Tuesday, October 24, 2006

When Watching Children’s Movies Was a Special Treat

One day some months back my mother called me with what she thought was exciting news:

“The Wizard of Oz is going to be on (network) TV tonight! Tell the kids!”

My reply was a polite, “Thanks for letting us know.”

She asked if the kids would watch it.

My sad response was no, because we own the movie on VHS, having purchased it years ago. I explained my kids have seen it so many times.

She asked if they loved the movie as much as I did when I was a girl. She reminded me of how it used to be shown on network TV only once per year and on those nights she allowed my brother and me to stay up late to watch the whole movie.

I responded that I do remember that annual special event.

She asked if my kids reacted to the movie the same way and if they loved it.

I said they do enjoy the movie, but explained that the movie is so readily available to them that they don’t even feel very excited about watching it. I could tell she was disappointed. Then thinking about that made me feel disappointed, too.

Things are so different now, and it is not all for the better. I remember watching The Wizard of Oz once per year just like I remember the special tradition of watching holiday shows like “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. It was a special treat and it was rare and fun. Now what today is so special and rare for children? Not much, they seem to have access to so many things and to so much entertainment.

Now we can borrow movies and shows from the library for free and watch them on our VCR or DVD player any time we want. Some of the fun has been taken out of it, the special-ness and the tradition of watching ‘holiday specials’ and old traditions like the once per year showing of “The Miracle on 34th Street” and “The Wizard of Oz”.


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Reel Fanatic said...

I definitely know what you mean .. when I was a youngun, both "Wizard of Oz" and "The Sound of Music" were yearly events when they hit the tube, but now all that magic appeal seems to have disappeared

Margaret said...

I also remember the excitement of the Wizard of Oz coming on tv. I also remember the first time I saw it in color! :-) We were late in getting a color tv in our house...

You are right, movies are not such events anymore. Well, we try to keep the "feature-length movies" to times when we all sit down to watch together and make it more of an occasion. Not always, but we try...