Without mom, I’d never see any classic films

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.

One of our all-time favorites "Since You Went Away" (1944)

One of our all-time favorites “Since You Went Away” (1944)

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.

An example of all the movies my mom records.

An example of all the movies my mom records.

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).

One of our favorite outfits in "Gidget"

One of our favorite outfits in “Gidget”

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).

Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain's dresses are just two of the reasons why we love "State Fair"

Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain’s dresses are just two of the reasons why we love “State Fair”

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.

Other movies we like: Trashy 1950s ones such as “Susan Slade” or “A Summer Place,” Judy Garland Films, the “Four Daughters” trilogy, Hayley Mills films and most 1940s World War II era movies.

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!

Myrtle Beach with mom

Myrtle Beach with Mom

College graduation in 2011 from Winthrop University with my mom and gradmother

College graduation in 2011 from Winthrop University with my Mom and grandmother

Dressed as Ado Annie when my mom and sister came to see me in Oklahoma

Dressed as Ado Annie when my mom and sister came to see me in Oklahoma

8 thoughts on “Without mom, I’d never see any classic films

  1. Your mom is such a beautiful lady. My mom and I have always watched the “better” films together. When I was younger (much younger), we would watch “Wuthering Heights”, “Gone With the Wind” and other great movies. My dad would come in and catch us crying over something and tell us, “If it is going to make you cry then why are you watching it?”

    I, too, still love the older movies. There is a beautiful mystery to them; the lighting, the music, the make-up (now considered primitive), the hint of what may come. All of these would keep us glued to the tv, waiting for the next scene (even though we may have seen the movie many, many times).

    And, yes, Jessica, I wish that Gidget would have gone on forever. None of the follow-ups ever came up to snuff; kind of like the “Tammy” movies. The original was best.


  2. What a great tribute! I too was blessed with a cinemaniac mom and she is such a natural and thought a good movie is as important as a good book, both of which she instilled in us from a very early age to the present. You can’t go wrong with classic movies and fine literature! 🙂


  3. This was such a sweet post! That’s so nice that you share that classic film bond with your mother. I’m kind of jealous because I didn’t have classic films growing up but I did share those films with my mom eventually in my early 20s. My mom recorded a whole bunch of films on VHS from TCM too and still keeps them for me. LOL!

    And that picture of you and your mom at Myrtle Beach, the first time I saw it I thought it was you holding a baby. I hope your mom had a happy Mother’s Day!


  4. “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is one of the first classic films I remember seeing when I was younger, also because my mom taped it off of TV. I remember my brother and I would re-watch that one all the time as kids – with the favorite scene being the barn building dance. I’ve heard other people mention that being one of the first classics they scene. It must be the obligatory mom-to-kid film.


  5. I also credit my mom with my love of classic film. She wasn’t as hands on as yours, but she always showed me the films she loved growing up in the ’40s and ’50s (and regaled me with stories of going to the movies for 35 cents, which included candy!) and encouraged me as I branched outside of her memories into the ’20s, ’30s, ’60s, and foreign film. I’m more of a cinephile now than my mom ever was, but she definitely set me on that path and fostered an appreciation for film of all eras.

    Now I hope I can do the same for my daughter. Thanks for the story of you and your mom – I’m taking it to heart!


  6. Pingback: Mother’s Day with Comet’s Mama | Comet Over Hollywood

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