McCanless column: Now that was entertainment, back in the good ol’ days

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2008

By Janet McCanless
For the Salisbury Post
I don’t know about you, but growing older just is not the basket of giggles I envisioned it to be. For one thing, those of us who are “seasoned” citizens are hampered a lot in what we can do.
Take road rage, for instance: I would hate to become embroiled in a brouhaha over something stupid another driver did. At my age, turning violent is not pretty.
If they can put a man on the moon, why can’t they manufacture a little button to fit onto the dashboard of a car that, when pressed, would raise up a sign in the rear window that would tell the driver behind you to “slow down,” or “put the cell phone down and drive, you moron,” or how about “back off; you’re too close”?
The possibilities are endless.
One of the things I’d very much like to see is a riding vacuum cleaner! Now that conjures up an image of me gliding from room to room, serenely vacuuming my home, while not ever exerting myself at all. I tell you, it isn’t easy being a member of the Greatest Generation while all you young whippersnappers out there rush around going here to there, all in a tizzy over things that are not important.
And when was the last time you saw a really good movie ó one where the hero didn’t blow something up or chase cars 100 miles per hour through a residential street?
The last theater movie I went to see was “Phantom of the Opera.” There were three of us in the show that afternoon. When I was a kid, going to the “picture show” was such a treat, and we had real movie heroes then, too. All those marvelous serials on Saturday afternoon, along with Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, the Cisco Kid ó now THOSE were adventure flicks.
The closest thing to them are the Indiana Jones Chronicles. The only time something blew up was if we were watching a war movie, and John Wayne was in all of those, so whatever he blew up probably needed it anyway. Duke was our hero; he could do no wrong, and he single-handedly tamed the Wild West, before he went off to win World War II all by himself.
I remember the day “Love Me Tender” opened at the old Teatro Theater, the movie theater my crowd and I patronized. There I was with a bunch of fellow screaming teeny-boppers, waiting on Elvis to work his magic that day. Finally, the movie started and Elvis’ image flashed on the screen. We jumped and hollered and cried and carried on something awful.
In fact, if my daughter had carried on that way over anybody, I would’ve been real embarrassed for her.
Anyhow, we all had our little Brownie Box cameras, flashbulbs at the ready, and we snapped away every time the “king” was on the screen; that is, when we weren’t screaming our lungs out over the entire thing. I don’t think any of us who went together that day heard one word of dialogue over all the noise in the theater.
Wouldn’t have mattered if we had, since this movie wasn’t exactly Oscar material.
We had fun, we didn’t hurt anybody, nothing was blown up on the screen, nobody’s cellphone suddenly came to life disturbing the rest of us, and since my dad drove us to the show, road rage was not an issue. The movie stars all had pronounceable names, and one could understand every word they uttered on the screen.
That was what was known as the good old days, and is it any wonder we talk about them constantly?
Eat your heart out, whippersnappers!