If it wasn’t for either of my parents, I wouldn’t like classic films today.
As I have said on Comet numerous times, my parents rolled out films such as “Yankee Doodle Dandy” or “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” when my sisters and I were toddlers.
It was my dad who later introduced me to “West Side Story (1961) when I was 14, because he noticed my growing interest in musicals. Dad might have later regretted showing me the film when a full blown obsession followed our viewing of the modernized musical version of “Romeo and Juliet.”
This classic film encouragement is partially because they grew up with a love for the classics themselves.
For Father’s Day, I decided to do a brief Question and Answer session with Dad, Bill Pickens, about classic films.
Me: Who are your favorite actors and actresses?
Dad: My favorite actors are Jimmy Stewart and Gregory Peck. I enjoy their movies and they seemed like they were down to Earth, good people. I also like Humphrey Bogart, because some of my favorite films are “African Queen,” “Casablanca” and “We’re No Angels.”
My favorite actresses are Maureen O’Hara (Dad has always had the hots for Maureen) and Katharine Hepburn.
Me: What are your favorite movies?
Dad: Lawrence of Arabia, The King and I, Twelve O’Clock High, Lion in Winter, The Longest Day, The King and I.
Me: What kind of movies would you go to see as a kid? (Dad was born in 1955, for some reference)
Dad: My older sister Katie and I went to see movies every Saturday afternoon, because we lived on a military base and it was only 25 cents. We would see everything that came out from Disney movies to westerns.
I remember one time, some GI was trying to get fresh with Katie and I kicked him in the leg. I was her bodyguard at the movies. I don’t remember what movie it was but we lived in Ft. Lewis in Washington.
Me: Why do you like older movies?
Dad: They are classy and have interesting story lines. The movies didn’t have to have all the action, like you do today, to tell a good story.
Me: What is the worst movie I have had you watch?
Dad: I can’t think of any really bad ones. “The Blob” was pretty bad though, because it was so campy.
My Dad has been the only man in a family of all girls for the past 35 years. From putting together Barbie houses, helping us with math homework, nailing taps on the bottoms of dancing shoes or fixing our cars, Dad has been supportive and a good sport.
Probably two of the worst movies we all suffered through were the Doris Day films “Jumbo” and “The Ballad of Josie.” The only film Dad couldn’t take was “Calamity Jane.” He didn’t even make it through the eight minute intro song, “Deadwood Stage.”
“Calamity Jane isn’t a bad movie,” he said. “It’s just not my style.”
He’s been supportive of my film interest and, though he said he couldn’t think of any bad movies, has sat through some terrible ones, all for “the cause” of my movie love.
Happy Father’s Day, to my Dad who supports my interest and who I have even help expand on his.