Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My First Movie Blogathon

Over the course of this year, I am proud to say that I've become blogging buddies with two wonderful ladies, Jenna and Allie, better known as The Flick Chicks. They run a very fun tandem blog. If you're not reading it, you should be. Together, they've come up with a really cool idea, the "My First Movie" Blogathon. The banner is at least as good as the idea, by the way. Isn't that just the cutest thing you've ever seen? Anyhoo, bloggers are asked to write about their first movie experience. Since these things must have rules, they have given us a few...

1. Write a post about your 'First Movie' (interpret that as you will), you can choose multiple movies if you have ideas for more than one - go nuts!

2. Include the banner above in your post and link it to this post.

3. Comment on this post or e-mail flickchicks2014@gmail.com

Unfortunately, I already posted about my "first movie" several months ago when I posted a love letter to Enter the Dragon as part of my Movies I Grew Up With series. I didn't mention it in that post, but that is indeed the very first movie I remember going to see in a theater. At the risk of being shoved in a wheelchair, I'll only say that the thing I remember most about the actual experience was that it was part of a triple feature. Yup, three movies, one ticket. Those were the days. However, as much as  I love Bruce Lee, I didn't want to write about him again just days after doing so (Bruce Lee's Top 5 Fight Scenes).

Thankfully, The Flick Chicks left me an out. About your first movie, the rules say "interpret that as you will." I'm going to go with "one of" my first theater experiences (probably my third or fourth). What makes it qualify as a first, for me, is that it's the earliest movie going experience that I vividly remember.

These days we're bombarded with a slew of superhero flicks every summer. However, to that point in my life there had been none. Not one. I had heard of, and even seen a few of, the old serials from the 1940s of Flash Gordon and some other characters I can't remember. As far as live action representations of superheroes, I had three TV series that I watched religiously. There was Batman, The Lone Ranger, and of course, The Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves. That last one was pure 50s cheese whether or not a particular episode was in black-and-white, or glorious Technicolor, but I loved it all the same.

We need more Technicolor, those hues just jump off the screen, don't they? Moving on...

Imagine my delight when I found out that the big blue boy scout was getting his very own movie. I didn't quite understand why my hero could no longer be played by the same guy. Of course, no one around bothered to tell me that he died twenty years earlier. I'm not even sure they knew. In the end, I was still just a seven or eight year old boy with a hankering to see Superman: The Movie. I remember this experience "vividly," but can't tell you how old I was? There is actually a pretty good reason. The movie hit theaters when I was seven. However, this was also an era when it was fairly common for a movie to play in first run theaters for a year or more. I have no idea if Mom took me to see it during its first few months out or if we waited a while. Honestly, I have to lean toward us waiting a while because there were only four or five other people in the entire theater. I do know that once in the theater, I experienced magic.

In this case, watching a movie in a nearly empty theater actually enhanced the experience. It was like getting a private screening. Since those other folks weren't sitting anywhere near us it felt like it was just Mom and I in the living room with a TV far bigger than we could fathom. I know the screen at the theater is still larger than what you have at home, but multiply the feeling of going from one to the other a few hundred times for a kid in the 70s. After all, no one had anything bigger than a 27" floor model.

This thing took up lots of space, but didn't give you a lot of picture.

As you might imagine, seeing Superman on the silver screen with hardly anyone else in the room made him and the entire experience larger than life. Sure, I was easy to impress, but everything about the movie worked for me that day. When a frustrated Clark kicked a football into the stratosphere, I right with him in his pain. The same goes for when Pa Kent passes away. I didn't even mind that I hadn't seen him in costume and we were nearing an hour of viewing time. We get a little glimpse of him flying from his home at the North Pole, then it's on to his first day of work as a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet. Christopher Reeve, a guy I had never even heard of before, was just perfect as the bumbling Clark. Of course, he was. I thought he was born to play Superman since he was related to George Reeves. Or, that's what his name led me to believe. He's not. When we finally got to see Superman in action, he did not disappoint. Most memorable, he rescues Lois Lane, played by Margot Kidder, as she falls from a helicopter that was hanging precariously over the edge of a skyscraper. As he catches her, and the 'copter, they have an iconic mid-air exchange.

"Easy miss, I've got you."
"You've got me! Who's got you?"
After this little stunt, our hero immediately sets out for a night of rescuing citizens. He stops a plane from cashing and a jewelry heist. He was being super. Now I was really happy. The only thing missing was for the evil Lex Luthor to enact his plan. That came soon enough with Gene Hackman as the bad guy. I remember cracking up at his exchanges with Otis played by Ned Beatty. Their villainous trio was completed by Valerie Perrine playing Miss Teschmacher. Since I'm being completely honest, her appearances on the screen probably mark the first time I became aware of my preference for well endowed ladies. Or, maybe it started with her. Either way, I couldn't stop ogling her whenever she showed up.

Even if you haven't seen it, you know how it all ends. Oh...ahem...spoiler alert. Supes saves the day. This includes bringing Lois Lane back from the dead by circling the globe fast enough in the opposite direction of its spin to cause the Earth to start spinning that way and thus reversing time. As an adult it's a totally ludicrous concept that should've been left on the cutting room floor. To that seven or eight year old version of me, eyes glued to the screen as buttery fingers fish around a cardboard bucket in search of one more kernel of popcorn, it made as much sense as anything I had ever come across. I mean, of course the world spinning backwards would undo everything that just happened.

The fun didn't stop when I left the theater. Why would it? I was a little boy who had just seen the first superhero movie in who knows how many years. Seeing the Man of Steel majestically soaring across the screen stirred some things in me. I immediately swore off George Reeves. Well, not exactly. I didn't stop watching the TV show, but he was no longer my Superman. He was that old guy who never looked like he was really flying despite all the swooping wind noises as he did. Christopher Reeve was all mine. He was younger and absolutely believable in every part of his role. As we walked to the car, I pretended to be flying while striking the same poses he did. Once at home, the sleeves on my bath robe became the tools used to tie it around my neck and fashion a cape out of it. In the backyard, I ran as fast as I can so it would blow in the wind just like Superman's. 

The thing that my mother thought most odd is, in retrospect, the very beginnings of my life as a film blogger. I didn't review the movie, or anything, but I was inspired to write. After dinner that night, I took out pencil and paper and reconstructed the entire script of the movie as best I could from memory. At least, I did for the dialogue, anyway. There was no internet to help me out and our home, like most, at the time, didn't include a person who had even heard of a VCR, yet so I couldn't watch it again, either. Still, I remember writing for hours until I filled I don't remember how many pages and reached that final moment where our hero drops Luthor off at the prison. I've no idea how much of it I had right or left out, but it was fun for an oddball like me. I would later do this with the Sugarhill Gang classic "Rapper's Delight." However, I owned a copy of that record, yes record, so that was much easier. By the way, R. I. P. to their Big Bank Hank who passed a couple weeks ago.

Without question, I told all my friends what I had seen. It should go without saying that I proclaimed it the best anything in the history of everything. A few days later, I had mom buy me a set of Superman trading cards which came with stickers of our hero and of Lois Lane. Both went right on my school notebook. Yes, I checked the pack three times to make sure there wasn't one for Miss Teschmacher.


  1. I got Batman for my entry and you got Supes. I guess DC was up front back along 2 decades (80s and 90s), before finally, Marvel stole the moment.
    Great post, anyway! Love every detail of it


    1. Yup, DC was once much bigger in the public eye. Thanks for checking out the post. I'll be sure to swing by your place to read yours.

    2. So glad if you read mine. Let's see what the others get for this blogathon!

  2. Great entry, coincidentally I just saw a film print (35mm) of this last summer at a small, independent theater during their annual summer classics program. Even though I wasn't even thought of in '78 I was always fond of the Superman movies (part 4 can burn for all I care though), and must have watched my VHS copy of the first movie a couple dozen times growing up, ironically I haven't watched my DVD copy very much since upgrading. It was a treat to see it on the big screen though, even if my experience was the total opposite of yours - the theater wasn't near empty like you had, it was at full capacity.

    Happy Holidays!

    1. Wow. It would've been cool seeing it in the theater again after all these years. I'm jealous.

      Happy Holidays to you, too!

  3. I love this film. I still do. To me, this is the definitive Superman film.

  4. Brilliant! I'm so glad to have you on board with this Blogathon, your posts are always such an entertaining read :D I love that this film inspired you to write, it's definitely a sign of your path to become a Blogger!
    - Allie

    1. Glad to be a part of it. I had a ton of fun writing this. Thanks for coming up with such a great idea.