Musings From the Bench 2/9 Edition

musings from the bench-2When I was a kid going to the movie theater was a real treat. The theaters were in the downtown district and there were about 3 of them.  The Capitol, Paramount, and Loew’s-Poli. Each theater showed just one movie along with a cartoon, or you could get a double-feature depending on the day you went. You bought your ticket at the kiosk out front, walked to the main entrance door and handed your ticket over to the uniformed guy who tore the ticket in half and gave you your proof of purchase. All 3 had wall-to-wall carpeting at a time when it was unheard of in private residences and all the lobbies were lit by hanging chandeliers.

The minute you walked in the door you were hit with the aroma of hot buttered popcorn and steamed hot dogs. The standard movie-going fare of milk duds and jujubes was there, too.

So in January of 1959, having been 9-years old for one month,Sleeping_beauty_disney Mom and I took the bus downtown to see the Disney animated movie “Sleeping Beauty”. I can’t say I remember everything from that one viewing other than to say I liked the movie so much that Mom bought me a souvenir of it in the lobby on the way out. A kid-sized necklace or bracelet that I could wear to school. That kind of thing is now given away with kids meals at a fastfood restaurant, but back then it was special.

Fast forward to last week and I’m watching the movie “Maleficent” on a DVD from Netflix. I remember back in ’59 thinking she was a witch but according to her movie, she was really a fairy. A very powerful fairy, but a fairy nonetheless. Having seen her back story I must say I feel she was justified in placing that curse on Baby Aurora as a way of getting back at Aurora’s father for his betrayal.   But like what happens with a lot of females, no sooner are the words out of the mouth when regret moves in.

In “Sleeping Beauty” Maleficent has her minions searching for the place where Aurora’s been taken to live until she gets beyond the 16 years of age in the curse and can come home. They report that they spent 16 years looking for a baby with no luck at all. If that’s not a facepalm moment, i don’t know what is. In “Maleficent” she keeps her eye on Aurora herself with Aurora spotting her from time to time and believing she’s her Fairy Godmother.

Now that the two of them are out in the open and developing a friendship, the time has come for the curse to get real. Aurora finds the one spinning wheel in her father’s entire castle, pricks her finger on the spindle and falls into a coma-like sleep. Maleficent does everything she can think of to reverse the curse but that pesky phrase “no power on Earth can change it” kind of puts the kibosh on a reversal. So, it’s off to find Phillip, the boy she’s seen with Aurora and hope he wakes the sleeping beauty with True Love’s First Kiss.

Watching Aurora and Phillip from outside the chamber Maleficent sees that Phillip’s kiss has done nothing and waits for him to leave so she can stand over Aurora and tell her “I will not ask your forgiveness because what I have done to you is unforgivable. I was so lost in hatred and revenge. Sweet Aurora, you stole what was left of my heart. And now I have lost you forever. I swear, no harm will come to you as long as I live. And not a day shall pass that I don’t miss your smile.” It’s at this point that Maleficent kisses Aurora on the forehead and Aurora wakes up.

To think all this pain and anguish began because an old King wanted to expand his kingdom by taking the land of another kingdom by force or any means necessary. Well, the two kingdoms are now combined but not in the way Aurora’s grandfather wanted.

All in all a good movie to be enjoyed with hot buttered popcorn, a steamed hog dog, milk duds and jujubes.maleficent

Thanks for reading Musings From the Bench 2/9 Edition. Until next time.

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About Jane Gray 58 Articles
Born in the '50s, grew up in the '60s, got married in the '70s. Gave birth in the '80s and started collecting social security in 2013. My time is my own and I don't mind sharing my opinions on everything with everybody. I hate injustice, the truth is easier to remember than a lie. I like the New England Patriots, the Boston Celtics, the New York Mets, and that English futbol team from Liverpool.


  1. Hi Jane,

    I, too, remember Saturday afternoons at the local movie theaters, only in my case it was during WW II. We usually saw several hours of two or three serials (Flash Gordon was frequent), four or five cartoons from Disney, Warner, and a few independents, then two “children’s features,” frequently a Roy Rodgers or Gene Autry western. (Did you know of all the fictional cowboys of film — Rogers, Autry, Cassidy, Lone Ranger, etc. — that Autry was the only one who was a cowboy in real life before his film career?)

    The idea of creating “backstories” for popular characters interests me — in films as well as in other forms of literature. I am a little hesitant to read Harper Lee’s new book when it comes out since I have such a love for “To Catch a Mockingbird.” I mean no disrespect to “The Great Gatsby,” or “Gone with the Wind,” or Hemingway or Faulkner when I say “Mockingbird” and Harper Lee is my candidate for the best 20th century American novel and author.

    Also the effort to create a second story following a first (whether sequel, prequel, or whatever) is fraught with peril. For every “Through the Looking Glass,” there are endless lesser second stories of a sequence. I’m glad that “Maleficent” was worth it for you.

  2. My Mom was a big Gene Autry fan…’the singing cowboy’ while I was more a fan of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
    Back in the ’50s some high schoolers used to insult others with this poem:

    What a shape
    What a figure
    Two more legs
    And you’d look like Trigger. (Roy’s horse)

    When Mom learned Autry owned an MLB team she became a fan of the team. She was also the only Mom I know who cried real tears when Gene Autry died.

    While I agree some back stories aren’t worth the bother….neither are some that pick up where the original left off…Gone With the Wind for example. Much better ending than having Scarlett sail off to Ireland to regroup.

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  3. I agree that Roy Rogers was a little more flashy than Gene, especially when he betrayed us by marrying Dale Evans. Roy was the first to move his films to color. Hopalong Cassidy was a print fiction cowboy who didn’t really fit the model of “good guy” and so never really made it on film. And even unto today, the Lone Ranger survives best on radio!

    Even though it was Burl Ives who first recorded “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” my memories are of hearing the song sung by Gene Autry. But those days are gone forever and it is now time to burlesque those bygone “good guy” shootemups. Incidently, Autry wrote his theme song, “I’m Back in the Saddle, Again” and Rogers helped to write his (and Evans) theme song, “Happy Trails to You.”

    Three films stand out in my mind as comments on the WW II “westerns.” There is “Back to the Future, Part III,” “Blazing Saddles,” (a Mel Brook’s film) and “Rustler’s Rhapsody.” Modern humor each and controversial each, especially “Blazing Saddles.” (He rode a blazing saddle / He wore a silver star / . . . sung by Frankie Laine.)

    And now for a bit of trivia. Roy Rogers horse was, as you noted, Trigger. What was the name of his dog. The name of Gene Autry’s horse? The name of the Lone Ranger’s horse? The name of Tonto’s horse? And a bonus quesrtion: What cowboy crimefighter was related to a (fictional) modern crimefighter and what was their kinship?

  4. 1) Dog = Bullet
    2) GA’s horse = Champion
    3) LR’s horse = Silver
    4) Tonto’s horse = Scout
    5) I’m gonna guess the cowboy was the Lone Ranger and I don’t know the connection

  5. Hey Joe, I’ll give you a 4.5 out of 5. Not bad at all. Nitpicking, the Lone Ranger’s first horse was named Dusty, which he rode until he tamed Silver. Dan Reid, a Texas Ranger, recruited his brother John Reid into the Rangers and they rode together in the same posse trying to catch the Cavendish gang, where they were ambushed. John Reid was the only survivor. Dan Reid’s son, Dan Jr., was raised by his mother but occasionally became involved in one of his uncle’s adventures.

    Dan Reid, Jr. eventually grew up, married, and became the father of Britt Reid. Britt quickly became a newspaper editor and in his copious spare time fought big city crime and corruption as the Green Hornet. So the Lone Ranger is the great-uncle of the Green Hornet. Aren’t you glad now that you answered the trivia question?

  6. Wow, you guys really take this stuff seriously, don’t you.

    As Joe says, Roy’s dog was named Bullet. As for the rest, I didn’t know. However, wasn’t Roy Rogers/Dale Evans jeep given a name?

  7. Whoa! I doln’t recall any jeep for Roy. That must have come after I grew up.

    But a quick search revealed his jeep. It was the earliest model (Willys or AMC), painted gray 🙂 , and named in black paint “NELLYBELLE.”

    I wonder though if in spite of not remembering the jeep and its name, I got the idea of naming my own cars: “Chief Wawatam”, “Sainte Marie”, and currently “Ariel”.

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