Posted tagged ‘THEM!’

“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”

January 7, 2018

This morning felt almost balmy at 7˚. The wind was gone, and the sun was breaking through the clouds and bringing blue sky with it. Gracie took her time, another weather indicator, and I didn’t mind. The long term weather says a heat wave is coming starting tomorrow when it will be 39˚. By Friday, it will be 50˚. It will also be rainy but I don’t care. 50˚ trumps rain.

This is a morning of black and white science fiction. I first watched The Behemoth from 1959. The special effects gave me a chuckle especially when the Behemoth upended the ferry. Toy cars fell into the Thames. Once the Behemoth was on land, the fun began. The same car got flattened twice. In the crowd scenes, I kept an eye on an old lady wearing a white hat. I saw the same scene twice with the old lady front and center, and she appeared later in a couple of other scenes. That old lady could run. Screams took the place of action. You had to imagine what was happening. The ending was no ending. It was a radio report of thousands of dead fish on the shore of some US state: I forget which. That meant another behemoth.

Them is on now. It is one of my favorites. “No place for you or any other woman,”  was an acceptable comment in 1954. It was said to the woman scientist who insisted on going  into the giant ant hole as she had the necessary knowledge to identify the ants. She also has a wardrobe of several hats, necessities in 1954. The film has some great scenes of real ants. What I love in these movies are the street scenes, the cars and the women’s clothes. Leonard Nimoy has a bit part with a couple of lines. Fess Parker also has a small part but with far more lines. I know what’s going to happen, but I’m glad to watch anyway.

Sunday mornings have always been my favorites ever since I was young. I wasn’t big on going to church, but some Sundays I didn’t mind so much as I’d go with my dad, the usher. I had to wear a dress or a skirt because that’s what girls and women wore in the 50’s to church. My father wore a suit with a white shirt and and a tie knotted in a full Windsor. In the winter he added an overcoat and a fedora. He wore tie shoes which he polished every Saturday night. It was one of his rituals to pull out the can of polish, the rag and the brush. I remember he always spit into the can. It never seemed disgusting to me. The bristles of the old wooden brush were black from all the polish. My father always brushed the tips of his shoes first.

It’s funny what memories stick with us. I can see that shoe brush and the can of polish.  I remember my father holding a shoe with one hand inside it while he held the brush with his other hand. The brush went back and forth and back and forth vigorously. My father would stop, check the shine then shift the shoe and start to shine another part, back and forth again. When I visited, he always asked me if my shoes needed to be polished. They always did. I made sure of it. It was a connection to my father I still hold dear.

“CONTROL MYSELF?!! I’m a MONSTER! Monsters don’t control themselves! That’s the whole IDEA!”

November 14, 2015

The morning was gloomy with a whitish grey sky and a strong breeze. The sun has just appeared and the sky is clearing as I can see some blue. Pine needles continue to fall on the side of my front lawn under that big pine tree. My backyard is filled with pine and oak trees, but that’s Gracie’s area and only branches are cleared from it. I always know where she is even in the dark as I can hear the crunching sound as she walks on the bed of leaves and pine needles. It is chilly today.

I miss Creature Feature. When I was a kid, two old black and white science fiction movies were on every Saturday. I watched almost every week and got to know the creatures well. Strangely enough I never thought about how many of those creatures had no names. They were just pronouns like Them and It or indeterminate nouns like Thing, the beast or the monster. Some had addresses like The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Man from Planet X or The Devil Girl from Mars. We had the ants, spiders, giant tarantulas, robots, Mole Men, a deadly mantis and one of my favorites, The Monolith Monsters. The Fly I’ll put in another category as it was half human. Who can forget, “Help me! Help me?” Women were either creatures, dainty scientists, reporters or just fluff.

In the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, my favorite science fiction woman had a name, Nancy. She became 50 feet tall thanks to an alien. She was driving in the desert and had been drinking, a favorite pastime, when she runs into a giant alien hand. She manages to escape his grasp but no one believes her, the drunk. Later she and her husband go to the desert to find this alien, and they do. Harry, her husband, runs away ( finally a man who runs away) and she is left there. Later they find her on the roof of her pool house. She is delirious so the doctor gives her a sedative. The husband, who plans to kill her, later goes to her room and sees she has become a giant. He and the doctor decide to keep her sedated and in chains, but she wakes up and gets free (she has or the movie ends there). Meanwhile her lowlife philandering husband is at a bar with his latest girlfriend, honey. His giant wife wearing a bikini made from sheets goes looking for him. She finds him with Honey who didn’t know you never make a 50 foot woman mad. Nancy, now known as the giant, drops a beam from the roof on Honey who is killed. Harry starts shooting but his wife, the giant, just picks him up in her hand and walks away. Later our favorite giant is killed by the sheriff who blows up a power line transformer which kills poor Nancy. They find her dead husband in her hand. That’s what he gets!

“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”

November 30, 2014

Yesterday I gave the local economy quite the boost as did so many others. Some shops were filled with people. One store, a small one, had too many shoppers. You could barely move or even get close to the displays, but I still managed to find a few treasures and some unique gifts including the perfect one for my friend. I also found small ornaments to dress the wrapped packages. I do that every year. It’s a small gift, a remembrance for the tree. The book store was a wonderful stop. I got help in choosing just the right books for my 8-year-old grand-nephew and a couple for the 2-year-old. I also bought myself one. Gracie and I were out for almost three hours. She napped in the backseat between trips to the stores and watched for me whenever I parked. I napped when we got home and so did she. Today I have a few things to get: cat food, coffee filters and candle bulbs for the windows, nothing fun, just utilitarian. I’ll go before the football game.

Today is still grey, but it’s warm, in the 50’s, and will be for the next few days. I called my factotum about putting my lights up, and he hopes to be here tomorrow. Last year it was in the teens when he was doing the lights.

Birds galore at the feeders this morning. There were even a few battles for space. One bird swooped in and the poor bird already perched at the feeder took off in a bit of a fright. I have yet to fill the thistle, and I have a bag of sunflowers seeds to fill the big feeders. From my kitchen window I get to watch the birds. I sometimes stand there for a while drinking my coffee.

Yesterday my Turner Classic movies arrived. I now have 6 different 1950’s science fiction movies to watch. It will be black and white movie heaven. One of the films, Them, is actually a fine movie which always gets 3 stars. The rest I haven’t seen, and they  tend to get one or maybe 2 stars: The characters in two movies, Beyond the Time Barrier and The Time Travelers, arrive in futures decimated by plague and nuclear war. Only a handful of normal humans survive. Satellite from the Sky is another one I have never seen. It is about the outer-space detonation of the feared tritonium bomb, but it doesn’t go as planned, of course. I figure a cold night, a howling wind, popcorn and maybe malted milks balls will make for a perfect evening to view those old science fiction B-movies I love.

” If ants are such busy workers, how come they find time to go to all the picnics?”

March 23, 2012

A damp, cloudy day has replaced our two days of summer. It is 57° which is still quite warm, but it’s no deck day. From my window, I can see pine trunks and branches dark against the light grey sky. A slight breeze flutters the dangling dead oak leaves. It’s a sweatshirt day.

Yesterday TCM was b&w 1950’s science fiction day. I watched a behemoth rise from the Thames and a glob of radioactivity melt people. The best of the films was THEM!, the giant ant movie, one of my all time favorites. I haven’t seen it in a while, but I still remembered some of the dialogue. “Make me a sergeant in charge of the booze,” is one of its memorable lines. At the beginning of the film, the regular size ants eating the sugar on the floor of the destroyed shop is a great scene and the only hint of what is to come. Pat Medford, the lady PhD, got off the plane wearing a suit, a hat and white gloves while Robert Graham aka James Arness, the FBI hero, constantly complained about the desert heat but never took off his fedora. Before the Big Dig, as you went through the South Station tunnel in Boston, you could hear, bouncing off the walls, the exact sound the ants made. I always listened for it as I drove through.

In Ghana, some of the ant hills are taller than people. They always looked like something out of a science fiction movie to me. The hills, made out of sand, are different shapes: some look like the sand castles we used to build on the beach while others resemble stalagmites which rise from the savannah like conical sand icicles. I never stopped to see the ants by the hills, but once during training an army of ants marched across the school grounds. The column was about a foot wide, but I have no idea how long it was as I had to pull myself away to go teach. I watched as long as I could. Some of the ants carried leaves while others carried food of some sort. We’d put a leaf in the middle of the column, but it never deterred the ants who’d move around it on the two sides then regroup when past it. It was fascinating.

I have a full dance card today.


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