You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away

From the Hunt Museum: It was under this dresser, in 1981…

“What…is…this?!” my mother sputtered, and even though my back was turned toward her, I knew what she had found. The blood drained from my face as a nauseating wave of guilt, shame, and fear came crashing down upon my senses. It was the horrible feeling of knowing that one has just arrived at the very beginning of a long and unpleasant ordeal, brought upon by oneself. I was, as I recall, an obedient and honest child with few exceptions (perhaps my memory is selective), and this rare transgression was downright felonious in comparison to anything else I had done. I chastised myself for my stupidity. Emboldened by a successfully executed illicit scheme, I had flown too close to the sun with my wax wings, and now there was nothing to do but plummet helplessly to Earth.

As is the case with many a tale of innocence lost, the path that led to my downfall was a long and circuitous route. It began nearly a year earlier, and it was indirectly set in motion by my freshly developed preoccupation with the Beatles. I turned 12 in the summer of 1980, when Paul McCartney’s Coming Up was getting frequent airplay. Having recently realized that a number of tunes that I liked were penned by the lad from Liverpool, I took the plunge and bought a copy of McCartney II. A month later while on vacation, I found discounted picture discs of Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road. The music was a revelation to me, and as I gained an appreciation for the Fab Four, I began to particularly hold McCartney in high esteem. Read More

Back From The Dead

One of the things that I love about the Internet is the way that it snatches dormant media from obscurity, allowing us to experience anew that which hitherto existed in the far recesses of our minds as the merest fragments of memory. Whether it’s a long-forgotten commercial or pages from an old Christmas catalog, it seems like everything that was ever broadcast or printed is being digitized, tagged, and archived for our instant access. Can’t get a fragment of an ancient advertising jingle out of your head? Google a few words, and you’ll likely hear it in its entirety. Thinking about the colorful cover of a paperback you once owned? Someone, somewhere, has scanned it, along with the artwork for every other known edition of the title.

Thanks to that other resuscitator of bygone entertainment, Netflix, I recently followed a trail of mental breadcrumbs back to one of my earliest memories. I was watching Who’s Minding the Store, a seldom-seen (and justifiably so) Jerry Lewis vehicle from 1963. Released just five months after Lewis’s brilliant The Nutty Professor, the Frank Tashlin-directed Store is a cinematic abomination that is nevertheless worth watching for its immortal typewriter routine as well as the sheer, audacious chutzpah of its star’s performance.  What caught my attention, however, was the unique diction of supporting player John McGiver.  I knew I had seen him in other productions, yet I could not name any.

IMDb to the rescue!  Soon I was poring over McGiver’s filmography, and while searching for movies and television shows in which I was likely to have seen him, I was absolutely gobsmacked by the presence of a film I had certainly never seen. In fact, I had wondered whether or not my mind had made up this curious title I recalled being promoted when I was quite young. But there it was:  Arnold, released in November of 1973. For years I have carried around in my mind the latent trauma of being exposed to its advertising campaign, which scared the hell out of me as a sensitive and neurotic five-year-old. Read More

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