Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Eighth Grader at the Movies

Eddie Fisher, the crooner from the fifties, died recently. It was noted by the newspapers that he met Elizabeth Taylor while married to Debbie Reynolds, dumped Debbie Reynolds in order to marry Elizabeth Taylor, and in a sad sort of fitting retribution, was dumped by Elizabeth Taylor for Richard Burton.

Eddie Fisher's death reminded me of something that happened when I was in the eight grade.

My older brother William came home to visit from college, and it wasn't three hours later that he got into a "disagreement" wih my parents. After the "disagreement," he decided he needed to get out of the house so he uncharacteristically invited me to the movies. His problem with my parents and his unusually kind treatment of me somehow over the years came in second place to what happened in the movie theater.

The film was "How the West Was Won" starring so many movie stars it would take a long time to list a fourth of them, but here are a few: Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, James Stewart, John Wayne, and Richard Widmark. This movie was a winner, a blockbuster, and very entertaining. Story after story unfolded, all of them better than the next.

Suddenly, there was Debbie Reynolds doing what she does best: dancing, singing, entertaining, driving Robert Preston crazy on the screen, and jaw-droppin' all the men in the movie theater. I remember exactly what she was wearing: a scanty, frilly, underwear thing with all of her pokey-outey stuff pulling me into submission.

Just then, William leaned over to me and said, and not in a quiet voice, "Eddie Fisher is crazy." Some would have reflected on Elizabeth Taylor and gotten into a debate over that statement, but with Debbie up there charming the hell out of me, and realizing Elizabeth never charmed me like that and never would, I replied, and not in a quiet voice, "He's nuts."

I can still see her..................Debbie, that is.

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