My younger daughter won’t go to movies with me anymore. Why? Because she can’t be assured I’ll behave. Now, it’s never the usual scenario to have the daughter warn Mom to “Shhhhhh!” but that’s been the situation whenever we’ve gone to movies.
Oh, I plead my case, saying: “It’s not my fault” (said like a teen-ager). I explain that I get so into the action that I feel like I’m bursting out of my own skin.
Take, for instance, the Indiana Jones’ movie, The Temple of Doom, when Indy and his co-star crunch their way through a darkened cave. When someone finally lights a match, inside the cave, they realize (to their horror) they’re walking on the backs of a million locusts.
At that point, in the movie, I recall raising my feet to the top of the seat in front of me, planting my shoes, firmly, on the back of that man’s chair, bearing down and twisting, in efforts to escape the writhing creatures on the floor. The man turned around and shot a sideways glance at me, registering his disapproval. My daughter was mortified.
I experienced similar reactions in any Rocky picture (and we know there were many) when I’d jump up and down in my seat, dodging and weaving, just about pummeling the person next to me, yelling, “Get up! C’mon!” “You can do it.” I’d forget, momentarily, that the action was cinematic fiction.
In retrospect, I don’t think my behavior bad. In an earlier era, in Italy, professional mourners were hired to wail at wakes and were famous for their talent. In the 50’s and 60’s, canned laughter was consistently heard following a supposedly comical line uttered by an actor. Reruns of Lucille Ball and Ozzie and Harriet readily demonstrate that. Why did studios hire folks to laugh? They realized laughter (like sorrow) is contagious.
So, Biddy is in good company if she’s a tad energetic in movies; it means producers hit their mark and made it real. She thinks Hollywood should hire her as “First Responder,” a true barometer of what they can expect from that loosely-defined “general public.”
And she believes her daughter should just let Mom be, realizing: She could have it a lot worse.
Biddy could be lead howler at a wake in Venice.