Thursday, June 27, 2019

Saw it in the Movies Tag

Movie Critic tagged me with this, and you know I like tags, so here goes :-)

The rules: 
+ Pick at least 3 things that you have done from a movie. It can be any movie, anything you did.
+ Tell how the event worked out.
+ Link back to the tag's creator and the person who tagged you.
+ Have fun.
+ Tag 4 people.
+ Use the header.

Um, yeah, so I do a lot of stuff because of movies.  Mostly I just say particular words and phrases in specific ways because of movies or because of actors.  Like I tend to say the word "horrible" like Gene Kelly does -- more like "harrible."  Just because.  Or instead of saying "something like that" to reply to someone, I always say, "Something like this, yes," like Illya (Armie Hammer) in Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015).

But sometimes I DO things because of movies too.  Like these:

I spent countless minutes as a child practicing my fast draw.  Because all my cowboy heroes had a fast draw.  I learned two important lessons:  1. If your gun doesn't fit in your holster, it's not going to work very well, and 2. I'd better not get in any gunfights where the speed of my draw is going to matter.  I'm a pretty good shot with a rifle and an okay shot with a pistol, but I do not have anything you could even pretend was a fast draw.  At least not with plastic pistols that don't really fit in my fake-leather gunbelt.

I got super excited when I was a newlywed because my husband bought liverwurst at the grocery store one day.  See, there's a little scene in White Christmas (1954) where Bing Crosby tells Rosemary Clooney that if you eat liverwurst before bed, you'll dream about liverwurst, and I spent a lot of my adolescence wondering if that was true.  And wondering what liverwurst tasted like.  My mom hates all things liver, so she never bought us liverwurst.  Well, I'm here to tell you that I really enjoy liverwurst sandwiches, especially if they have thinly sliced onions on them, but I've never actually dreamed about liverwurst after eating one.  Maybe I need to eat them closer to bedtime.

I once ran down my parents' driveway yelling, "I'm going on an adventure!" like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012).  I was like 35 at the time.  My mom thought I'd gone mad.  Again.

I used to spend a lot of time trying to learn how to roll a coin between my fingers like Val Kilmer does as Doc Holliday in Tombstone (1993).  So much time.  Never did figure it out.  My brother did, though.  I think the trick might be to use a bigger coin than a quarter.

Okay, that's four things.  Good enough.  I hereby tag:

Anna & Irene at Horseback to Byzantium
Eva at Coffee, Classics, and Craziness
Grace and Katherine at Maidens of Green Gables
Kate Gabrielle at The Films in My Life

Play if you want to!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Legends of Western Cinema Week RETURNS!!!

It's true!  Olivia of Meanwhile, in Rivendell..., Heidi of Along the Brandywine, and I are reviving the Legends of Western Cinema Week blog celebration!  We're holding it July 21-27, and you are hereby invited.

Do you love western movies?  Do you like western movies?  Do you kind of fondly tolerate western movies?  This blog celebration is for you!  We welcome you whether you adore the genre, enjoy just a few cowboy films, or fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

What will this week entail?  I'm so glad you asked.  Heidi, Olivia, and I have some splendid things in the works.  Like what?  Multiple giveaways.  Blog games.  A tag.  Top ten lists.  Movie reviews.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut... the truth is, we don't want to celebrate with only each other.  We want to celebrate with YOU too!  You can sign up in the comments on any of the announcement posts of the three host blogs with your ideas for what you'd like to add to this shindig.

How can you contribute?  Any way you can dream up!  Movie reviews, character sketches, a list of your favorite western films, a long rhapsody about celluloid cowboys... it's really up to you.

Multiple posts from the same blogger?  Totally welcome.  More than one person reviewing the same movie?  Why not?  This isn't a blogathon, it's a party.

If you can't think of anything to post, fear not!  We're working on a splendid tag with 9 questions you can answer on your own blog.  That totally counts as partying.

Olivia made us these fabulous buttons, so please scatter them all over the internet like confetti share one or two on your own blogs and social media accounts to spread the news about all the fun we're going to have.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

"Five Mile Creek" (1983-85)

When I was growing up in the late ‘80s, my family would rent a VCR and a VHS tape from the local video store once in a while. Yes, we had to rent the VCR too – we couldn’t afford to buy one, but renting one cost about the same as renting the video, so we could manage that now and then. At that tiny video store in the thumb of Michigan, my parents discovered the TV show Five Mile Creek.

At first, our store only had the first season, two episodes to a tape, but later they acquired the second and third seasons too – maybe my family rented the first season tapes so often, getting the rest seemed like a good business decision for the video store Powers That Be.

Anyway, we almost never rented anything but the next tape of Five Mile Creek, whatever came after the one we got at the last visit. Mom would make frozen pizzas for us, another treat, and we’d have a fun couple of hours joining our celluloid friends on their adventures in Australia’s version of the Wild West.

Set in the 1870s and loosely inspired by Louis L’Amour’s The Cherokee Trail, this Disney Channel original show stoked my love of all things Australia. A handful of years earlier, I’d seen The Man from Snowy River (1982) in the theater as a toddler, and that movie bestowed upon me a love for horses, cowboys, Australia, and the names “Jim” and “Jessica,” a love that lasted for my whole childhood and beyond.

Five Mile Creek chronicles the adventures of a motley assortment of characters on Australia’s frontier. Conway Madigan (Jay Kerr) comes all the way from America with a Concord stagecoach and a dream of building and running his own stageline.

He’s met in Australia by Jack Taylor (Rod Mullinar), a wheeler and dealer with endless plans for getting rich.  Together, they set up a stage line between Port Nelson and Wilga that they call the Australian Express.

Together, they borrow money from Mr. Charles Withers (Peter Carroll), a shrewd banker who doubts their ability to succeed but thinks their stagecoach and horses are excellent collateral.

Jack made arrangements with a local fellow to run their stage line’s way station to provide meals and “washing facilities” and a place to change horses. But that fellow has a fondness for drinking and gambling, and the task of running the way station falls on the shoulders of his capable sister, Kate Wallace (Liz Burch).

Jack insists Kate can’t handle the responsibility alone, but it turns out she doesn’t have to. An American woman, Maggie Scott (Louise Caire Clark), arrived on the same ship as Con and his coach.

Maggie and her daughter Hannah (Priscilla Weems) are searching for Maggie’s husband Adam, who came to Australia some time earlier in search of gold. Adam left a letter telling them to wait at Five Mile Creek, which happens to be where Kate's way station is situated.  Maggie offers to help Kate with the stage line work until Adam comes for her.

Kate employs an Irish ex-convict named Paddy Mallone (Michael Caton) to help care for the stage line’s horses.

Paddy provides most of the comic relief for the series, especially when he bickers with Ben Jones (Gus Mercurio), Con Madigan’s friend who comes over from America to help wrangle their horses.

And Kate takes in an orphan called Sam (Martin Lewis).  As a kid, I always preferred Sam to Hannah, as she was all prim and proper, sometimes a goody-two-shoes, and Sam had more adventures.

But Con Madigan was always my favorite, being a tall Texan with a fast draw and ready smile.  Not to mention a fringed buckskin jacket -- I've been extreeemely fond of jackets like that ever since this show.

Doesn't hurt that he looks pretty good without the jacket too.  Though I appreciated that fact more when I hit my teen years.

Also, the man kisses horses.  How could he NOT be my favorite???


Together, this diverse mix of characters gradually form one of my favorite things:  a "found family."  In fact, this show was probably my introduction to that concept!  Because we watched the whole series several times during my childhood and adolescence, I came to feel like they were my imaginary family as well.  I used to make up long stories about how I ended up at the way station and joined them in new adventures -- some of the earliest "fan fiction" I ever imagined up in my head!

Over the course of three seasons, Con and Kate fall in love.  The series actually ends with them getting married and deciding to adopt Sam as their son.

Maggie's husband Adam (Jonathan Frakes) shows up briefly, but is pretty much a loser, and I don't actually remember if we later find out he died, or if he just goes his merry way.

Still, it's really fun that Frakes was in an episode.  When I got my picture taken with him at the Star Trek convention a few years ago, I told him I'd liked him ever since Five Mile Creek, and he said, "Wow!  That takes me way back!" or something to that effect.  The truth is, I really have seen him in this more often than on Star Trek: The Next Generation because I've seen this show so many times, but only a few TNG episodes.

And he looks good in a cowboy hat.

Like, I could make up a whole book based on this image alone:

Anyway, the characters have lots and lots of adventures.  They have run-ins with bush rangers (outlaws) and corrupt soldiers, survive fires and cave-ins, and bid good-bye to a couple characters in a couple different ways.

Partway through the series, they all move away from the coast to New South Wales, where we meet up with some new characters.  I especially loved fiercely independent Annie (Nicole Kidman), a tomboyish sheepherdess with a wild mop of hair.  She's been a favorite actress of mine ever since.


Sadly, Disney has only released the first season of Five Mile Creek to DVD.  I keep waiting and hoping for the other two seasons, but so far, nothing.  Still, my kids are old enough now that I think I'll be introducing them to the show soon -- I do own all the eps on either DVD or VHS, and my VCR hasn't died yet!

This has been my contribution to the Blizzard of Oz Blogathon hosted by Quiggy at The Midnite Drive-In this weekend!  Check out his master post for links to all the other entries, and check out my Upcoming Blog Events page here to see what kinds of cool things are coming up!  You might find something you want to join yourself.

Also, come back tomorrow for an announcement about a blog event I'll be co-hosting that you won't want to miss!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The #ClassicMovieTag

I spotted this delightful tag on both The Films in My Life and Coffee, Classics, and Craziness, and I can't help myself -- I'm doing it too!  It seems to have originated at Out of the Past.

What’s one classic movie that you recommend to people over and over and over again?

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).  It's truly an important film, taking an honest, deep look at what it's like to return from war and try to figure out how to fit into the civilian world.  Even people who don't like "old" movies or black-and-white movies should watch it once.

What was the last classic film you saw and what were your thoughts about it?

My kids and I watched Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) in our van on the way to meet some family in St. Louis last week.  I really love that movie, especially Margaret O'Brien's character Tootie.

Name a classic movie genre you love and one you dislike.

I love westerns.  I don't care much for screwball comedies.

Name a classic movie star with whom you share a birthday or a hometown.

I share my birthday with Shirley Temple and Sandra Dee :-)

Give a shout out to a friend or family member who shares your love of classic movies.

My dearest friend, DKoren!  Our mutual love of classic film is a huge part of why we became friends, actually.  I dream that someday we could attend a TCM movie festival together.  Never know!  It could happen.

Name a classic movie star who makes your heart skip a beat or whom you admire greatly.

Y'all KNOW who my answer for this is.

(Look at that sunshiney smile!)

Alan.  Walbridge.  Ladd.  Mine, all mine.

Describe one memorable experience watching a classic movie.

This past spring, Cowboy and I took our kids to see Ben-Hur (1959) on the big screen.  I'd dreamed for years of seeing that particular film in the theater, and thanks to TCM Fathom Events, it finally happened.  Oh my word, it was so amazing.  The colors were so vivid!  The sets were so detailed, down to little sewers in the streets of Jerusalem.  The costumes were so much more rich and exquisite than on my TV screen.  I was agog.  I would go again in a heartbeat if it ever came around again, but even if it doesn't, I'll cherish the memory of how wonderful it was.

What’s something classic-movie-related that you love to collect?

I'm guessing "DVDs" is too obvious an answer?

I have quite a few vintage photos.  You know, publicity shots, head shots, stuff studios sent to newspapers.  I buy them on ebay and Etsy now and then, if they're an actor or actress or movie I like.  I've got quite a few, mostly of Alan Ladd and John Wayne and Dana Andrews, but a few of other people too.

I also have these three little postcard-sized pictures with a facsimile of Alan Ladd's signature on them that were sent to members of his fan club in the 1940s and '50s.  They were only like $5 each on ebay, as they're quite common, but I like them so much, I framed them all together and hung them on the wall.

What’s your favorite way to share your passion for classic movies?

By blogging, of course!

There are no formal rules for this tag, so I'm not going to tag anyone in particular.  If this looks like fun to you, have at it!

Thursday, June 06, 2019

The D-Day Blogathon is Here!

Today is the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion during WWII.  Code-named "Operation Overlord," it was a massive, risky undertaking.  Approximately 165,000 Allied soldiers landed on those beaches over the course of the invasion.

My great-uncle, James Haack, was one of them.

Even before I knew that I had a family connection to it, I had a fondness for learning about this particular slice of WWII.  I got really interested in it 25 years ago, when lots of classic WWII movies were released to VHS to mark its 50th anniversary.  That's when my interest in the 1940s and the history of WWII really took off, in fact.

Anyway, here we are, all gathered together to celebrate and remember this remarkable day and the heroic efforts of those involved in the second world war.  Participants, please leave a link to your contributions either on this post or on Eva's post, and we'll add you to the official roster!  Thank you for joining us.

The Roster