News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

January 1, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: Movie memories don’t include many of the lengthy variety

TERRE HAUTE — There has been lots of reporting lately about how long movies are becoming. Some near the three-hour mark. I don’t think I could sit still that long, but then movies are not what they once were either.

It stimulated a discussion about the first movie we can remember. I recall that several of the older girls in our neighborhood in Stockton, Ill., took me by the hand and took me to ask Mom if it would be OK if I went to the movies with them. I couldn’t believe my good fortune when Mom said, “Yes.” I felt as if I had suddenly become a grown-up.

We went to see a cowboy star named “Buck Jones” in a film called “Hello Trouble.” I remember nothing else about it.

My Best Friend claims to remember the name of Buck Jones’ horse. He says it was “Tony” and it may have been. I can only recall that the Lone Ranger rode a horse named “Silver” and Tonto, the Ranger’s “faithful Indian companion,” was mounted on a horse named “Scout.”

I know all this memory stuff dates me, but my BF remembers his first movie experience as being “Sonny Boy” with Al Jolson and Jackie Cooper. He remembers a tear-jerker ending after Sonny Boy was hit by a car — or was it a truck? — and the final frame had the little kid’s dad lying there in the street.

I remember becoming a life-long fan of Katherine Hepburn when Mom took me and Ed to the second movie I remember. Hepburn played the role of Jo in “Little Women” and I remember being amused when she backed up too close to the fireplace and claimed to have set her bustle on fire. I had an off-beat sense of humor even then.

I once followed movies and movie stars closely. I was a big fan of the so-called “screwball comedies” of the ’40s. Hepburn and Cary Grant were favorites. Later I came to accept Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, but only as second best.

But to sit still for three hours? Only for “Gone With the Wind.”

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to opinion@tribstar.com.

 

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