Friday, September 30, 2011

The witching season

Fall is here, and tomorrow the first day of October. As a kid, I wasn't a big fan of the fall season. It meant that summer vacation was over and it was time to go back to school. It would feel like such a long time between the start of class and Christmas vacation. What I looked forward to most was October, because that meant Halloween. Not because of the candy -- we never really went door-to-door except for people my parents knew, and usually only to the candy giveaway at the mall (where Radio Shack would give out batteries).
What was really fun about Halloween to me was on TV -- Halloween specials like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and monster movies. It also wasn't just one night, or a week. I remember Halloween-themed shows throughout the month. Back at the time when there were only three or four networks, a few local stations and a handful of cable channels, October was a time when many stations would roll out more monster films than usual and have them on earlier than the normal late night time slots. It was a chance to see nearly-forgotten classics or new (to you) favorites.
It's great to have the near-instantaneous access to a particular film we enjoy today -- and I wouldn't want to give that up -- but there was also something very special about having to wait until a movie was shown on your local UHF station at 1 in the morning on a school night because "you might not ever see it again". Back then, it was an event, the magic of light and shadow on a flickering TV screen.

1 comment:

Victor Von Dave said...

I agree, I love my DVR, on-demand, and downloading (and these tools have given me access to tons of movies I never would have had a chance to see), but there was something definitely romantic about the having to be in front of the TV on a certain channel at a certain time in order to catch something special.
I grew up in a big family with a single TV (strange to think how unheard of that is today), so making sure you caught something took quite a bit of negotiating and cajoling.