It’s hard to go back and dig the movies you loved in childhood as much after becoming an adult, but I’d say Meet Me in St. Louis stands the test of time. This favorite of old has a real evergreen quality, with charming, tuneful songs, able performances and vibrant direction.
So why haven’t I seen it that often?
It’s not always on TV; there’s one reason. And the fact is, I chanced upon it last night on the telly. For some reason, I don’t seek it out like I do other movies. I guess that’s too bad. It’s really worth looking for.
Of course, it’s Judy Garland’s movie, and she’s terrific in it. The film basically glows, and it’s mostly because of her; she sings the marvelous tunes with such feeling that you’re likely to join her in regaling your loved ones with the catchy melodies. I did, despite the fact that my pipes are nowhere near what Garland’s were.
That didn’t stop me, however.
Meet Me in St. Louis is one of those pictures that has aged as gracefully as a fine wine, and it’s one of the few flicks that remains as good now as it did when I was a kid. I’m happy about that; it makes revisiting my childhood all the more special while allowing me to retain a grown-up’s perspective. You don’t get that chance too often. You’ve got to enjoy it while it lasts.
I’m doing that right now.
Last night, I watched something I hadn’t seen in more than 30 years.
It was an imaginative animated short that appeared on Sesame Street when I was a kid, so you know it was long ago. In it, a young woman lying on her bed imagines the crack on her wall to be various friendly animals: a camel, a hen and a monkey. She travels with them through the wall and finds what is hoped to be a new pal but turns out to be the “Crack Master,” a horrible, frowning face made of cracks. This “Crack Master” then is “destroyed” as the plaster that makes up his visage falls to the ground because he is “mean.”
Whoa, right? What a trip.
Actually, this short frightened me practically to death as a young child; I remember running out of the room when it was on so I didn’t have to see it. There was something about the face of the “Crack Master” that bothered me, as well as the idea of cracks coming to life. But in watching it last night, I did something I’ve been unable to do for decades: Conquer my fear. The scares of childhood weren’t, thankfully, there. Just the remnants of memories.
This clip has some notoriety; apparently I wasn’t the only kid to be horrified by it years ago. It remains a very creative piece: stark but well-realized, despite the eerie subject matter. You can decide for yourself whether all my fears were warranted by watching it here: