Life With Father

“You think I am brave because I carry a gun; well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until it finally buries them under the ground. And there’s nobody who says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to.”
- Bernardo O’Reilly (Charles Bronson) in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960)

I recently became an aunt again so I’ve been thinking a lot about family lately and with Father’s Day right around the corner I thought I’d share some thoughts about my own dad and how the movies we watched together helped make me the person I am today.

My father loved movies and he shared his affection for them with me while I was growing up. Unfortunately he was killed in a car accident when I was a child so we didn’t have much time together but the hours we spent watching and talking about movies left an incredible impression on me. My dad’s family lived in Los Angeles during his formative years and being surrounded by the Hollywood Hills probably helped fuel his interest in film. He was particularly fond of westerns, monster movies and science fiction films. He admired James Dean, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee and Sean Connery but he also appreciated the fine art of Walt Disney and Chuck Jones. After he was killed my grandmother enjoyed telling me stories about how my dad would always beg her to take him to the movies and how he spent his money on “movie magazines” and “model kits” during his last years in high-school.

To my surprise I recently discovered that my father was also a member of his junior high-school drama club after coming across one of his old yearbooks that had been packed away in storage since his death. I was especially surprised to find a box full of old Super 8 films that he shot between 1961-1973. Some of them are family movies marked “Kim’s First Birthday” or “Kim’s First Car Ride” but many of them are unmarked and some date back to when he served in the Navy as a Signalman. He shot a handful of documentary-like films while he was in the Navy that my grandmother had transferred to videotape but I haven’t had a chance to look at them all yet. I plan on getting myself an old Super 8 projector soon so I can watch everything but I’m slightly apprehensive about it. Some of the emotions that get churned up will undoubtedly be a little raw because contrary to popular belief, time doesn’t heal all wounds. When you lose someone you deeply care about you just have to find a way to live with the loss. But sometimes after a vivid dream or an unexpected rush of memory the old wounds start to fester and it isn’t always easy to bandage them up again.

Thankfully movies have great healing powers and the films I watched with my father are wonderful medicine whenever I’m feeling a little low. The movies we watched together are vivid reminders of shared experiences that we had as father and daughter. Many of them also contained life lessons that I clung to after my father died. Growing up without a male mentor and a mother that wasn’t always emotionally available made me deeply appreciate the feelings and thoughts that were conveyed to me in the movies I watched. What might seem like a toss away line in some B-grade western became gospel and I’ve held fast to my memories of these movies over the years.

Left: Steve McQueen in THE GREAT ESCAPE
Right: Me and my dad 

Two of the most pivotal films of my childhood were John Sturges’ THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960) and THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963). My father insisted that I watched them with him and it took me awhile to understand why. The heroes of Sturges’ films don’t wear white hats and they don’t preach morality but both films taught me a lot about the importance of freedom and speaking truth to power. They also stressed the importance of standing up for the little guy and served as potent reminders that we’re all in this together so we should learn to get along and lend a helping hand when needed. After my grandparents were divorced my grandmother moved her family to the Sierra Nevada Foothills where my dad learned to ride horses and ended up working on a large cattle ranch. Westerns became a part of his lifeblood but he was drawn to the more radical westerns produced in the 1960s which starred dust covered anti-heroes who probably seemed more real to him than the clean-shaven upright citizens that had previously populated westerns. He had a fondness for what were typically called “Spaghetti Westerns” and he didn’t view them as lesser entertainment, which was common at the time. Sergio Leone’s films were particular favorites around my house because they often starred Clint Eastwood who had appeared in the popular television show, RAWHIDE. Unlike the westerns made by John Sturges, which celebrated camaraderie, Leone’s films focused on lone anti-heroes who bucked convention while stressing the importance of independent thought and action. The Man with No Name understood the difference between right and wrong but he made up his own rules in films like A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966) and he answered to no one but himself. Thanks to Leone’s films I learned early on that going your own way was never easy but it’s often the only path worth taking.

WEST SIDE STORY (1961) was another pivotal film that my father introduced me to. This modern take on Romeo and Juliet deals with the cruel and crippling effects of racism as well as classism. My dad dealt with racism first hand on a few occasions when people mistook him for being Hispanic due to his black hair and naturally dark complexion. I even witnessed it myself once after a stranger hurled a racist slur at my dad followed by, “Go back to Mexico.” My dad just laughed it off at the time and later when I asked him why he hadn’t told the man that he was Italian/Irish my father looked me square in the eye and said (as best I can remember), “Because it doesn’t matter where I come from or what nationality I am. What that man did was wrong and I’m not ashamed if he thought I was Mexican. You should never disrespect people or think less of them because of their skin color or because they were born in a different country.” I never forgot that important life lesson and WEST SIDE STORY seemed to encapsulate it for me. The interracial romance depicted in the film was a gentle reminder that love is colorblind and it stressed understanding and acceptance between people with different backgrounds and income brackets. It also taught me that you should try and solve your problems without using violence or weapons because innocent people can get caught in the crossfire.

I haven’t even touched on the horror films or science fiction films that my dad and I watched together or mentioned his fondness for Robert Altman’s MASH (1971), which I only learned of later in life after coming across a poster of Elliott Gould among his belongings. But hopefully I’ve managed to express how much the movies I watched with my father meant to me and how they shaped who I am today. I hope this Father’s Day you consider setting some time aside to watch one of your own father’s favorite movies. You might be surprised by what you discover about your dad and yourself in the process.

Me and my dad watching a movie together

30 Responses Life With Father
Posted By JR : June 16, 2011 5:46 pm

Man, did everyone have that orange floral print couch?

Posted By JR : June 16, 2011 5:46 pm

Man, did everyone have that orange floral print couch?

Posted By Suzy : June 16, 2011 6:08 pm

Great post. Sorry to know your dad isn’t here to read it. The photos are so heartwarming, too.

My dad loved movies as well, but wasn’t able to watch many as a youth in post-war Korea. When we were living in the States in the ’70s he was so happy with movies playing on TV and would make us watch his favorites constantly. Like your dad, “The Magnificent 7″ was on top of his list, but his absolute favorite was “Spartacus”. We watched that so many times that my sister and I could reenact the “I am Spartacus” scene on cue.
On the softer side, he was also a great fan of “Roman Holiday” (we think it’s because he is Peck to Mom’s Hepburn, although in his case he got the princess); and his favorite comedy was the obscure viking movie “The Long Ships” which NOBODY seems to have seen except for members of my family.
I’m not sure how these movies affected me personally, it isn’t something I had thought of until now. Sorry for the superlong comment, and thanks for making me think. <3

Posted By Suzy : June 16, 2011 6:08 pm

Great post. Sorry to know your dad isn’t here to read it. The photos are so heartwarming, too.

My dad loved movies as well, but wasn’t able to watch many as a youth in post-war Korea. When we were living in the States in the ’70s he was so happy with movies playing on TV and would make us watch his favorites constantly. Like your dad, “The Magnificent 7″ was on top of his list, but his absolute favorite was “Spartacus”. We watched that so many times that my sister and I could reenact the “I am Spartacus” scene on cue.
On the softer side, he was also a great fan of “Roman Holiday” (we think it’s because he is Peck to Mom’s Hepburn, although in his case he got the princess); and his favorite comedy was the obscure viking movie “The Long Ships” which NOBODY seems to have seen except for members of my family.
I’m not sure how these movies affected me personally, it isn’t something I had thought of until now. Sorry for the superlong comment, and thanks for making me think. <3

Posted By Winston : June 16, 2011 6:43 pm

My father died in 1973. He was 55. I was 22. He had made a point of watching “The Wizard of Oz” annual TV presentations with me from when it was first broadcast in 1956. The first year I was away at college, not keeping track of TV schedule listings, I was shocked walking into the student center one evening and finding a large group gathered around a TV set. “The Wizard of Oz” was on! I rushed to a nearby wall of pay phones and called home to see if Daddy knew and was watching anyway without me being there. He was, and was wondering if I knew if it was on also. I told him to think of me while he watched, and I would think of him while I watched, then I told him I loved him. He replied, “Same here, son.” I detected a break in his voice. That was the nearest he ever came to saying “I love you.” He could never handle the word– love, but at that moment I knew for sure that he did. Every year when we had watched Dorothy say goodbye to all her Oz friends, tears would run down my cheeks. I would glance at Dad, and spy tears in his eyes also. Aside from that annual occasion, the only time I saw my dad really weep was 1971, while watching “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.” (The basis for “The Waltons” TV series.) Dad grew up in a very rural area and probably identified with John-Boy in that age bracket. So I learned via movies that Dad’s tears meant deep love for family and friends that, while could not be spoken of aloud, could not be doubted or broken. My only regret is that I did not hug him as tight as I could during “The Homecoming,” but at the time, I was fearful that I would embarrass him by drawing attention to his tears. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thanks for helping me love the movies and you.

Posted By Winston : June 16, 2011 6:43 pm

My father died in 1973. He was 55. I was 22. He had made a point of watching “The Wizard of Oz” annual TV presentations with me from when it was first broadcast in 1956. The first year I was away at college, not keeping track of TV schedule listings, I was shocked walking into the student center one evening and finding a large group gathered around a TV set. “The Wizard of Oz” was on! I rushed to a nearby wall of pay phones and called home to see if Daddy knew and was watching anyway without me being there. He was, and was wondering if I knew if it was on also. I told him to think of me while he watched, and I would think of him while I watched, then I told him I loved him. He replied, “Same here, son.” I detected a break in his voice. That was the nearest he ever came to saying “I love you.” He could never handle the word– love, but at that moment I knew for sure that he did. Every year when we had watched Dorothy say goodbye to all her Oz friends, tears would run down my cheeks. I would glance at Dad, and spy tears in his eyes also. Aside from that annual occasion, the only time I saw my dad really weep was 1971, while watching “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.” (The basis for “The Waltons” TV series.) Dad grew up in a very rural area and probably identified with John-Boy in that age bracket. So I learned via movies that Dad’s tears meant deep love for family and friends that, while could not be spoken of aloud, could not be doubted or broken. My only regret is that I did not hug him as tight as I could during “The Homecoming,” but at the time, I was fearful that I would embarrass him by drawing attention to his tears. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thanks for helping me love the movies and you.

Posted By Christopher : June 16, 2011 7:05 pm

That opening quote from Bronson and The Magnificent Seven fits so perfectly for the words that continue in this post. I am deeply moved by the memories of your father and reminded so much of my own father’s love and passion for all things cinema. My father passed away a year ago, but the movies he loved and like you, the memories I have watching these movies with him, will never die. Although he was from a different side of “the pond” to your father, from Britain, they seem to have shared the same wonderful taste in film.
Eastwood, Bronson, McQueen, Connery, Fonda, and you can add Marvin, Quinn, Caine, Harris and Burton. My father taught me an appreciation of cinema that no university has ever come close to doing so. He is responsible, and the main reason that I am a cameraman today. While I may not be a film cinematographer, I will forever be in love with cinematography. And its my Dad’s passion that has helped shaped my own passion for the big screen.
Come this fathers day I too have set aside two of his favourite films to watch Get Carter and Where Eagles Dare. It will be as if he is sitting next to me. And likewise, every Father’s day, from now on, I plan to buy a Blu-ray disc in his name, I think of it as a gift for him and a gift for me. And I am very excited that in the next couple of days the complete series of The Prisoner on Blu-ray is due to drop through my door. Patrick McGoohan in all HD loveliness! Always a television series very close to his and my heart. Thank you for sharing with us your beautiful memories and photographs Kimberly.

Posted By Christopher : June 16, 2011 7:05 pm

That opening quote from Bronson and The Magnificent Seven fits so perfectly for the words that continue in this post. I am deeply moved by the memories of your father and reminded so much of my own father’s love and passion for all things cinema. My father passed away a year ago, but the movies he loved and like you, the memories I have watching these movies with him, will never die. Although he was from a different side of “the pond” to your father, from Britain, they seem to have shared the same wonderful taste in film.
Eastwood, Bronson, McQueen, Connery, Fonda, and you can add Marvin, Quinn, Caine, Harris and Burton. My father taught me an appreciation of cinema that no university has ever come close to doing so. He is responsible, and the main reason that I am a cameraman today. While I may not be a film cinematographer, I will forever be in love with cinematography. And its my Dad’s passion that has helped shaped my own passion for the big screen.
Come this fathers day I too have set aside two of his favourite films to watch Get Carter and Where Eagles Dare. It will be as if he is sitting next to me. And likewise, every Father’s day, from now on, I plan to buy a Blu-ray disc in his name, I think of it as a gift for him and a gift for me. And I am very excited that in the next couple of days the complete series of The Prisoner on Blu-ray is due to drop through my door. Patrick McGoohan in all HD loveliness! Always a television series very close to his and my heart. Thank you for sharing with us your beautiful memories and photographs Kimberly.

Posted By dukeroberts : June 17, 2011 12:07 am

For years my dad told me about a Randolph Scott movie that he loved as a kid, Seven Men from Now. It never came on TV when I was growing up or even when I was old enough to appreciate it more. Finally, shortly before he died, it came out on DVD. I bought it for him and we finally watched it together. That was the last movie we watched together before he became bedridden. After that, he could no longer keep his attention on anything longer than a 30 minute episode of Gene Autry. It is a cherished moment that I will always remember.

Posted By dukeroberts : June 17, 2011 12:07 am

For years my dad told me about a Randolph Scott movie that he loved as a kid, Seven Men from Now. It never came on TV when I was growing up or even when I was old enough to appreciate it more. Finally, shortly before he died, it came out on DVD. I bought it for him and we finally watched it together. That was the last movie we watched together before he became bedridden. After that, he could no longer keep his attention on anything longer than a 30 minute episode of Gene Autry. It is a cherished moment that I will always remember.

Posted By dukeroberts : June 17, 2011 12:08 am

Kimberly- What an adorable little girl you were!

Posted By dukeroberts : June 17, 2011 12:08 am

Kimberly- What an adorable little girl you were!

Posted By suzidoll : June 17, 2011 1:29 pm

Such a wonderful post. It makes me think of my own Dad and watching movies with him. We watched a lot of westerns together, and he knew a lot about the western stars and would make a point of telling me little tidbits about them. It never occurred to me to ask how he knew this stuff, because I never saw him read a movie magazine. He had a fondness for character actors–Woody Strode, Jack Elam, Ward Bond, etc. And, he always made a point to tell me about films that were about Appalachia, where our family is from, especially which ones were good and which ones were filled with embarrassing stereotypes. While some in our family watched the latter–because any representation of what was familiar appealed to them–my Dad instinctively knew that they were harmful.

Thanks for reminding all of us about our Dads and the way we connected to them through movies. I can’t help but feel that contemporary fathers and their children don’t have this opportunity in the way that we did, given the way specific films are produced and marketed to certain audiences these days. Many commercial films are juvenile in tone or so dumbed down for little kids that adults are barely able to tolerate them let alone connect to them. Indie films lack sentiment, or that feel-good quality that generate warm memories parents like to share with their kids.

Posted By suzidoll : June 17, 2011 1:29 pm

Such a wonderful post. It makes me think of my own Dad and watching movies with him. We watched a lot of westerns together, and he knew a lot about the western stars and would make a point of telling me little tidbits about them. It never occurred to me to ask how he knew this stuff, because I never saw him read a movie magazine. He had a fondness for character actors–Woody Strode, Jack Elam, Ward Bond, etc. And, he always made a point to tell me about films that were about Appalachia, where our family is from, especially which ones were good and which ones were filled with embarrassing stereotypes. While some in our family watched the latter–because any representation of what was familiar appealed to them–my Dad instinctively knew that they were harmful.

Thanks for reminding all of us about our Dads and the way we connected to them through movies. I can’t help but feel that contemporary fathers and their children don’t have this opportunity in the way that we did, given the way specific films are produced and marketed to certain audiences these days. Many commercial films are juvenile in tone or so dumbed down for little kids that adults are barely able to tolerate them let alone connect to them. Indie films lack sentiment, or that feel-good quality that generate warm memories parents like to share with their kids.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : June 17, 2011 4:01 pm

Thanks for all the kind and generous comments, everyone! I’m really glad this piece touched so many people and encouraged you to share your own stories about your dad. It’s wonderful how we can all associate fond memories with watching particular movies with our fathers.

Men from a particular generation (including the generation my own dad was from) weren’t always that open about sharing their feelings, etc. But you could get to know a lot about your father just by watching movies with him and figuring out what made him laugh, smile, get angry or even shed a tear.

If I had kids of my own we would be watching a lot of old movies together, Suzi. I rarely pay attention to what’s playing at my local multiplex and I feel sorry for parents that don’t have a local repertory movie theater that shows older films that they can take their family too. There’s so much junk out there right now and half the movies being made are just remakes of older & better movies.

Last but not least, yes, JR. I do believe that floral sofas were pretty standard in a lot of homes. I think the one we owned was bought at SEARS in the ’60s.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : June 17, 2011 4:01 pm

Thanks for all the kind and generous comments, everyone! I’m really glad this piece touched so many people and encouraged you to share your own stories about your dad. It’s wonderful how we can all associate fond memories with watching particular movies with our fathers.

Men from a particular generation (including the generation my own dad was from) weren’t always that open about sharing their feelings, etc. But you could get to know a lot about your father just by watching movies with him and figuring out what made him laugh, smile, get angry or even shed a tear.

If I had kids of my own we would be watching a lot of old movies together, Suzi. I rarely pay attention to what’s playing at my local multiplex and I feel sorry for parents that don’t have a local repertory movie theater that shows older films that they can take their family too. There’s so much junk out there right now and half the movies being made are just remakes of older & better movies.

Last but not least, yes, JR. I do believe that floral sofas were pretty standard in a lot of homes. I think the one we owned was bought at SEARS in the ’60s.

Posted By Fred : June 17, 2011 5:28 pm

Thanks for a great article, Kimberly. I really got a sense of your relationship with your father.

I will always associate certain films with my Dad. His business went through a very rough patch in the mid-70s and to get him out of his funk, I used to drag him to double features at the local movie theater. Our favorites were Love and Death with Bananas, and From Beyond the Grave with The Asphyx (I think I’ll surprise him on Sunday with a phone call from Fielding Mellish). The movies really helped me develop a relationship with my father. My daughter asked me what I want for Father’s Day, and I’ve decided that I want her and her brother to pick out an old movie from my collection that we can watch together. My daughter’s been itching to see the original Planet of the Apes, and Sunday might be the perfect day for a family screening.

Posted By Fred : June 17, 2011 5:28 pm

Thanks for a great article, Kimberly. I really got a sense of your relationship with your father.

I will always associate certain films with my Dad. His business went through a very rough patch in the mid-70s and to get him out of his funk, I used to drag him to double features at the local movie theater. Our favorites were Love and Death with Bananas, and From Beyond the Grave with The Asphyx (I think I’ll surprise him on Sunday with a phone call from Fielding Mellish). The movies really helped me develop a relationship with my father. My daughter asked me what I want for Father’s Day, and I’ve decided that I want her and her brother to pick out an old movie from my collection that we can watch together. My daughter’s been itching to see the original Planet of the Apes, and Sunday might be the perfect day for a family screening.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : June 17, 2011 9:10 pm

This is a wonderful remembrance, Kimberly. I never knew the story of your father’s death and I can’t begin to imagine how hard it was on you and how much impact it must have had on you growing up. I’d love to see those old movies!

Celebrate your Dad’s life. He gave you your establishing shot.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : June 17, 2011 9:10 pm

This is a wonderful remembrance, Kimberly. I never knew the story of your father’s death and I can’t begin to imagine how hard it was on you and how much impact it must have had on you growing up. I’d love to see those old movies!

Celebrate your Dad’s life. He gave you your establishing shot.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : June 17, 2011 11:12 pm

Thanks, Fred. I’m glad you shared your own story about what films you enjoyed with your father. I hope you get a chance to watch THE PLANET OF THE APES with your daughter this weekend. If she’s anything at all like me, she’ll be extremely thankful that you introduced her to that movie. It’s a classic!

I appreciate your thoughts, Richard. “He gave you your establishing shot.” Aint that the truth!

I feel really lucky that I got to spend the time that I did with my dad. Even though we only had 8 brief years together they were great years. He used to often pile my mom and I into our car on a Saturday night and take us to the Drive-In, which I didn’t get a chance to write about but I still have vivid memories of watching movies like THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER and SILENT RUNNING while sitting in the cramped back seat of our VW bug. I was an impressionable kid and I’ve always had a really good memory. Someone once told me they thought I had a photographic memory but I would never claim that myself. I can be as forgetful as anyone but the movies I watched as a kid made a lasting impression on me. You have kids of your own so I’m sure your well aware of how they can be surprisingly perceptive & more cognizant than they’re often given credit for.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : June 17, 2011 11:12 pm

Thanks, Fred. I’m glad you shared your own story about what films you enjoyed with your father. I hope you get a chance to watch THE PLANET OF THE APES with your daughter this weekend. If she’s anything at all like me, she’ll be extremely thankful that you introduced her to that movie. It’s a classic!

I appreciate your thoughts, Richard. “He gave you your establishing shot.” Aint that the truth!

I feel really lucky that I got to spend the time that I did with my dad. Even though we only had 8 brief years together they were great years. He used to often pile my mom and I into our car on a Saturday night and take us to the Drive-In, which I didn’t get a chance to write about but I still have vivid memories of watching movies like THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER and SILENT RUNNING while sitting in the cramped back seat of our VW bug. I was an impressionable kid and I’ve always had a really good memory. Someone once told me they thought I had a photographic memory but I would never claim that myself. I can be as forgetful as anyone but the movies I watched as a kid made a lasting impression on me. You have kids of your own so I’m sure your well aware of how they can be surprisingly perceptive & more cognizant than they’re often given credit for.

Posted By JeffH : June 18, 2011 2:24 am

I still have fond memories of watching films with my parents, with some of them the local drive in where-one time-PATTON and M*A*S*H were playing as a double-feature. Since PATTON was GP, I was allowed to watch it (we had seen it once before) but I had to go to sleep during M*A*S*H since it was rated R. Of course I woke up during the football game just in time to hear John Schuck say the f-word…

My dad’s favorite films were DR. ZHIVAGO, THE STING, THE GREAT RACE and BLAZING SADDLES. I had set up a home theater in our basement when I began collecting films, and had gone so far as to acquire two 16mm projectors to facilitate changeovers and not have breaks. A friend had just gotten a print of THE STING and I asked to borrow it to show to family and friends one night. I didn’t tell my dad what film I was going to show and he did not realize it until the Universal logo showed up with the strains of Scott Joplin on the soundtrack. He turned back to where I was manning the projectors and mouthed a silent “thank you. That was a great gift for him to have a private showing of that film in his own home-I think it finally justified my redecorating the basement!

Before I could drive, my dad would take me to showings of classic films in Cleveland (an hour away from our house east of the city) that I was dying to see-a bunch of Marx Bros. double features, a collection of W. C. Fields short films at the Heights art theater (they usually showed adult movies but occasionally played classics-sadly, this theater is long gone), the reissue of ANIMAL CRACKERS (I convinced him to stay for two shows that were both packed.), him taking my mom and me to Welles’ CITIZEN KANE/THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS at the New Mayfield repertory house (also long gone) and driving down to the city’s public library for me to wander the endless stacks and attend showings in the library’s basement theater. He even grudgingly went to see YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN with me even though it was in B/W.

The last film we saw together before he died in a car accident was APOCALYPSE NOW in 70mm at Case Western Reserve University with a packed house. He was fascinated by what Coppola tried-and almost succeeded, until the last half-hour-and only objected to the scene of the ox being sacrificed, which he felt was a little too graphic for him. Since then, living in L. A., I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the people in film industry, with the highpoint being able to tell Mel Brooks that he managed to make my father literally fall out of his seat with laughter during BLAZING SADDLES when Cleavon Little rode along and came across Count Basie’s band out in the middle of nowhere. I still remember helping him back into his seat while he continued laughing until tears rolled down his cheeks and if I mentioned it again he would laugh for quite a while re-running the scene in his head. Brooks gave me a warm smile and told me to thank my dad for that, and when I told him my father was no longer alive, he got a very concerned look on his face and told me “I’m sure he heard my appreciation.”

I know he did. Happy Father’s Day, dad. Will watch one of those films with you in spirit on Sunday. Thank you, Kimberly for a great post.

Posted By JeffH : June 18, 2011 2:24 am

I still have fond memories of watching films with my parents, with some of them the local drive in where-one time-PATTON and M*A*S*H were playing as a double-feature. Since PATTON was GP, I was allowed to watch it (we had seen it once before) but I had to go to sleep during M*A*S*H since it was rated R. Of course I woke up during the football game just in time to hear John Schuck say the f-word…

My dad’s favorite films were DR. ZHIVAGO, THE STING, THE GREAT RACE and BLAZING SADDLES. I had set up a home theater in our basement when I began collecting films, and had gone so far as to acquire two 16mm projectors to facilitate changeovers and not have breaks. A friend had just gotten a print of THE STING and I asked to borrow it to show to family and friends one night. I didn’t tell my dad what film I was going to show and he did not realize it until the Universal logo showed up with the strains of Scott Joplin on the soundtrack. He turned back to where I was manning the projectors and mouthed a silent “thank you. That was a great gift for him to have a private showing of that film in his own home-I think it finally justified my redecorating the basement!

Before I could drive, my dad would take me to showings of classic films in Cleveland (an hour away from our house east of the city) that I was dying to see-a bunch of Marx Bros. double features, a collection of W. C. Fields short films at the Heights art theater (they usually showed adult movies but occasionally played classics-sadly, this theater is long gone), the reissue of ANIMAL CRACKERS (I convinced him to stay for two shows that were both packed.), him taking my mom and me to Welles’ CITIZEN KANE/THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS at the New Mayfield repertory house (also long gone) and driving down to the city’s public library for me to wander the endless stacks and attend showings in the library’s basement theater. He even grudgingly went to see YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN with me even though it was in B/W.

The last film we saw together before he died in a car accident was APOCALYPSE NOW in 70mm at Case Western Reserve University with a packed house. He was fascinated by what Coppola tried-and almost succeeded, until the last half-hour-and only objected to the scene of the ox being sacrificed, which he felt was a little too graphic for him. Since then, living in L. A., I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the people in film industry, with the highpoint being able to tell Mel Brooks that he managed to make my father literally fall out of his seat with laughter during BLAZING SADDLES when Cleavon Little rode along and came across Count Basie’s band out in the middle of nowhere. I still remember helping him back into his seat while he continued laughing until tears rolled down his cheeks and if I mentioned it again he would laugh for quite a while re-running the scene in his head. Brooks gave me a warm smile and told me to thank my dad for that, and when I told him my father was no longer alive, he got a very concerned look on his face and told me “I’m sure he heard my appreciation.”

I know he did. Happy Father’s Day, dad. Will watch one of those films with you in spirit on Sunday. Thank you, Kimberly for a great post.

Posted By Lori : June 23, 2011 12:35 pm

Thanks for this post, Kimberly. My dad loved horror movies, and he took me the see “The Shining” when I was totally underage, and I remember that he took me to see the eerie re-make of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” too. He was a church-going Presbyterian Christian but he really loved horror films and he had a total interest in the occult, if you can imagine that! I owe a lot of my interests in the bizarre to him. Once video hit the market he loved to rent every horrible 70s B-horror movie, but I know we saw some real gems too. This is a sweet rememberance of your dad that you put together, I can relate. I always think of my dad when I see a great horro movie. Thanks for sharing this!

Posted By Lori : June 23, 2011 12:35 pm

Thanks for this post, Kimberly. My dad loved horror movies, and he took me the see “The Shining” when I was totally underage, and I remember that he took me to see the eerie re-make of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” too. He was a church-going Presbyterian Christian but he really loved horror films and he had a total interest in the occult, if you can imagine that! I owe a lot of my interests in the bizarre to him. Once video hit the market he loved to rent every horrible 70s B-horror movie, but I know we saw some real gems too. This is a sweet rememberance of your dad that you put together, I can relate. I always think of my dad when I see a great horro movie. Thanks for sharing this!

Posted By chris : June 25, 2011 1:39 am

no, we didn’t have the orange floral print couch. we had the totally orange vinyl couch

Posted By chris : June 25, 2011 1:39 am

no, we didn’t have the orange floral print couch. we had the totally orange vinyl couch

Posted By Juana Maria : June 27, 2011 11:25 am

This article caught my attention because of Charles Bronson’s image in “Magnificent Seven”, a definite favorite of mine. In reply to JR, yes, I think everyone in the 70′s must’ve had that orange floral couch. My relatives had one too. Yikes! Oh, that and golden colored shag carpeting.And an avocado green frig. Maybe there should be an article about remembering the styles of the 70′s and 80′s. It wouldn’t be hard it would be a trip down memory lane to my aunts’ and uncles’ and grandparents’ houses. I grew up watching most of this movies too! We would watch them on TBS back then, since we didn’t TCM yet.

Posted By Juana Maria : June 27, 2011 11:25 am

This article caught my attention because of Charles Bronson’s image in “Magnificent Seven”, a definite favorite of mine. In reply to JR, yes, I think everyone in the 70′s must’ve had that orange floral couch. My relatives had one too. Yikes! Oh, that and golden colored shag carpeting.And an avocado green frig. Maybe there should be an article about remembering the styles of the 70′s and 80′s. It wouldn’t be hard it would be a trip down memory lane to my aunts’ and uncles’ and grandparents’ houses. I grew up watching most of this movies too! We would watch them on TBS back then, since we didn’t TCM yet.

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