Reviewing childhood entertainment.
It's no secret that I have kids in the house. These children do, in fact, watch some age-appropriate television, and see movies. This of course means that Mrs. G and I watch them, too. I've come to some sudden flashes of realization, lately:
1. Speed Racer wasn't really the star of the show; Racer X was.
2. Remember that black and white scene toward the beginning of The Wizard Of Oz, in which Zeke the farm hand (played by Bert Lahr, who also played the Cowardly Lion) jumps into the pigsty? Remember how, after he jumped in and carried Dorothy out, he mopped his brow with panting anxiety? Remember how the others chuckled at the scaredy-man, who was afraid of a few pigs? I saw that scene the other day while my daughter watched it on DVD, and I realized something: he didn't hesitate to climb in and get Dorothy out. I asked my 10 year old daughter if she though that the character Zeke was a coward. She said that he was. I corrected her, because for the first time it struck me: Zeke overcame his fear to do what was needful. Only afterwards did he show his fear. This is the very definition of courageous. How had I missed that for so long?
Oh, and my daughters and I agree that the over-heavy male vibrato in the Cowardly Lion song "If I Were King Of The Forest" sucks dirty rocks. We also agree that troupes of giant flying monkeys are still a terrifying concept. We also note, having read the original book, that the Witch had sent packs of giant wolves to kill the traveling group, but that the Tin Woodsman had slain them neatly with his axe. Funny how that didn't make it into the movie.
3. The Electric Company, a TV show on PBS that used to come on after Sesame Street when I was a kid, had an amazing array of talent on it. Morgan Freeman and Mel Brooks each did 780 episodes. Gene Wilder (and the lesser talent Joan Rivers) did 650 episodes. Bill Cosby did 260 episodes. Repeat guest stars like Carol Burnett and Lily Tomlin. Wow. That show only lasted six seasons? Huh. You mean there were other reasons to watch it besides Spider Man?