Kid: Mom, there are lots of movies about books when you were young that are...well, they're GOOD!
Me: Yes, movies sometimes start that way, you know.
Me: As books!
I know, it's hard to imagine. And I do think I have a glisten or two of youth left in my frail bones.
Today we watched The Phantom Tollbooth, starring Butch Patrick, produced in 1969. I explained to my offspring that this was what the world was like the year I was born. Not cartoonish and containing magical tollbooths or dogs with watches growing out of their sides, but rather with telephones with cords, and avocado green floral-inspired wallpaper that will seem to suck you in to a cartoonish netherworld if you stare long enough.
After the movie, we talked about enjoying the life you have and not being bored and lazy for no reason at all. We chatted about how Milo learned to appreciate all the wonders of the world around him, and how maybe the world my kid lives in isn't so bad, either. We agreed that it was ironic that Milo, the great time-waster, ended up becoming best friends with time itself.
Then he wanted to see another movie inspired by a book from my youth, which is apparently over, gone forever, blown away as dust in the breeze.
I remembered mentioning at a previous residency for grad school this great children's book I read as a child about two kids who hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and how I found that adventurous and brave and daring when I read it, but I couldn't remember the name. At the time, the other students insisted this book was called From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I thought they were incorrect. I remembered a much shorter title. But then again, by any name, it was a good read. So I looked it up on Netflix, and I found it on Play it Now. We watched that one, too, which inspired the quote from my son above.
They were right, and I was wrong. Then I imdb'd it, and voila! It wasn't always called by that long, yet unforgettable, title. The book was, yes, so I don't know why I couldn't remember that. But the movie was originally called The Hideaways. I knew it was something different. Now I have seen the Lauren Bacall version, and I want to see the Ingrid Bergman version. I wonder if that's on Netflix Play it Now, also? I love Netflix. Have I mentioned how I love Netflix? I have Youtube to thank for the first movie, though. I hope I don't get anyone in trouble by mentioning that. What impressed me the most was that there are also available on Youtube videos of a guy reading The Phantom Tollbooth, chapter by chapter. From a book. Even though there is a movie available.
Now, if you will excuse me, I do wish to finish the book myself, even though I have already seen the (not true to the book) movie. I explained that to my son, also, and he just shrugged, and said, "They did the best they could."
I thought he was going to be an engineer or an artist when he grows up, but now I know otherwise. He will be a screenwriter, because that is where his sympathy lies.
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