By Jim “Pappy” Moore
It was 1954 and it was my fifth birthday. While my mother and other family members took care of birthday stuff, my dad took me to the movie theatre in Lubbock, Texas. We saw a black and white feature called “The Creature From the Black Lagoon” and a color picture starring Western film great Randolph Scott.
Life doesn’t get any better than being five years and having your dad take you to see two movies! He was only twenty-eight at the time, so he probably enjoyed it, too.
Back then, The Creature From the Black Lagoon was pretty scary. Now, it’s impossibly hokey. It’s a parody of itself, with a creature only a small child could believe. I saw it again recently on TV, and couldn’t help but chuckle at the idea I found it so scary in 1954.
The Western with Randolph Scott was forgettable. He made about one film a year, and made many, many Western films. I’m pretty sure it was about a stagecoach, and since the online resource imdb.com shows his 1954 film as Riding Shotgun, I think we have a winner. Although I cannot remember the name of the film, my only real memory of it is Randolph Scott riding a stagecoach.
After we saw the movie, we met up with my mother and she took me to store where she wanted to show me some things. She was asking me what I thought about a set of rubber stamps used with an ink pad. I liked the ones that were merely pictures of things, like animals, but did not care for the ones that were simply numbers and letters.
Guess which ones my mother got me for my birthday? Always pushing education, my mom got me the letters and numbers. I was miffed, but grudgingly started using them. My mother wanted me ready for the first grade in 1955, so this was her version of kindergarten before kids went to kindergarten.
I used those stamps for years, and then later, so did my sisters.
We left Lubbock after my birthday and headed to our little home in a small town twenty miles west of Lubbock. It was a good birthday, at least until bedtime. I can remember worrying about The Creature From the Black Lagoon once I realized I had to go to bed.
Isn’t that just like most of our worries? We make monsters out of things that are not monsters at all. Fear and imagination should scare a five year. They should not scare grown-ups, however, and it’s a shame when they do.
Much of what I see posing as television news these days reminds me of the awkward and totally unbelievable monster in The Creature From the Black Lagoon, and seems every bit as contrived.
There ain’t no Creature From the Black Lagoon.
Copyright 2022, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.