“The Loneliness of a Classic Film Watcher.”
That could be a film title for anyone who loved classic films long after the movie’s initial release but before chatting about films online with strangers became an everyday occurrence.
You were considered odd and didn’t really have anyone to talk to about your interest; bottling up your obsession inside so that you may bust at any moment.
If you loved classic films at least 20 to 40 years after their initial release, you know the loneliness I mean.
I don’t care if you turned up your nose to “RoboCop” in 1987 to watch “Roman Holiday” (1953), or rolled your eyes when your friends went to see “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004) and stayed home to watch “Red Dust” (1932), you know what I’m talking about.
For me, I was starting middle school in 2000. Paris Hilton was frequently in the headlines, frosted lip-gloss and velour jogging suits were in fashion, and O*Town was the hot new boy band.
And there I was, age 12, daydreaming about Davy Jones of the Monkees. I grew up on classic films, but I was 13 when I embraced it as my own interest. I’ll never forget returning to school for the eighth grade after the summer and gushing to my friends about “Pillow Talk” (1959) and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961). Most people didn’t know what I was talking about, and as I progressed into high school, I was just the weird, old movie girl who wore headbands to look like she was from the 1960s.
Fast-forward to 2009.
I was a junior at Winthrop University in Larry Timbs, PhD, news writing class. Citizen journalism was all the rage and blogs were the thing to have. Think about how 2019 is with podcasts — that was blogging 10 years ago.
Dr. Timbs urged us to start blogs and went as far as to say that news outlets may not hire us if we didn’t write on a blog. As a college junior, I was anxious about getting a newspaper job after college and trying to get an internship that summer.
So I headed back to my dorm and — feeling like I had to do something that very moment to be a good job candidate. So I created Comet Over Hollywood on April 1, 2009, 10 years ago this month.
And as I typed furiously my first (terrible) piece on the Delmer Daves’s film “Susan Slade” (1961), I had no idea what lay ahead or that I would still be doing this 10 years later.
While the creation of Comet Over Hollywood gave me an outlet to write, it also unexpectedly filled that void of loneliness I carried in those days.
Through writing about my favorite films, I met other people close to my age that enjoyed the same films I did and shared my enthusiasm. And over the years, these blog comments turned into dear friendships with several people who still write and that I’ve met in person—including Raquel at Out of the Past, Jill at the RetroSet and Angela at The Hollywood Revue.
Blogging friendships expanded to chatting with other film lovers on Twitter and Facebook. Now, a classic film lover in their teens or twenties can easily connect with like-minded people across the globe. Social media gets a bad rap, but it is worth it for those friendships.
What has happened in the last 10 years? Comet Over Hollywood has grown and evolved just like I have. A few of my favorite things about writing on Comet include:
• Doing silly things like trying wacky classic actress beauty tips.
• Having the opportunity to interview people connected with classic films. I never considered this as an opportunity when I start.
• Making friends over the years.
I would like to close with some unsolicited blogging advice. I have been asked, “How do you find the time to blog?” If you follow me, I have tried to post at least once-a-week since 2013. There isn’t a magical answer; you just have to do it. My advice is that you can’t make blogging an option or think of it as an extra-curricular activity. You can’t blog three times a year and expect anyone to consistently come to your page, no matter how good your articles are.
It’s work. Think of it as something you have to do, like exercise or homework. You may not feel like doing it, but you will be happy with the result. Heck, I’m writing this at 10:19 p.m. on a Friday night when I want to be in bed but here I am.
I hope that I’m still sharing my love of classic films with you for another 10 years. Thank you for all of your support over the years. I truly appreciate it. You made me feel less alone.
And thank you, Dr. Timbs, for unknowingly working as the driving force behind this page.
Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page, follow on Twitter at @HollywoodComet or e-mail at email@example.com
Great insight into old movies. Glad you are still doing this blog.
Happy 10th Anniversary, Jessica. Keep up the great work. I can so relate to what you said about feeling odd for loving the classics. Since starting my blog, joining the CMBA and Twitter, I have to say that I no longer feel so alone. I have found my people! LOL.
Congratulations on ten years, Jessica! Keep up the good work!
Congratulations on ten years, Jessica! My path to becoming a classic movie fan was a little different from yours. As a member of Gen X I grew up in the golden age of independent TV stations and old movies were still shown regularly on local stations. And a lot of films now considered classics weren’t quite classics yet (after all, The Great Escape and My Fair Lady were only a little over 10 years old when I first saw them), but if not for my best friend Brian it would have been a little lonely. Still, blogging opened up a whole new world for me. It’s how I met Raquel of Out of the Past. And without blogging I might not have joined Twitter. At least, I might not have discovered #TCMParty, which is where I found a whole new batch of classic film friends! Anyway, happy anniversary!
I can relate so much to this post, Jessica. I too was one of those lonely classic film lovers in my youth. In Grade 7, I can assure you that I was the only girl in my class who was crushing hard on Donald O’Connor after having just seen Singin’ In the Rain for the first time. I grew up watching and re-watching old movies that none of my friends had ever heard of, and I hated the fact I couldn’t talk to anyone about them. Keeping this passion of mine bottled up inside for so many years unfortunately became my norm. It wasn’t until I joined Twitter in 2012 (when I was 29) that I finally met and started chatting with like-minded people.
This post was fantastic and congratulations on reaching 10 years of blogging!
It’s amazing how quickly ten years go by, and equally amazing to stand back and look at the accomplishment of your blog. Well done!
Congratulations on ten years with your blog! I’ve been enjoying what I’ve seen so far, and look forward to more to come!
i do relate to your post, thanks for all te work you do. all the way from spain
I’ve been a classic film fan since I was a young girl. I’m so thankful my mom’s friend introduced me to them by way of Bringing Up Baby. Even though I’ve grew up mainly alone in my obsession, it doesn’t bother me. These films have enriched and shaped my life. They’ve been my escape, my friends, my joy and my time machine. And I always love having the opportunity to introduce films I love to people I care about. I don’t mind when people tell me I have an old soul in a young body. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Cheers to 10 years, Jessica! There’s a whole new generation of fans who are discovering classic films because of you and Comet Over Hollywood.
Reading this post took me back to freshmen year of high school when I was the ‘weird old movie girl’ too! That same feeling of loneliness until I found my now favorite blogs and friends on Twitter! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication over the years!!!
Congratulations! You post wonderful stuff and are totally appreciated!👍Happy New Year!
Wow, 10 years of blogging about old-time Hollywood, great job. And I like that you started it on an April 1st. I grew up watching old movies too, only they weren’t so far removed from the days I watched, maybe 25-30 years? I was lucky, I had a brother who I could talk to about the old movies, as he was a kid when a lot of them were made. He also had a collection of old movie magazines I used to pour over for hours, dreaming I lived back in those days of the 1930s.