Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Not Acting My Age

Based on the Television, Films (mostly reruns on Television), and music I grew up with, people would think I was 10 to 20 years older than I am. I watched a lot of films on TV from the 30's to the 60's. Since I spent a lot of time in my youth in the Greater Los Angeles area which had 4 independent TV stations that means they did not belong to a network.  That also meant quite a good deal of reruns and films from before 1980. Fox launched in 1986, when I was in college. I was in my mid twenties for WB (1995) and UPN (1995). WB and UPN merged to become the CW in 2006. We did not get Cable till I was 14 or 15. In those days there were a lot of reruns on Cable too.  It was cheap programming.

Growing up in the seventies radio still played a good deal of music from the previous decade. Music had a longer shelf life. Pop stations in the early 80's still played music from the late 70's. I also got into music very young, at 7 or 8. This was partly due to my uncle who was 8 years older. He was also a musician.  Many of his tastes wore off on me (hard rock, classic rock, early metal, psychedelic rock, Southern rock, country rock, progressive rock, blues rock, jazz rock fusion and so on). I got into other music but 60's and 70's rock is my comfort zone. This is why the Soundtracks for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Animated Series speak to me. It is mostly late 60's, 70's and early 80's music.

All those old movies I watched led to an appreciation of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the Golden Age of Television. Many of the Legends from that era have left us in the last decade. As a kid I watched Tom Hatten on KTLA; he had a show called Family Film Festival on from 1978 to 1992. That is where my love of Danny Kaye, Hope & Crosby, Abbott & Costello, Martin & Lewis, Gene Kelly, and more started. That show was a precursor to what AMC did in the 80’s till 2003 and what Turner Classic Movies does.

I previously discussed the shelf life of media being longer in the 70’s and 80’s. This period was the early years of video rental. With the advent of the internet, access to this has increased but there is so much to occupy our time. The classics get lost in the mix. In regards to music, many music video games like Guitar Hero, and Rock Band, the classics are reaching younger audiences. Films like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy help as well.

I have friends involved in the Classic Horror culture and Disney fandom. They too are about preserving the classics like I am. What spurred this particular introspection were two things, the release of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Animated Series’ Soundtrack and the passing of movie legend Maureen O’Hara on October 24, 2015. The songs on the Soundtrack hit my musical tastes head on. Ms. O’Hara was one of my few Hollywood movie crushes.

I am not saying my film, television or musical tastes stop there, but these are my foundations. I will always have the themes of I Love Lucy, Leave It to Beaver, or Batman ’66, stuck in my head. All of those and many others started and ended before I was born. Today, except for TV Land, rarely do you see shows on TV that are older than a decade, except maybe the Simpsons, which is still producing new episodes. CBS’s online streaming service includes many classic television shows. Hulu also includes many classic shows, and so does Netflix. With there being so many choices they as I have stated earlier get lost in the deluge of options.

Back in the 80’s I used to have exhausting discussions with people my age about the colorization of Black and White films. Let’s just say I was a film purist. Especially many films made in the 50’s and 60’s, that decided to be in Black and White for artistic reasons. This was especially the case with film noir. 30 years later that turned out to be an abysmal fad, however there are a few classics that are only available in the colorized version. A few films have purposely made black and white versions of the films, for example the Mist. It works, if done right and the right subject matter. Colorization still happens, but not to the degree it did in the 80’s and early 90’s.

I have noticed certain fandoms have been known to go back to the originals. Star Trek and Doctor Who fans are known for going back to discover the originals. Not all of those fans, but more than the average TV watcher today under 30. In my experience Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Disney, Horror, and Superhero fans are more likely to watch older, classic works. Some classics are kept alive by the Television Networks. The Peanuts, Dr. Seuss, and the Rankin-Bass TV specials are still shown, available streaming, or accessible on DVD and/or Blu-ray today.

We need to keep the classics alive, to do that we need to expose younger generations to these works, regardless of format. When a remake is made, we need to point folks to the original and start the dialogue. Back in the mid to late 90’s when I heard a group of kids lauding the talent of Marilyn Manson, I pointed them to the acts I thought he was borrowing from, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Ozzy Osbourne. In the early 2000’s I pointed kids into Hip Hop to Funk, specifically George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic collective. Don’t be condescending or talk down to the kids.

This Has Been My Not So Humble Opinion. 

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