Living next to my dad has had its perks, such as someone to talk to for advice, watching the Ravens game every Sunday, etc. After the football game, my dad suggested watching the old-time classic movie, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Especially since Halloween is right around the corner, it was the perfect movie to watch. Except, what about my son? Would he actually enjoy this colorless 1948 movie? Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were movie icons back in that time period. Everyone loved Lou Costello, he was always funny with his quick-witted remarks and replies, as Bud Abbott played the straight man trying to resolve everything.
Growing up, I remember watching all of the classic shows and movies, such as Abbott and Costello, The Bowery Boys, Red Skelton, The 3 Stooges, Johnny Carson, Laurel and Hardy, The Honeymooners and so much more. They were a part of my childhood as they were for my father as well. Being close to my dad when I was little, I wanted to watch what he watched, listen to the music he listened to and even eat the same foods. I loved those old shows. So, how would my son feel about them?
Movies and TV shows now are so colorful, vibrant, fast and more mature now. Black and white comedies are slapstick, simple, slow-paced and witty. They’re very different from the modern shows and movies. I couldn’t see how it may appeal to my son’s constant exposure to color and swift comedy. However, he agreed to watch it with us.
In fact, he watched the whole thing quietly and focused. After he wrapped up in the blanket he stole off of me, he became very still. His eyes were glued to the tv as the movie unfolded. The movie started out with Abbott playing Chick and Costello playing Wilbur. They receive a phone call from a man named Mr. Talbot, who turns into a werewolf, trying to stop them from making a delivery. The delivery is supposed to be Count Dracula and Frankenstein. It turns into an adventure as Wilbur tries to convince Chick about the sightings of these monsters. Then, they get caught in the middle as they wound up in Count Dracula’s castle. In disguise, Dracula comes downstairs to greet Chick and Wilbur in a robe. “Is that Count Dracula?”, my son asked. He was very interested in the story, especially seeing the real Dracula and Frankenstein. Often, I would glance over to see if he noticed my stares or to even witness a flinch from the movie, but nothing. He just remained still as he watched Wilbur dodging the monsters and getting his brain transplanted into Frankenstein’s head! Chick finds out that Wilbur wasn’t a quack after all as he tries to help with their escape. The movie ends with the werewolf defeating Dracula and the burning of Frankenstein.
After the movie, my son stretched wide and then smiled. My dad asked him if he liked the movie, “Yeah, I did. We should watch it every Halloween”. That made me smile, my childhood was being passed down to him. It would be a new, yet old tradition! Basically, I get to re-live my childhood curiously through him. So, I asked him what was his favorite part of the movie, he replied, “Wilbur, because he was funny”. Wilbur was played by Lou Costello, which of course was the most entertaining character. I’m glad he loved it because it was a big part of my life when I was young. I often wonder if these movies will become completely obsolete. Will our new generation discontinue them in the future? Or will they continue to live on as they have done so far? Either way, my son will remember the greatness of the old movies with no color. He will remember its humor and simplicity. It will become a part of his childhood as well. He will recall a piece of history as he watched a movie in black and white from the 40’s. It makes me feel very satisfied as a parent to have shared that with him, as I hope to continue to find things to defer from the insane demands of modern technology when life was better when simple.