Many of you probably had experiences with movies like mine when you were growing up. Your parents (if you were lucky enough to have at least one) would use the TV or Movies to keep you occupied (out of their hair). My Dad would give me two dollars every day for entertainment so I spent it mostly on movies. Yes, every day, and keep in mind that this was the early fifty’s when most theaters were 25 cents and the most expensive theater in town was seventy five cents. The same money would be around twenty five dollars today.


At the time most movie houses were showing double features and some had three features with two cartoons and a serial. And because of my love for movies I saw every one of them at least twice and some many times. This went on for years and of course couldn’t have been good for me. However it gave me a focused education in films and stories and perhaps a little confusion about real life.


People in movies don’t have to follow through with work and school and oh yeah, the big one, Love. The music plays and they simply are already a brave policeman or cowboy or engineer or even president. The heros in movies seem to do little or no work to be anything they want. I Expected no less for myself than rocket speed to sucess.


Somehow in my little kid brain I replaced my parents love and parts of real life with western movies and their stars. You can imagine why nice family type movies and westerns were so appealing to me with no brothers and sisters and living with my grandmother. In later years it was shocking to discover my movie heroes didn’t give a crap what I felt or know me from Adam. “Gosh Mr. Rogers, don’t you remember me? I was the kid in the fifth row back?”


“Sorry, I don’t give autographs” he said. “Huh?” I said as he walked away. Now I was a young adult when this true event happened, but still I stood there sort of in a daze until my wife came looking for me. She said, “What’s wrong with you?”

“Roy Rogers just gave me the buzz off,” I said. “He must have known it was me that threw rocks at the screen.”


“Oh, don’t be silly” she said. “He wouldn’t give me an autograph” I said. “Oh is that all, so what?” she said. “Why would that bother you so much?” she said. “I don’t know, it just does that’s all” I said. There was this little pause and she said, “For your information they live like three blocks away from us. You mean you didn’t know!” she said.


“No, I don’t keep track of where people live,” I said. “I see Dale Evans every week at the store or post office. She’s very nice” she said. “Oh great, my childhood hero lives close enough to hear trigger fart and I can’t even get an autograph?” “It’s almost like not being able to talk to your uncle or something because he’s too darn famous.”


“Listen honey,” she said, “Trigger can’t fart anymore and besides you’re taking this way too seriously.” “Yea,” I said. “So what can we do to find out why it affects me so much?” “You saw too many of those westerns I think. Didn’t you do anything else?” She said. “Sure, lots of things,” I said. “But the movies made the stuff I did more dangerous.”


She said “Now that I think about it most of the jobs you do are related in some way to movies and now you’re a screenwriter.” she said. “You seem to be obsessed with not only stars but also in the locations where they were filmed, like Lone Pine for example. We found every rock that Randolph Scott used in his westerns.”


“It feels like I’m looking for my long lost family.” I said. “She said “Remember the actress last year that was kidding you about one of your scripts? She knew you were only kidding and laughed with you about it. Why didn’t she affect you the way Roy did?” “It’s probably because she’s a new star of today’s movies,” I said, “And I didn’t grow up watching her.” “Remember what Jack Palance said to you about movies? He said you were full of crap about them that they were only movies.” “Yeah,” I said, “he said he only made films for the money and could care less and “You should do the same.”.


“OK,” she said, “I have an idea. Why don’t you write about it? You write about everything else so maybe other people have the same problem or worse they let it happen to their kids.” “That’s right,” I said, “it is happening to kids today isn’t it, only in a little different way with music lyrics and the general bad behavior of actors.”


“Yes,” she said, “only its worse now and these kids won’t get over it maybe ever.” “OK, that’s what I’ll do is give my opinion about how movies can be improved and still make the studio money.” “So you’re going to tell them to remove the violence and sex and make lame one hundred and twenty minutes of nothing? I can hear the laughing already.”


“No, of course you need these elements of real life in any story. You must have a good story and a reason for things to happen. Some movies today start out dark and evil and progress to dark and evil and end with dark and evil and that’s no way to tell a story. For a film to be successful the audience must tell friends about it. One big problem is the high cost that scares investors into making something safe.


What they need to make movies safer for investors is a new kind of testing. Why make a film unless you KNOW people will like. I can’t believe investors take such big chances with all that money. It’s possible to make good honest pictures that people will love and still make money for the studio.” “You know that not one person in Hollywood is going to pay attention to you don’t you?” she said.


“I know, but it doesn’t matter about that because Hollywood’s days are numbered anyway. They are so mixed up they can’t even make an original movie or endorse an original screenplay. Can you see them making Rocky 15?


Good actors have little to work with in Hollywood and that’s a shame. That’s why indie films are getting bigger and better every day and sooner or latter with the combination of pissed actors and increased technology a new generation of indie films will put Hollywood to shame.”

Walter Minton tells stories and creates screenplays. Visit his website at www.WalterMinton.com

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