TEN YEARS AHEAD FIFTY YEARS BACK-PART 2

In last week’s edition, this writer was commenting upon a questionnaire written by one Betty Jones who was about to become a graduate of Lakewood Senior High School of Long Beach, California–Class of 1971.

Within this questionnaire, she was asked what her prediction were going to be for herself ten years after her graduation. That year would have been 1981 when she would be in her late 20‘s–28 years old or thereabouts.

On the back of this documents, she completed an easy that was addressed to herself ten years ahead. In other words, the Betty of 1971 would be composing a letter to the Betty of 1981 offering her advice and other words of wisdom to take heed.

Here is that easy she wrote, dated June 2nd, 1971…

Dear Betty of 1981,

Needless to say, it seems pretty silly writing a letter to myself but, by the time you read this letter, I won’t be myself anymore.

Right now, I know the mistakes that I don’t want to make when I am your age. I only hope you can look at this letter and say you didn’t make them. You probability have a family of your own now, and I hope you can remember the things that your parents did for you when you were the age of your children, so that your children will be as happy as you were. Remember not to hold on too tightly to the ones you love, for that is the quickest way to lose them.

Be happy always, and make everyone around you happy too! Remember the mistakes you made in your high school years, and help your children through their mistakes. Don’t try to stop them from living their own lives or give them too much advice. Let them find out things for themselves.

Well, there’s so much more I’d like to say and no room left to say it. Be happy and love life. Do as much as you can in the little time that God has given us on this earth. Good luck in life! See you in the world!

Sincerely,

Betty (1971) Class of ’71

On the upper left side of the letter was a likeness of a sun with a smiling face in its middle, and on the bottom right of the letter next to the “sincerely” is another smiling sun doodle.

This is all what is known of Betty. I don’t know if she went off to college, or if she indeed started a family, or to even know of this Betty Jones is still living. All that remains of her life is this questionnaire that was found stuck in the center of a hardcover book that was purchased at an estate sale long forgotten.

All we can say right now is for parents out there who has a “young adult” that became a graduate of some high school or equivalent source of education that will become part of the class of ’21. We can’t speak for your offspring, but we do hope for the best in this world. They may be heading off to a source of higher education, or to take some time off to “find themselves” (whatever that term means) or to make their proper choices. And if they want to seek out fame through social media, they are within the right demographic to do such. But as with everything out there, moderation is the key.

And this writer doesn’t transcribes these words as a parent. It’s all based on personal experiences and just “being there”. And yes, there is a connection to that phase and a feature film that starred Peter Sellers of the same name. (A registered film as part of the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.) My connection was television, and my journey to the world was connected to those sources when the “big three” American TV networks ruled, even though I really didn’t care much of who indeed shot J.R.! But that’s for another episode as that stands!

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When one thinks of “Summer Movies” one may conger up thoughs of a film (or series of films) that the season in question is set centered, such as the Gidget films released through Columba Pictures (or Columbia Pictures Television if one adds the TV film Gidget Grows Up), or the beach movies made famous through American International Pictures starring Frankie Avalon of top-40 rock and roll fame, and Annette Funicello who became the most successful ex-Mousekateer to ever grace the big and little screen. One may also connect a summer movie to a “epic” blockbuster film released between late April through later August that could be a remake, a reboot, and/or a sequalized “franchise” title that offers lots of explosions, gunfire, and other forms of CGI created scenes that service as the biggest source of income to the studios that bankrolls these sorts of movies for audience to view where the movie houses showing off these flicks sell a lot of popcorn in the process. (Hence the nickname of these kind of titles-”popcorn movies”!)

The above descriptions may be true to describe a summer movie. But there were a load of films released within the last 100 years or so that hold a focus to the summer solstice but are never referred to as a summer movie per se, outside of the fact that much of its plot takes place during this time of year.

John Malahy has composed a book that gives this definition to a summer movie into a new (sun) light! SUMMER MOVIES: 30 Sun-Drenched Classics (Running Press) is a book title where Malahy writes about two and a half dozen movies that are set within the good ol’ summertime in terms of its focus and depth. He writes about what these movies are all about, who appears within the feature, as well as adding little amusing and “gee-I-didn’t-know-that” tidbits in terms of the creation of the film, the geographic area to where the movie takes place, as well as an idea to view an additional title that gives off the same and theme of the featured noted and expressed, suggesting a double feature!

A good number of the films noted are the ones that are obvious to the season, such as MGM’s Summer Stock, Fox’s Moon Over Miami, the for noted Gidget and Frankie & Annette beach flicks among other titles, as well as movies where the summer heat plays a major part. Paramount’s Rear Window comes to mind as the story’s focus is looking through an open window to beat the summer heat. Ditto for Fox’s, The Seven Year Itch where a man has to send his wife and kids away from New York City for the summer since very few folks had air conditioning (and a neighbor as Marilyn Monroe), and Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing that takes place on a hot summer in Bed-Sud Brooklyn, where the only way to beat the heat is to crack open a fire plug if not cranking up the Emerson window air conditioner placing a strain on Con-Ed’s electrical grid! And there’s even titles noted that may be overlooked, if not nearly forgotten, because of its rather obscure place in the film word, such as Lonesome, a 1928 silent feature released by Carl Laemmle’s Universal Pictures, or Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday, a 1953 release from France starring Jacques Tati who spends the season at a beach resort with comical results, and Smiles for a Summer Night, (Sommarnattens Leende) another world entry from Sweden directed by Ingmar Bergman where its American distributor billed this picture as “a sexy frolic” starring Sweden’s “most beautiful women”! Rounding off the collection are movies that do take place in summer but are more downplayed. (Embassy Pictures’ The Graduate, Vestron Pictures’ Dirty Dancing, and Sony Studios’ A League Of The Own come to mind.)

Loaded with photos from the films as well as glimpses of the original one sheet posters, this book is a great companion to have on hand while soaking up the sun, sand, and surf, while viewing a feature or two while on summer vacation wherever one may be!

Of course, it can’t post every film ever created that speaks for the season. (This reviewer’s personal favorite, Summer Holliday, a British film starring Cliff Richards isn’t present!) But after looking through the selections as found, it will make one search even deeper to sport other movies that speak for summertime where the livin’ is easy–or maybe not!

With an introduction by Leonard Maltin, movie-dom’s biggest film fan of them all, as well as having the “seal of approval” with Turner Classic Movies, the be-all-to-end all place to see those films from no so long ago, SUMMER MOVIES: 30 Sun-Drenched Classics will keep one busy well into the fall season! And most, if not all, titles mentioned in the book can be accessed through home video (both as in and out of print media), streaming on demand, as well as a running on TCM or where movies can be accessed, either on the little video screen or on the big theater screen when and where available.

And as the ads used to say (with neon laced billboards found within Miami-Dade and Broward County Florida with the likeness of the little pig-tailed girl showing off some rear end cleavage thanks to her pup), “Tan Don’t Burn-Use Coppertone”!

SUMMER MOVIES is available through all leading book sellers, both in-store and online.

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