My mother has been instrumental in my classic film interest.
Without her, I wouldn’t have seen 501 musicals…or any classic films for that matter.
When I was five, my mom introduced “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954) to my sisters and me. My sisters and I giggled at “The Lonesome Polecat” song but even in the “pan and scan” VHS format, I loved it.
When I was 10, we watched “The Philadelphia Story” (1940) and I remember laughing when Cary Grant pushes Katharine Hepburn in the face and knocks her down at the beginning.
Along with life lessons and quizzing me on how photosynthesis works, Mom was my IMDB before I knew what IMDB was.
She told me about Ingrid Bergman’s exile from Hollywood because of her affair with Roberto Rossellini, about Annette Funicello’s battle with Multiple Sclerosis and that John Wayne was dying of cancer in “The Shootist.”
My mother has even been amazing enough to record movies off of Turner Classic Movies via VHS for nine years.
Since 2004, I’ve made lists of about 30 films a month that I would like to see.
And since then, even when I’m not living at home, my mom still records movies for me and rarely misses any. I probably have at least 200 VHS recorded films waiting to be watched thanks to my mother’s help. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t see any movies.
Each night, when I’m picking out a movie to watch, I set aside movies that I know my mother would want to see.
“Oh this one has Loretta Young,” or “I don’t think she’d want to miss Myrna Loy in this one,” I think as I save the films to watch with her.
Colorful musicals, down to Earth stories and heartwarming romances are some of our favorites to watch together.
Here are a few movies that make me think of my mom:
-Since You Went Away (1944): My mom was dying to introduce “Since You Went Away.” She’s a huge Claudette Colbert fan. I saw it for the first time back in 2005 when TCM showed it during a “Films of the 1940s” series. Between us, there isn’t a dry eye in our living room when we watch this movie. After that, it became my favorite movie, replacing my past favorite, “West Side Story” (1961).
-Gidget (1959): My mom and I categorize the Sandra Dee and James Darren movie as one that we never want to end. She showed it to me for the first time in 2004 and I was enchanted. Our favorite things about this film are Dee’s outfits, the lighthearted theme and looking at James Darren.
-Doris Day movies: When Doris Day was Star of the Month in January 2003, I had only seen “Pillow Talk” (1959). To make sure I was introduced to more Day films, my mom recorded several including “The Glass Bottom Boat” (1966), “The Tunnel of Love” (1958), “Julie” (1956) and “Love Me or Leave Me” (1955). After that, Doris Day became my favorite actress.
Since then, Mom has aided me and in seeing all but three of Day’s films. Our favorites to watch together are “On Moonlight Bay” (1951) and “I’ll See You in My Dreams” (1951).
-Jane Powell Films: Whether it’s “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954), “Luxury Liner” (1948) or “Two Weeks With Love” (1950), we adore Jane Powell. One of my mom’s personal favorites is “A Date with Judy” (1948).
-MGM Series films: There isn’t a “Maisie” or “Dr. Kildaire” movie that we dislike, and we have seen them all. Ann Sothern, Lew Ayers and Lionel Barrymore brighten our evenings. Even though we aren’t huge Mickey Rooney fans, we also love the Andy Hardy series, especially “Love Finds Andy Hardy” (1938).
-State Fair (1945): We die for Jeanne Crain’s dresses and Dana Andrews in “State Fair.” We also mourn that no state or county fair is actually like the one in this Roger’s and Hammerstein musical. The colors, the music and the spiked mince meat scene always leaves us smiling.
-Classic Christmas films: I think it’s safe to say that my family has seen nearly every classic Christmas film, because we go out of our way searching for them. “Holiday Affair,” “Christmas in Connecticut,” “White Christmas” and “It Happened on 5th Avenue” are just a few we enjoy.
I could go on all day with movies my mother and I love, but instead I should thank her for introducing her to my hobby of classic films.
Even with my blog (which she is probably proof reading as she reads this), she’s been supportive of the beauty tips-even bathing in milk and washing my hair with champagne- just as long as I wash out the tub. She also helped me make my fruit hat when I was Carmen Miranda for Halloween in 2010.
I even got a little sad during the Turner Classic Film Festival, because she wasn’t there to hear Kate MacMurray talk about Fred MacMurray or to see Ann Blyth in person.
When I was a child, I’m sure she had no idea what sort of fanatic she was creating as she introduced us to old movies, but I don’t think she minds.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!