Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Old Movies and Fond Remembrances

Last night I was channel surfing and came across an old movie I'm sure I must've watched years ago when it was new, the main stars were Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson. The movie was When I Last Saw Paris.

When I was about twelve, I was in love with Van Johnson. I had his photographs all over the door of my closet.

I was an autograph collector too. My mom and I used to go watch the live radio broadcasts of the Lux Radio Theater which starred many movie actors. I was able to get autographs of many of my favorites.

Van Johnson was the star of one show. I raced around to the back of the theater once the broadcast was over as that's where I caught most of the stars to obtain their autographs. Unfortunately, Van Johnson was already in his car and driving away. That didn't stop me, I raced after him on foot, out of the parking lot, down the middle of the street, until he had to stop at a stoplight. I came up to the driver's window, stuck my autograph book and pen in front of him. "Please sign."

He looked at me in surprise and amazement. I'm sure he was completely shocked to see this nerdy pre-teen out in the middle of the street asking for an autograph.

He smiled and signed. I said thank you, and gazed after him when the signal changed and he drove away. I'm sure I got out of the street--but don't remember much after that. I certainly showed off his autograph to all my friends.

When he passed away this year, my eldest daughter who had heard this story many times, called to offer her condolences.

As I watched the movie, I wondered what made me so enamored of him all those many years ago. He was the boy-next-door type, although in this particular movie he wasn't a nice man. He was an alcoholic and unfaithful to his wife. He changed at the end, but not soon enough.

The acting wasn't very good--on any of the stars part--but I've noticed that with a lot of the old movies. I think it's overacting, something we don't see much of anymore.

Elizabeth Taylor was absolutely stunning. The first James Bond, very young, played a gigolo. And the set was laughable. It was supposed to be Paris, but the outside scenes were obviously sets in the studio.

Watching the movie brought back a lot of memories of my childhood years and my infatuation with movies and the stars.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

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