Lyrical Laughs

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Ten minutes ago, we weren't digitally enhanced

Back in February, before it hit 45 degrees (and then 65, and then 45 again), our youngest and her best friend (aka Second Born and BFF) went with a few others to see the Rogers & Hammerstein play “Cinderella” in Portland. Our daughters had been smitten with the music from this production ever since the television remake in 1997 with pop singer Brandy in the lead role. My initial love of the story stemmed from a version that most of you will not know. Back in the mid 60s a young actress by the name of Leslie Anne Warren played the gentle yet spirited girl who dreamed of someday going further than her own little corner in her own little chair. Am I sparking any memories?

Before Second Born left for the play, I looked up a few videos on YouTube from Cinderella circa 1965 just to set the musical mood. Spouse happened to wander in while we were chiming in on “Impossible” when he noticed something I hadn’t really paid attention to. The video was in color, which was odd to us because we remembered it as being in black and white when it first aired. Of course, neither of us had color televisions at that time. Hard to believe that we actually survived and became responsible adults when we weren’t exposed to color television until we were at least ten years old. Believe it or not, kids, we watched I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show in black and white, and we didn’t grow up believing there was no color in Hollywood.

On their way home from the performance, Second Born and BFF stopped at a book store – my child’s personal weakness – where she couldn’t help but purchase the DVD of Cinderella from 20 years ago. Do you know what happened in the last 20 years? Anything and everything that could possibly make me feel old. Televisions are bigger, pictures are sharper, and special effects are a whole lot more special.

The two 20-something-year-olds watching the movie began their commentary by pointing out that the recording looked more like a copy of a VCR cassette. Remember video cassette recorders? We still have one, along with two drawers of VCR cassettes, even though the VCR isn’t hooked up to the television. It does hold a couple of extra remotes, however… sort of our version of a treadmill with laundry hanging all over it.

The viewing went downhill from there. The vision of Brandy as the poor, soot-faced waif suddenly spinning around in princess garb was definitely not a smooth transition. I’ve barely begun to understand what CGI means (computer generated image – I had to look it up) and this movie was anything but technologically up-to-date. Images that were deemed “special effects” appeared and disappeared in what is now antiquated fashion, causing the girls to burst out laughing and roll their eyes. I came close to saying, “I don’t think it’s that bad,” further reinforcing my lack of awareness and the fact that I’m over the hill, through the forest, and heading toward the state line.

On Super Bowl Sunday (which goes to show you how long ago I planned on posting this), our eyes were glued to the television for the commercials just as much as the game. There were plenty of special effects going on, which is to be expected, considering these advertisers paid over five million bucks for a 30-second spot.  The ads that caught my attention tended to be on the emotional side - or they featured Chris Pratt or Chris Hemsworth, which is just as good as an emotional message. I’m all about a good cry as well as a good Chris.

It doesn’t do much good to fight progress when it comes to entertainment. Imagine what our future grandchildren will be using twenty years from now. Maybe then our own kids will be embarrassed to admit they still have a DVD player - buried under laundry right next to the treadmill.