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New Classics Getting Old
by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Sometimes I question my own sanity. I ask myself questions that I already know the answers to. It's kind of like arguing with yourself and losing. Not much fun, is it?

Anyway, most of us in this country have at least one television set, with hundreds of channels but nothing to watch. So, this exercise has morphed into what we now call channel surfing otherwise known as the 'battle for the remote'. Millions of us sit down each and every night and plod through the same old garbage week in and week out.

I keep hearing that Hollywood produced thousands upon thousands of movies in the past 75 or so years since they became commercially feasible. What I want to know is where they are? Are they are still being stored somewhere, and if so where and why? My point is this, if thousands were made, why do we end up with the same old hundred or so being run out to us week after week?

For example, Fort Apache, with William Holden. I saw this at the picture show when I was a kid back in 1953 and here it pops up again nearly every week. It wasn't that good when it first came out and it hasn't gotten any better in the past 53 years or so. I can't ever figure out how the female leads in these old westerns kept looking clean and pressed with a new dress every day or so. Same goes for Holden. You see these cowboys riding their horses with nothing but a small bedroll rolled up on the backs of the saddle. Yet, every night they manage to come up with a full set of pots and pans, a coffee pot, rain coat and several changes of clothes...yet the saddlebags are never full and the bedroll is about the size of a rolled up newspaper. You think they sent stuff ahead or something?

The Long Hot Summer…are you as tired of this as I am? I can take Paul Newman today, but let's face it, seeing this time and again isn't any fun. If you haven't seen it by now, then as far as I'm concerned it's too late. Forget it.

Same goes for "Gone with the Wind". Heaven help us, but how many times do we have to see this saga before they retire it to the movie bone yard. After a while, some films should just be phased out and if you want to see it, then rent it, but do us a favor and stop putting it up on the schedule.

And repeats aren't just limited to old movies, no sir. You take something called…"Clueless". It shows up once or twice a week. "The Mummy" version of 1999, comes around about every three weeks or so. I'm sick of that one as well.

"The Rock", one of my all time favorites until about the twenty fifth time. Can it. I'm fed up with Sean Connery.

"Sling Blade" was a great movie for Billy Bob Thornton, but how many times do you have to see if before you understand it. Same thing goes for "Forrest Gump". Give it up Forrest..Go home.

The problem seems to be that the folks who own the channels don't seem to realize or care what we think or might want to see in the way of entertainment. The other night they had a new version of the "Ten Commandments" on. I wanted to see it since I have memorized the Charlton Heston one we've seen at Easter for the past 60 years. Anyway, here comes this great show but what did we get? Five to ten minutes at best of the show and then seven minutes of commercials. I finally gave up and went back to reading a book. I refuse to sit through ten or fifteen commercials trying to sell me some medication or adult diapers, it insults me no end.

I like the BBC and PBS since they seem to have some original programming on, but there's a limit to that as well. A lot of the English shows are hard to understand (duh) and by the time I get my ear tuned to their accents then the show is over. At least it was entertaining.

Whoever coined the phase describing television as a 'vast wasteland' was indeed a prophet.

I'm going back to reading books….they've been around longer and probably will outlast that thing in my living room.

© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

Letters From North America - April 21, 2006column
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