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2004:  Going Up in Smoke 


 

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SO WHAT MADE THE CUT?

12 March 2005

They're gone.  All gone!   Over the past few days, I have managed to pack up all the videotapes, not only here downstairs, but also upstairs as well, where there was a very long shelf full of tapes that I almost forgot about.

This is what the family room looked like this morning:

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I was also out of boxes and bags and any other container to put more videotapes in. 

I contacted the two people who had called about taking them.  The boxes over on the left went to a lovely retired Chinese professor, who says until he retired, he had no time to watch movies.  Now he will have movies to watch and he hopes that it will improve his English.  I pointed out that he now probably had enough movies to last him until the end of his life.

A woman from Sacramento took the rest.  That would be all the bags in the center, and all the boxes and bags on the right--you can't see how many there are, but it filled her car.  She was absolutely thrilled and, since she works for a winery in Lodi and carrying things is what she does all day long, she managed to haul the whole lot out to her car in nothing flat.  She will come back at some later date when I've managed to get all the 78s down from upstairs--but for now, I've done my bit with the videotapes.

This is what the family room looked like after the two people had picked up their treasures:

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All of the cupboards--the white one on the left, the brown one in the center, and the brown one on the right had been filled with tapes.   They were 2-deep in the brown ones and 3-deep in the white one.   There was also a table out in the entry hall that now has no videos on it, and about half of a long shelf up in the bedroom is empty and ready for dusting.

I ended up keeping more than I anticipated (is anybody surprised?), but as I started going through them, there were just some that I couldn't bear to part with, mostly things that it is unlikely I'll be able to find on DVD anywhere.  Some of the tapes that made the cut include:

The Two RonniesThe Two Ronnies (Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett) were popular television personalities in England during the 1970s and 80s.  Gilbert was the one who "introduced" them to me.  You could find their shows on PBS here from time to time and I managed to record several of them.  They had wonderful dry humor that we just loved (and they had great song parodies!).  I know those aren't available on DVD anywhere (I checked).

I also saved a marvelous movie called A Private Function with Maggie Smith and Michale Palin.  Netflix has this movie, so I guess it's out on DVD, but I kept the video.  Maybe I was just in a hilarous mood when I saw it, but I don't think I've ever laughed as hard at a movie.  It takes place during World War II and is the simple story of people in a small town in England raising a pig to eat.  If you have never heard of it, do yourself a favor and rent it. 

I knew Walt would never forgive me if I gave away The Titfield Thunderbolt, and I'm sure neither of my takers would appreciate it the way he does.  This is another British comedy about a battle to save a small railroad line.  Another hilarious movie.

I may never watch it again, but I found I couldn't part with a horribly schlocky movie with Loretta Young called Paula.  The Internet Movie Database gives this description of the movie:  Paula is a rather flighty, self-centered woman. Driving at night, she injures a child in a hit and run accident. Later, overcome with remorse, she contrives to take the child in and pretends to be his legal guardian. She finds meaning and purpose in her life for the first time as she engages the little boy in intensive therapy necessary to recover his ability to speak. Will she be caught and punished for her misdeeds? When the boy is able to speak, will he implicate her? Tommy Rettig, who would later go on to play Timmy in Lassie, but who was quite young at this time, plays the boy.  It's all very predictable and a several-hankie tear jerker.  Or at least it was in 1952, when I first saw it.

And how could I give away The Seventh Veil, the movie that made me fall in love with James Mason, who plays the cold, hard uncle to Ann Todd, a talented pianist?  I was taking piano lessons at the time I first saw this movie and there was a Bach Sonata that I played that always reminds me of this movie.

All the Disney movies stay.  I bought them years ago, thinking I'd have a nice stock for "my grandchildren."  Don't have any grandchildren, but I still might sneak a peek at Dumbo or Bambi from time to time.  (And let's be honest--I really bought them for myself in the first place.)

The Alec Guinness movies stayed--The Fearless Ladykillers, The Lavender Hill Mob and Kind Hearts and Coronets, as did all of the tapes of Star Trek (the original series and some of The Next Generation) and all of the other "series" that I recorded (I'll Fly Away, Northern Exposure, Brooklyn Bridge, Nothing Sacred, Picket Fences, and a couple of others).  I also kept most of the pre-recorded movies, the ones I actually bought rather than recorded.

There are several videotapes which contain snippets of "home movies" recorded along with the regular movies, including the goodbye from our Chilean son, Juan Ignacio (now a proctologist in Chile); Paul's stint as the "man on the street" for the Davis Easter Parade in 1985; and a brief appearance by my father on a local PBS special called My Mother Married Wilbur Stump.

I suppose I still have more videotapes than the average person, but the volume has been significantly reduced.  Now we have a fighting chance of actually watching most of these tapes at some point before we die!

Today I made a new batch of labels for those that "made the cut."  If you're curious, you can find them here (each row is one label).


Things you can't live without:  Ever eat out?  Then you must check The Stained Apron, "Dedicated to the venting of food servers' frustrations and a harsh education of the dining public!" and read some of the stories.   "Horseradish Man" is wonderful.


Mood
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PHOTO OF THE DAY

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Photo rescue...Peggy did a great job of turning a not wonderful
photo into something that's really quite special

 

 
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