Two Milestone Movies Make Memories

snow white

You know when something big happens because the world is never quite the same again. It can be as devastating as 9/11 in our generation or Pearl Harbor in Mom’s. Or it can be revolutionary like the smart phone in our time or the polio vaccine in Mom’s. Such thoughts came to mind when the new improved version of The Wizard of Oz, opening in IMax theaters this weekend. The original film debuted in 1939 at Grauman’s Chinese theater– awing audiences with special effects never seen before.
That brought me back to the story Mom loved to tell of her most vivid childhood memory. During the 1930′s, her parents briefly lived in California before moving to Houston .It was during the Great Depression and life was pretty austere as far as entertainment was concerned. Then one evening, her parents got her all dressed up to see a movie at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. This was no average 1937 Saturday matinee. (Mom said they would spend summers in the theaters because it was the only air-conditioned place at the time.) This was an evening event. Mom recalled holding her parents hands and walking down a path dotted with lights as if little fairies were at her feet. Lining the walk were statues of the seven dwarfs (long before Tavelocity Gnomes). The scene was mesmerizing to a small child about to watch history in the making.
Decades later, I remember seeing Snow White
for the first time and marveling at how different the artwork looked from my Saturday morning Road Runner and Jetsons cartoons . Let’s hope that when a new generation sees the “updated” 3D Wizard of Oz they will have even more appreciation  the groundbreaking original in its time.

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