News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

December 14, 2010

MS. TAKES: Not much to see in movies these days

TERRE HAUTE — It has been years, literally, since I’ve been to a movie. I understand they are talking now and even in color.

Movies of my youth were in black and white, but I remember the silent films shown free on summer Saturdays at Yorkville. Charlie Chaplin doesn’t count since he didn’t do “talkies” but Yorkville freebies featured “The Perils of Pauline” who suffered in silence.

The first color I saw was when Judy Garland opened the door of her Kansas house which had been relocated by a tornado. Shades of gray opened to the glorious color of Munchkin land in Oz.

Now, in spite of sound and color, there isn’t much I want to see. Where is the entertainment when cars blow up, people get shot and aliens with blue skin face one crisis after another?

Movies used to entertain or inspire, sometimes both. I miss that. I miss how everything seemed to turn out for the best, like Jimmy Stewart saved from suicide by an angel and the goodness of the folks at home. It was black and white, but it was entertaining and inspiring.

Now and then I see a promotion for a movie I think I’d like to see. Time passes and I forget the name of the movie. I know without thinking twice that I don’t want to see another fight, a city blown to smithereens or a love story wandering from passion to gunshots. I can get that on the evening news.

The movie channel on television revives some of the golden oldies. I can make my own popcorn — it once cost a dime for a big bag — and settle down to get teary-eyed when Bogart says, “We’ll always have Paris!”

I don’t watch much television either. Once past the game shows and Jon Stewart, the choices are slim. I have memorized most episodes of MASH and I know the alphabet so don’t need “Sesame Street.”

So, I keep one eye on the movie channel. Give me Cary Grant or Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire. I want entertainment. I want laughs. I want inspiration. Until that happens, I’ll eat my homemade popcorn and read a book.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to

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