This Movie Reminds Me Of Something
Last evening I looked at a door in my basement. It is an ordinary stained and varnished door except that it has dozens of louvers. And I thought of the movie The Lion King. Yes, I realize that the connection between Simba and a louvered door may not obvious to
most any of you, but let me explain.
When my children were young The Lion King was the “IT” movie. We took them to see it in the theater and then bought the VHS tape (as we used to do in that technologically crude age).
Around that time I purchased and hung a door in an open doorway in my basement family room. It was a louvered door 1) because there was not much of a heating duct system in the various rooms there and 2) because the two other doors in the area were also louvered.
One Saturday I needed to stain and varnish the door. After some experimentation I found a combination of two different stain colors that I could apply (one over the other) which would match the existing woodwork which dated from the late 1950s. After staining it would be necessary to finish with a coat of polyurethane varnish .
The problem is that my Mrs. had somewhere to be and the three little ones were under my care. The brilliant solution was to set them up with a movie to watch while I worked. It was all in the same room so I could keep an eye on them while I worked and they would stay there because not once did any of them ever abandon The Lion King while it was playing.
The movie finished at about the halfway point in the job. Whereupon I asked: “Do you guys want to watch it again?” They were all in so I rewound the tape and we went for the bonus replay. To this day there are two hard and fast associations in my mind. When I look at a louvered door I think of The Lion King. And when I think of The Lion King I think about staining and varnishing a louvered door. And no, I do not believe that any of their subsequent behavior was affected by exposure to paint fumes.
It occurred to me that there are a few other movie associations that I make. Whenever I think of 2001: A Space Odyssey I think of another movie – Gentle Ben. Gentle Ben is not all that well remembered but they were in the theaters at the same time in 1968. My father was going to take my sister and I to a movie. I was nine and she was seven. The two choices were, well you can guess. Dad outvoted us and we saw 2001. Which thoroughly confused me at age nine.
In truth, the movie kind of confuses me at age 59 too, but let’s not go there. Afterwards, Dad agreed that Gentle Ben might have been a better choice. For some reason I have still never gotten to see Gentle Ben. I have tried to not think about Gentle Ben whenever I see a reference to 2001, but my brain says “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.” Which irritates me a little because my brain knows good and well that my name is not Dave.
The 1964 film Mary Poppins reminds me of neighbors who lived across the street from my family – the Ushers. Mary Poppins was one of the first movies I ever saw in a theater. Shortly after the neighbors were over for a visit one day. For those under fifty or so, yes – suburban neighbors used to socialize together. It came up in conversation that we had seen Mary Poppins and they replied that they had seen it as well. “Wow”, I remember thinking, “our neighbors saw the same movie we did. What a coincidence!”
OK, I probably did not know the word “coincidence” at the age of five but it still boggled my young mind that people who lived across the street from us had actually seen the same movie that we did. In my defense, I believe that every five year old has a mind that boggles easily. To this day Mary Poppins makes me think of the Ushers and on those rare occasions when I think of the Ushers I think of Mary Poppins. And their 1964 Chevrolet convertible. So I have a kind of three-way association going on here.
And is there anyone else who thinks of a spouse when a picture of Leslie Nielsen flashes across the screen? Especially when that spouse is a Mrs. and not a Mr. For our first date my future Mrs. and I went to the movies. We watched The Naked Gun, a 1988 police detective comedy that followed the style of the 1980 disaster film parody Airplane. Which also starred Leslie Nielsen, come to think of it.
That first date nearly led to disaster. The future Mrs. JPC sat stone-faced through much of the show. “Uh-oh, she doesn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor” was my concern. She later related to me that she had a reciprocal worry, something like “he must be crazy to think this is funny.”
We were fortunate to get over that early patch of incompatibility and have found that our taste in movies is aligned more often than it is not. We have not, however, attempted to re-watch The Naked Gun. Some things are just best left alone.
This one differs a little from the other examples. It is true that Leslie Nielsen never fails to make me think of Mrs. JPC. Mrs. JPC does not, however, always make me think of Leslie Nielsen.
Which is a very good thing.
Opening photo – Unaltered Drawing by Raymondsanti at sketchport.com (https://www.sketchport.com/drawing/6353855952453632/the-lion-king) under CC BY license.
Har. The idea of watching the same movie back to back still boggles my mind. We grew up with the Wonderful World of Disney, and you had to wait a couple of years if you wanted to watch your favorite movie again.
The Naked Gun reminds me of my parents in a very good way. One year we bought dad a videotape of The Naked Gun, figuring he would appreciate it. He loved it, and for days afterward he would start randomly laughing because of something or other in the move.
My mother (who is the only member of our family of five who does not possess a wacky sense of humor) would say “Jack! Are you thinking about that STUPID movie again? That’s not funny Jack, that’s stupid!!” Which would make all of us laugh, which would make my mother even madder, etc etc 🙂 🙂 🙂
My Mrs and I would get along famously with your parents in watching that movie, as long as the ladies were free to leave the room.
It is a fabulous thing for fans of older movies to not be a slave to television schedules.
Movies and movie memories (ditto TV) are a wonderful way to identify people’s ages and interests. For example DougD mentions Wonderful World of Disney. That tags him as younger than me, as I will always remember it as Wonderful World of Color, which was the show’s name from 1961-1969 (my ages 4-12). I guess by 1970 color was taken for granted, so it was dropped from the name though my family didn’t get a color TV until after I left home, and I didn’t get one until 1986 (I still remember hauling it home in my new Ford Ranger).
I had forgotten about that. I straddle the age difference between you two and remember that change in name now that you bring it up.
I am not sure why but we never watched the show much. If we had owned a color TV sooner perhaps the color programming would have sucked us in.
Now you make me wonder what was the last prime time show broadcast in black and white.
Let’s hope it was the Naked Gun 33 1/3 with it’s spoof of “The Crying Game”. Seeing silhouetted body parts on a movie screen could have made for an even more awkward first date – but looking at your tag words, this potentially bad outcome may have crossed your mind!
While I won’t say the movie Ace Ventura is a direct reminder of Mrs. Jason, it is one we saw early in our relationship. Thankfully, she and I both saw the humor in it. Oh, and we also saw The Beverly Hillbillies movie on our first day – which we still laugh about.
I realize I failed to use the “not” in that first sentence….let’s hope it was NOT the Naked Gun 33 1/3….
Wasn’t that the sequel? There was no chance of watching that one together after the first one.
Yes, it would be a bad move to say in public that Jim Carrey reminds you of your wife.
You make me think that movies on first dates would be a great conversation starter in a group of couples.
My Mom’s favorite movie was 2001: A Space Odyssey – she must have bullied your Dad into watching it. 😜
Hahaha, that is something I never knew about your mother. That one is a favorite of one of my sons as well. Perhaps the scarring is too deep for me to properly appreciate it. 😁
Mine is a place. Lansing had 2 or 3 of the old school classic downtown movie theaters. The last of them closed up on Labor Day weekend 1980. My folks decided that is kids should visit something more impressive than the multiplex at the mall, so we went on Sunday afternoon and saw the Disney “classic” “Herbie Goes Banannas”. I sent think I’ve seen it again, and suspect I don’t need to, but the experience was more memorable than many better films I saw.
As for the theater, they soon tore down the auditorium, keeping the retail and office space in front. The former balcony is now the rear wall & roof with a parking lot where the rest of the seating was.
You remind me that I saw 2001 in one of the old downtown theaters in Fort Wayne. It was later restored to its 1920s splendor, but in 1968 it was on a downhill slide. After the restoration in the late 70s I saw the silent Phantom of the Opera there with accompaniment on the fabulous old theater organ.
“And no, I do not believe that any of their subsequent behavior was affected by exposure to paint fumes.” You are HILARIOUS, J.P.! Isn’t it funny, though, how some movies become indelibly linked to other events? My Lion King memory involves editing a film with a friend while his daughter watches the movie in the other room — but with the request that I listen with one ear for the part where Mufasa dies. Which of course I miss because I get engrossed in my work and this poor traumatized child starts screaming bloody murder and is utterly inconsolable and eventually we decide to postpone the editing and I just go home. I still feel bad about that. Well … thank you for the laughs, and for the trip down memory lane!
Who knew that The Lion King was so influential. In the lives of parents, I mean. If you still have not seen the end of Mufasa I probably still have the VHS tape you can borrow.
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Oh, I know only too well how Mufasa bites the dust. Rafiki did it! He framed Scar, but Rafiki was the real mastermind behind the patricide (or would that be “catricide”?).
So your saying that Rafiki was lion? 😁
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Perhaps. I don’t have proof, but I heard it from a guy who knows a woman who once dated a Disney animator that Rafiki ultimately wanted control of that pride. Why else would he befriend and raise a young lion cub, if not to insinuate himself into the royal family?
Haha. You know your friend in Minnesota has too much time on her hands when she’s writing Lion King conspiracies! 😀
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I’m pretty sure that I haven’t seen more than a few snippets of The Lion King. Call me a bad dad, but I didn’t take our kids to the movies much (or to be precise, didn’t join my wife and kids at the movies much) or watch videos with them. I do remember seeing Bug’s Life and Shrek, and being surprised at how enjoyable they were. But animation + musical was two strikes against The Lion King. I also have difficulty with “action movies”, sci-fi and “fantasy” so I have either not seen or only seen bits of Harry Potter, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, the Rings movies etc. I was taken to 2001: Space Odyssey by my friend’s parents; I remember we saw it in San Francisco (aka “The City”) which was a big deal.
Yes, the “musical” part of most Disney animated features is my least favorite part. I love a good musical but George Gershwin and Richard Rogers aren’t writing for Disney. I have liked most of the Pixar movies quite a lot.
A very entertaining read. I have very distinct memories of the Lion King as well. Not from when I was initially watching it as a youngster, but rather when I was 12 or 13 and temporarily rediscovered it. At the same time in my life I was also playing a video game called Viewtiful Joe, which was a very creative game but also extremely difficult. Nowadays I can’t help but connect the two. As a side note, they’re currently remaking The Lion King as a live action film. I’m sort of intrigued but also highly skeptical since there’s no way it could top the original.
I find it interesting that you watched 2001 at age 9. I remember watching at about 13 and not getting it at all. The movie is brilliant but also all kinds of wacky, and I’m not sure anyone really understands it the first time they see it, regardless of their age. In my case, though, I was lucky because by that time enough people had put their analyses of it on the Internet that I could google what other people said about it and start to get it a bit.
Regarding movies from my childhood that I have particularly strong associations with: I associate the movie Space Jam with a goldfish I had when I was kid whom I named Michael due to my love for that movie. I also associate the film Hook with Cub’s freezer pizza, back when Cubs had locations in Indiana. I distinctly remember an evening of eating that pizza and then watching that movie as a family. And as a side note, as far as cheap freezer pizza goes, I think Cubs was leaps and bounds ahead of everybody else, although that might just be my inner 6-year-old-self talking 🙂
Few things pair up better than pizza and a movie. I have not seen Space Jam in a long time. I was always kind of surprised that nobody has done more movies with the old Warner Bros cartoons.
I am so reassured to learn that I was not the only parent who used Disney as a babysitter.
My kids turned out ok too.
I loved reading about your association of ideas with movies.
I just nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger award.
I look forward to reading your answers to the questions.
I saw that, thank you. Yes, Disney was invaluable back then!
Disney was also invaluable when our daughter picked up head lice at school. We just turned the TV on it’s side, and she lay still and watched the little mermaid while we squished the little buggers with tweezers. Good times!
Also, 24 comments, I think this article is the cham-peen of JPC blogging!! You should write about the Lion King more often..