Sunday, September 24, 2006

Movie Picking....

I saw a post that the Leonard Maltin 2007 Movie Guide was released while cruising on Downloadsquad.


Since when did DownloadSquad post book release notices?

Oh. I get it. It's made for download to your Smartphone, PocketPC and Palm OS platforms. A mobile movie-guide while you are in the video store. OK. Maybe cool.

That got me nostalgic.

Back in the heady days of a brand new service called "analog cable-TV", my family was an early adopter. The thirty or so channels this initial service offered opened up for us was overwhelming to us! How could you choose which movie was worth watching with all those choices? We weren't a "TV Guide" buying family and the local paper's TV grid wasn't too useful either.

How indeed...?

We eventually found a big paperback movie-guide book (about two VHS tapes thick) at the bookstore. It had very brief summaries of almost every (non-foreign) movie released to date, along with a handy "star" rating system. We would look at the daily paper tv grid, then we would check out the summaries and stars to figure which was the best bet for the night's viewing.

Man, we were sophisticated back then.

Today, with the hundreds of movies available on cable/dish networks (not to mention pay-per-view or the Internet) it is almost no big deal in informatively picking out a movie to watch. Summary listings of the movies are almost a standard feature on the dish services and even analog cable has a TV-Guide grid channel that provides details on movies.

Add to that the Google, Yahoo TV grids, MeeVee or even the local's tv grid and selecting a quality movie is nothing but easy. The hard part is agreeing on the pick with your spouse or child. Do some added research on the IMDB if you remain curious. And MeeVee allows you to pick keywords and genre types to be notified for, so you don't even have to scan the grids if you don't want to! Or, bookmark your favorite cable channel home pages and just follow their own guides.

How times have changed....and that's not even discussing selecting from the number of DVD's and VHS tapes we own.

And what happened to the aerial broadcast antenna we had on the side of our two-story house once we got cable? Well it remained in place as "backup" if the cable ever went out. Otherwise, my bother and I would climb onto the roof and slide down it "fireman style" on slow summer days (when Mom was too busy to keep up with what we were doing).

I miss those days. Alvis just couldn't relate to that memory.

"Explain to me again, how you slid down the cable on the side of your house again, Dad?"

"It was a pole."

"The cable was on a pole?"

"No, the cable was on a wire into the side of the house like ours now. We had a pole that had an antenna as well."

(Alvis looks puzzled.)

"You know, Alvis, an antenna. With all these metal rods sticking out and everything. Up in the air higher than our 2-story house."

"An antenna for the TV? With metal rods? Mom, did you have one of those antenna things growing up?"

"Yes we did, dear."

"Oh Alvis, we also had to turn it every so often to get a better signal. Gran would watch the TV from inside the house and then we would spin the pole it was on while he yelled at us though the open living-room window or use our walkie-talkies."

"You had a strange childhood, Dad."

" have no idea, Alvis."


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