Five years ago, I did not use screen captures. I have since become addicted to them. I find them helpful in illustrating a particular scene, or showing atmosphere. After all, the topic at hand is a visual art. All my purple prose isn’t going to stand up to one glint in James Cagney’s eye, or the shadow of the villain on the wall.
Five years ago, my posts were short, barely 300 words. I had read some “rules” of blogging on other established blogs at the time to the effect that short posts were best and readers would never read a long post. I have since written posts of several thousand words. (Insert evil laugh here.)
I have read that a blog post should not take much time to write, that an hour was too much time to compose a post. I have since spent several hours writing posts, and several months in preparation of topics.
Once upon a time I used to work as an assistant editor of a monthly magazine, and I have never gotten the “let’s go to press” feeling out of my blood. My blog is like a magazine to me and I am the sole staff. I write the articles, I select the pics, and do the paste up and layout. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we used rubber cement, and the layout was done by hand, draping strips of typeset on the card stock “boards”, and shooting halftones in the darkroom. I loved it. The blue pencil that would not photograph edit marks, and the X-acto knife that shaved off the messy bits like a surgeon’s scalpel performing delicate cosmetic surgery.
When I hit the icon to publish the blog post, to me it is putting the magazine “to bed” and sending it “to press”.
One of my favorite lines in “Funny Face” (1957) is when Kay Thompson says, “A magazine must be like a human being. If it comes into the home, it must contribute. It can’t just lie around.”
I hope this blog, this virtual magazine, has contributed in some way to your enjoyment of classic film.
This is the fifth anniversary of Another Old Movie Blog, and as mentioned last week, I am offering my new eBook, a collection of essays selected from the blog for FREE for the next four days.
“Classic Films and the American Conscience” is available exclusively through Amazon for at least the near future, and then may be offered at other online shops at some point.
It is a long book, well over 300,000 words (no kidding, they mumble and all roll their eyes to the ceiling). Some short essays, some long ones, but enough words, I hope, to show that blogging need not be necessarily a lightweight endeavor, or even impermanent, simply because it is virtual. Nor is blogging “dead” just because Facebook and Twitter require very little work, and make it far easier to connect to a network of strangers.
I have dedicated the book to my fellow classic film bloggers. Most of us are strangers, but together we share a unique bond, and come from all walks of life. This year a silent black and white film has won the industry’s highest award, and we are smug. Rightly so, for the rest of the time we seem to be regarded as a nostalgia-crazed fringe group, somehow naïve G-rating worshipers, clustered around TCM like wanderers in the wilderness around a campfire.
I can remember some 30 years ago when classic films were regularly shown on broadcast television, and not just on the late, late show. I did not think of them as old movies, just as movies. They were still very old, but they did not seem as if they were from a different world, if only because they were so easily accessible in my world. TV gave me them to me, for free, on Saturday afternoon when I was 12, on Friday night when I was 15, just after school on weekdays, or right after the news. At any time, Humphrey Bogart or Shirley Temple might be in the living room. No big deal.
A person growing up in the 1960s and 1970s had a greater chance to become a fan of classic films because they were always on some channel when you flicked the dial. Enough so that a kid in the end of year variety show at my high school could do impersonations of Katharine Hepburn as her act, and everybody knew who she was imitating.
I can’t imagine a high school kid getting a laugh today in their school show with the old “The calla lilies are in bloom again” line. Sound of crickets chirping in the school auditorium.
There were only four stations, not much else to distract you. And many actors from Hollywood's heyday got work on TV comedies and dramas as guests, or even starred in their own shows. You learned the players, just by absorption.
The 1970s also saw a burst of the first nostalgia craze, and that drew a lot of attention to old movies. This might find its way into a future blog post.
When "Gone with the Wind" was first shown prime time on broadcast television in 1976, the world seemed to stop.
Today, I think it is harder for younger people to become accidentally introduced to old movies. There are hundreds of channels now, and infomercials are more profitable fillers. One has to purposely tune in to TCM (if their cable network offers it), or hunt for titles on Netflix, or be introduced to classic films by someone they know with a large collection.
TCM provides a treasure trove, and the opportunity for those of us who love them to see films we’d never known about; but newbies have to find the way there first. We veterans know what we’re looking for, and many resources to find it.
I wonder how many are finding their way to old movie fandom through blogs? If they are, I hope one of them is this blog.
Hop over to Amazon here to download your FREE copy of “Classic Films and the American Conscience.”
And thank you, most sincerely, for the pleasure of your company for the last five years.
Now, let's go to press.