Saturday, February 11, 2012

A nice meal, a drink, and a great movie - the only way to fly cross-country

So my proposal is that everybody gets to fly First Class at some point in their life. Our friend Mark from Chicago, who is meeting us here in Los Angeles later this morning, very graciously used some of his airline points to upgrade our flight from Boston last night to the "front of the plane". (Thanks again, Mark!) What a treat!
From the moment we got on board and the flight staff helped us stow our bags, we were pampered, starting out with a lovely Champagne toast. Once airborne, I told Peter I was surprised there weren't individual TVs at each seat (my favorite airline is JetBlue because of the TVs, which I tune to The Food Network and never switch the channel). No sooner had I spoken than the flight crew brought us each a little suitcase containing a touch-pad entertainment system, complete with Bose noise-cancelling headphones. With dozens of movies, TV shows, and music soundtracks to chose from, I couldn't have been happier! I felt like a little kid the first time he gets to be in charge of the TV remote control!
Cocktails ("Beverages are available continously throughout the flight" our menu informed us) were delivered shortly thereafter, so with my gin and tonic firmly in hand, I decided to watch the classic 1955 film "Picnic", starring William Holden, Kim Novak, and Rosiland Russell. It was wonderfully campy and oh-so-dramatic, with Holden playing Hal Carter, a down-on-his-luck drifter who jumps off a train in a small Kansas town, just in time for its annual Labor Day picnic celebration. All of the ladies in the town are smitten, including Madge, played by Kim Novak, whose boyfriend and presumed fiance, is heir to his father's grain mill business. Madge is distracted by Hal's "joie de vivre" and his habit of doffing his shirt while doing chores for the elderly spinster next door.
Here's some great dialogue between Madge and her overprotective mother, played by Betty Field, who is starting to worry that her daughter, at 19 years of age, should seriously consider settling down with her rich boyfriend before she gets "too old":
Madge, with Alan, you'd live in comfort the rest of your life Charge accounts at all the stores, automobiles and trips. And you'd belong to the country club.
Mom, I don't feel right with those people
Why not? Your grandfather was in the state legislature. You're as good as they are. When a girl's as pretty as you are, she doesn' have to...
Oh mom. What good is it just to be pretty?
What a question!
Maybe I get tired of only being looked at.
You puzzle me when you talk that way.
Madge, does Alan ever make love?
Sometimes we park the car by the river.
Do you let him kiss you? After all, you've been going together all summer...
Well, of course I let him...
Does he ever want to go beyond kissing?
Oh mom...
Well, I'm your mother for heaven's sake. These things have to be talked about. Do you like it when he kisses you?
Well you don't sound very enthusiastic...
Well what do you expect me to do? Pass out every time Alan puts his arms around me?
No, you don't have to pass out. But there won't be many more opportunities like the picnic tonight, and and it seems to me that you could at least...
Nothing. Oh nothing.

Talk about a stage mother! It's a beautifully filmed movie, although Holden is a little long in the tooth to be playing a young Lothario. He was probably better suited to playing Madge's father rather than her love interest, but it all works in the end. Rosiland Russell is a hoot as Rosemary, the lonely hearts school teacher who works herself up into a lather at her every glance at Hal, at one point even drunkedly pulling his trousers up to his knees so she can see his legs. Awkward!
I'm composing this post by e-mail, so don't think I can embed the video below, so be sure to click the link to see a great dance scene at the Labor Day picnic where Hal and Madge finally connect.

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