25 Jan 2011, Posted by arghcentral in 2. Weekday "ARGH!", 5. Wednesday BL-"ARGH!", 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“A Kid At The Movies”

It’s been one week since I launched “ARGH! Central” and I’m already breaking my rules of brevity.  In this case, I have to make an exception because I have a confession: At age 7, I became a closet PBS television watcher.

I didn’t tell my friends because  I didn’t want to be associated with “old people” TV, stuff that my father watched.  Wall Street Week was his favorite.  It bored me to tears despite being fascinated by Louis Rukeyser’s mop of white hair.

But Sneak Previews — hosted by Chicago-area film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel — caught my interest on KCTS Channel 9, the Seattle affiliate.

Why was a little kid watching two guys argue about movies?  I didn’t know it then.  I realize it now.  It was my classroom.

I had my Sneak Previews ritual.  I’d wrap a warm blanket around my waist, pour myself something to drink, grab a small collection of comic books and head to our sunken living room.  Turning on the television, I’d switch the channel with a pair of pliers.  (The dial was broken off during a Darwinian fight between brother or sister over who got to watch what and when.  Whomever possessed the pliers controlled the world.)

I enjoyed watching Roger and Gene tussle.  Although these men argued, sometimes heatedly — their disagreement over David Lynch’s Blue Velvet comes to mind — I always sense their friendship was deep-rooted in their common passion for film.  I was growing ever more passionate about film, too, but I didn’t really know it then.  I had something in common with these two guys.

Gene’s gone, having died on Feb. 20, 1999 following a battle with a cancerous brain tumor.  I thought of Gene a few years later when one of my own dear students died at the age of 16 from the same affliction.  Nothing prepares you for being a pall bearer for a child.

Last year, I was touched, angered, and saddened as I read Esquire’s Chris Jones’ terrific interview with Roger.

Roger has not allowed the removal of his lower jaw to cancer surgery to silence him, although he lost his voice in the process.  He returned to television last week with Ebert Presents At the Movies on many PBS affiliates throughout the country.

But not in Seattle.

You read that correctly.

NOT in Crazy-About-Film Seattle!

Read The Seattle TimesMoira Macdonald’s initial article here and her follow up here.

There are many reasons for KCTS to broadcast Ebert Presents At the Movies.

Selfishly, I bet there are some kids out there, possibly young like I was, who don’t realize they are about to embark on a love affair with movies.  Growing up in a small, rural Western Washington dairy farm community, opportunities to see a larger world outside were few.  To a kid like me, it made all the difference.

I feel like I owe Roger and Gene something for that.  And KCTS played a role in offering me that programming as well.

I hope Pacific Northwest film fans provide KCTS with impassioned and thoughtful emails here: start@kcts9.org

UPDATE: Roger Ebert tweeted 1/28: “Bingo! “Ebert Presents” has been picked up by KBTC/KTCI in Seattle/Tacoma, starting in March.”

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16 Nov 2010, Posted by arghcentral in 2. Weekday "ARGH!", 5. Wednesday BL-"ARGH!", 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , ,

Why Frankenstein says “ARGH!!”

My earliest dream starred Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein Monster.  In the dream, I had to save my family from the Monster, who had shackled my family in rusted, metal cages suspended from the castle’s ceiling.  Films and I were forever linked.

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