Tuesday, August 24, 2010
There was a time around the late 70s that seemed to me to be the best times to watch made-for-tv movies. There were no videos so if you didn't see a movie the first time around you had to wait for it to show up on TV or at some theatre revival. But only the biggest movies like 'Gone With The Wind' or 'The Wizard of Oz' were set up for that kind of treatment.
Anything new or original was a big deal. Mini-series were very popular because it was like getting eight parts of a story all in one week.
My favorite of the trends were the killer animal and killer machine movies.
Usually with the animals it was some natural disaster that released them from the ground where they had just been waiting to kill us. Bugs that caught fire or snakes that could spit venom the length of a football field were popular. Sometimes just before the dam burst we would be inundated with rats and mice. The effects weren't the best but they got the idea across enough to freak the teen in me out.
Next came the killer vehicle craze. First is was the demonic car with the black windows that chased down all the locals at the county rodeo. Even bullets couldn't stop it as no less than six cops had to figure out. You would think when officer Bill got run over after putting six in the windshield that the other yokels would see that another plan was needed, but, you know, that WAS set in the deep south.
But for me the grandaddy of these movie was KILLDOZER. It had it all. Killer construction equipment that snuck up at you at less than 10 miles an hour. Hell it even had it's own comic book. I remember the hype this movie got for months and I sure wasn't going to miss my chance to talk about it Friday morning at school. After all I had my own black and white TV.
Later that week my first girlfriend Tara Crandall invited me over to watch it with her. She said her parents and siblings would be gone so we would have the house to ourselves. I remember thinking how great it was to not have to tell anyone to shut up during the good parts. Also, she had a color TV. Anything named KILLDOZER deserved the glory of color. What? I said I was a teenager, I never claimed to be a particularly aware one.
What I most remember about that evening was her taking most of the night trying to get me to sit on the couch with her. Why would I want to do that? That lazy-boy was the most comfortable and best seat in the house. I remember her spilling juice on that chair when I went to use the bathroom during the commercial and feeling disappointed now that I would have to get comfortable somewhere else.
She gave me every opening to kiss her and I remember waiting until the commercial to make my 'big move'. That way both her and I would be happy.(I wasn't that clueless and that girl sure knew how to wear a peasant blouse with bell bottom jeans - MEOW)
So I got to see my movie AND kiss a girl for the first time.
When her family got home her dad told her older brother to drive me home. On the way he asked me how the movie ended and I told him. He looked at me like a city fella looks at a country fella fresh from the turnip truck and said, "I guess Mom was right, we don't have to worry about you." Only years later did I figure out what he meant and he was right, I wouldn't be making out with his sister as long as some dump truck was going berserk. I had my priorities, you know?
Posted by Kal at 2:37 AM