wish more parents today would follow that example!