Thursday, March 15, 2012

Casablanca—A National Treasure

Last weekend, a friend texted and asked if I wanted to go out for dinner and a movie with some other women—our husbands, it seems, were going to be playing poker, so let’s go. We saw a Reese Witherspoon flick that was unremarkable, as all Reese Witherspoon flicks are, but I did find something remarkable in the previews.

Next Wednesday, March 21, theaters around the country will be showing Casablanca, the original classic from 1942 in honor of its 70th anniversary. Everything is about marketing, though, so I have to acknowledge this one-day screening is also about promoting the release of the digitized DVD coming out from Turner Classic Movies.

I was so excited, I pulled out my silenced cell phone to make note of the event. The woman sitting beside me laughed at me for doing that, but that’s just because she doesn’t understand my connection with classic movies. They aren’t just films. They’re living, breathing things that are woven into my very being. If you cut me, I bleed cellulose. No, that’s not right. I bleed celluloid.

When I was a kid in middle school and high school, I literally scheduled my life around which films would be airing on WGN in Chicago every weekday at 9 a.m. We’d get the TV guide in the Sunday paper, and I would read through the schedule to note which movies I would be sure to sit for. It was easy in the summer because I could see them all—I’d get up just in time to make an egg salad sandwich with a slice of gov’ment cheese, and I’d sit cross-legged on the couch and be transported.

During the school year, though, I often had scheduling conflicts. I’d be expected to go to school, but I would want to stay home for The Philadelphia Story or Psycho or The Heiress. So, I would occasionally find myself ill on certain days, too ill for school. On Borrowed Time or Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, for example, would cause a sore throat. And The Rainmaker, Meet John Doe or The Grapes of Wrath would cause a terrible stomach virus.

I fantasized about being able to own these movies personally, thinking there must be some way to allow people to have access to them whenever they liked. Why couldn’t we own movies the same way we owned cassette tapes, I questioned? You can imagine how excited I was at the release of the first VCRs. I ran right out and bought Gone With the Wind and held it close to my heart, dreamily saying, “Finally, my very own movie to watch whenever I wish.”

Well, of course I own a DVD of Casablanca and can watch it anytime I like, but seeing it on the big screen will be a real treat. If you find yourself sitting by me in the theater next Wednesday, please forgive me if I start to say the lines with the characters. I’ll try to keep it down.

While I wait for the screening, here is my column for today's edition of Small Town Newspaper. For those who live near Small Town, the theater in New Towne Mall will not be playing Casablanca, but Tinseltown in North Canton will air it at 2:00 and at 7:00. Let's go.

1 comment:

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

So you'll have a sore throat or a little tummy bug next Wednesday?

I'm so taking Laura. :-)