1939 was an auspicious year. History would record it as the year that would see the beginning of World War II. Movie wise, 1939 produced two of the greatest and most iconic movies of all time: Gone With The Wind and The Wizard Of Oz.
Based on the book of the same name by Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind takes place in the in the Civil War era south. Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) is a spoiled, selfish, self-absorbed Southern Belle with plenty of men swarming around her skirts, all hoping that she will say yes to them. The man she really wants is Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), but he is engaged to her soft-spoken cousin, Melanie Hamilton (Olivia De Havilland). She is warned to place her affections elsewhere, but Scarlett will have no man, but Ashley. Then the war breaks out and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) enters her life. That is only the beginning of not only one of most beloved and admired movies of all time.
Another movie classic based on a beloved book is The Wizard Of Oz. Dorothy (Judy Garland) is a young lady living with her aunt and uncle in Kansas. She wonder if there is life beyond the farm she calls home. Then a tornado drops Dorothy in a mysterious land called Oz. With the help of the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) and the Tin Man (Jack Haley), Dorothy seeks the Wizard (Frank Morgan) to help her get home.
Ask any movie fan and they will tell you that these movies are still as beloved as they were during their initial run in theaters. While Scarlett is infuriating and there are certain terms that are considered not politically correct, there something about this movie that still bring audiences in. The Wizard Of Oz is considered to be a classic not just because of the cast, but because of the themes of life, growing up, having courage and confidence.
Tony Micelli (Tony Danza) is a single father whose previous professional title was that of a baseball player. Needing an income and home for his daughter Samantha (Alyssa Milano), Tony moves from Brooklyn to the suburbs of Connecticut, accepting the position of housekeeper/nanny for business executive Angela Bower (Judith Light). Angela is also a single parent to her son Jonathan (Danny Pintauro). Frequently dropping by is Angela’s feisty, smart mouthed and redheaded mother, Mona (Katherine Helmond) and the audience sees the changing world reflected on their television screen.
In terms of the writing and the era that the show aired, Who’s The Boss was the perfect combination of a traditional sitcom meeting what was then the modern era. Tony and Angela’s switches roles reflected not only the 1980’s, but the changing landscape of America.
Cartoons are often thought of as only children’s television.
What seems as mere children’s entertainment can be so much more. It can be one of many building blocks toward the child’s future.
In the early 1990’s Nickelodeon introduced audiences to several new cartoons, two of which I will highlighting with this post.
Airing from between 1991 and 1994, Doug, is the story of 11-year-old Doug Funny, a young man who moves from Bluffington to Bloatsburg. Becoming best friends with Skeeter Valentine and falling in love (as much as an 11-year-old boy can) with Patti Mayonnaise, Doug goes through the same trials and tribulations that anyone at that age goes through.
A year earlier, the characters in Rugrats were introduced to audiences. Premiering in 1990 and airing its last episode in 2006, Rugrats was told from the point of view of four babies. Tommy Pickles, Chuckie Finster, Phil and Lil Devine go on adventures as only a baby can. Add in Tommy’s sometimes bullying older toddler cousin Angelica and you have a hit children’s television series that had an impact on an entire generation.
When you’re a kid, watching television, you have no idea the impact that these shows can have. But looking back, the now much older audience may realize that even with the all of the years that have passed, these shows and the characters within the shows have stayed with them.