Friday, September 03, 2010

a few of my favorite things...

Dear Shelfers, no doubt your patience has been tried, and the wonderings about your erstwhile host has gone on for far too long. And at times, I admit to have considered closing down the Shelf altogether myself. Life outside of the tinny walls of the internet has been quite full this summer; something which many can relate to, no doubt. I make no excuse, but only, in my most Puck-ish way, ask for your hands to make amends. While putting the Shelf on an indefinite hiatus was an option considered and attractive in some ways, the unintended temporary hiatus this summer gnawed at my conscience. Many things occurred, and were seen, which, I confess, led my thoughts immediately to you: the loyal reader. When a classic film favorite passed away, a new DVD release made it our way, or just simply a nostalgic journey held sway- my first thoughts were of the necessity to share them with you.

Five years ago, this month, The Shelf was born. At that time there were some great inspirational bloggers out there, toiling away at the virtual onion skin. Classic films, nostalgia, and American culture were their beat, and I was eager to throw in my own two cents worth of thoughts (despite, prices already being inflated). While by no means was I a lone voice in the wilderness, nostalgic and Classic film blogging was still under populated to a degree and I have been so extremely proud of our "community" to see so many others get out there and get involved and make their voices heard over the intervening years. So many great and talented writers have emerged, bringing to light information, discussing the underappreciated as well as the overrated, dissecting old arguments and perhaps starting new ones; Classic films and television has enjoyed a growing awareness, popularity and appreciation over the years. That is, in no small part, due to so many bloggers, critics, and writers that have emerged over the vast interweb landscape. It is a testament to all of you that when news occurs that in someway involves classic media, the story can be found in a short period of time on many websites. Many of you have been able to break down news items and reviews and provide a unique insight in such a wonderful, and admittedly (jealous confession) frustrating way, that at times I felt it not only unnecessary, but even criminal to try and add anything to it.

This is not a complaint so much as it is a celebration and even self-examination; there are so many sites available now, that it can be difficult to see where I can add any contribution at all. At the same time however, I value my blogroll, because my daily reading has increased so much over the years that I have found so much joy and entertainment in all that I can find. A double-edged sword indeed.

As I look back over the past few years, I remember the fun and joy I have had sharing with you my thoughts and finds, and even quirky ideas and reviews. I hope you can still find some worth in the old saws still available in the archives. As I tread these creaky boards, just as old actors are wont to do, I am inspired to continue to share as much as I can- if nothing else, to satisfy my own nostalgic yearnings. I may not be the first to acknowledge the passing of a film star, nor the only person to wax philosophical on the value of old television shows, or even the only one to recklessly proclaim my devotion to an underappreciated or overrated gem from the past. No, in fact, I am glad that is the case, because the wealth of knowledge, opinion, and discussion is so valuable and great that I am grateful to be counted among you and hope that this means that the past, which we treasure so much, will not be lost and counted as dust among the cluttered remains of human ephemera.

So with this I've “undeclared” my manifesto, with which Wolf and I began this experiment- to constantly comment, to be there on the scene, to boldly challenge ourselves to push everything and anything to the forefront. No - I release myself from this burden, and hope you will indulge me in the same. I wish to share in the joy, in the discussion, to jump in when I remember or think of something I wish to share with you. When I find some little treasure, I wish to post it here and share with you. Content may be more eclectic than in the past, but with your indulgence, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. It's nothing for me, in conversation with like-minded individuals, to jump from the Three Stooges, to Dean Martin, to Cicero, to Frank Capra, to Crazy Horse, to the Pilgrims, to classic Cereal commercials without so much as losing my place. Thus, you may see short posts of favorite nostalgic commercials, DVD reviews, discussion of history and just posting favorite pictures of radio show stars - all in the same week. Call it stream of consciousness, madness, or even a short attention span- I just call it - little old me. I hope to get Wolfie back on board- he's as busy as the rest of us- but hope springs eternal nonetheless.

To begin, with the new attitude and new look (hope you like it- we will still tinker with it a little) - here is something I've discovered as of late, which I've enjoy immensely. A classic television game show, known as What's My Line (I even play a modified version of the game with my students), in which the occasional famous individual would be a contestant. Often the movie or television star would arrive and have to disguise their voice to fool the panel. Many of these clips are available on YouTube and I have really enjoyed them of late. I would like to share a couple of gems with you in honor of The Shelf 2.0, so to speak.

First up: The Shelf favorite: Jack Benny. If only Fred Allen had been on the panel...

Secondly: Dedicated to our good friend and one of our favorite bloggers, Laura: Robert Montgomery. And interesting bonus- Peter Lawford is on the panel.

And lastly I have to include, the one, the only: Groucho.(Whom, by the way, more and more has reminded me of my father's father in more ways than I've ever realized.)

Late Addition!
I thought I would add one more that I watched earlier today that I got a kick out of: the mystery guest is Walter Brennen and on the panel are Adolphe Menjou and the lovely Greer Garson. Very cool:

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend, everyone, and stay tuned for more short attention span blogging.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

Maria, these walls were not meant to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live.


Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Welcome back, J.C.!

J.C. Loophole said...

Thanks Ivan! It's refreshing to exit out of lurker mode.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Welcome back, sir. Will you sign in, please?

I like those old "What's My Line" shows, too.

J.C. Loophole said...

Are you sure the blindfolds are on securely?
Thanks Jacqueline. And I have just fallen in love with find old game shows in YouTube with our favorite stars as guests. What's My Line was able to get a ton of stars on the show; both as guests and panelists. I'm starting to look at some of the old Password shows- my favorite is the, what else, Jack Benny episode.

Laura said...

It's wonderful to see you post, J.C., and I look forward to reading (and watching) the things you share in the days and weeks to come. The unique voice of the Shelf has been very much missed.

Extra-special thanks for the Robert Montgomery clip and dedication. :) :)

Happy five-year bloggiversary this month, and welcome back!!!

Best wishes,

J.C. Loophole said...

Thanks for the kind words Laura- it's good to be back. The guilt of being to busy to post was a little difficult. The worst feeling, however, was always feeling the need or pressure I placed on myself to get out there with every bit of news, or to write the essays and film history essays and reviews- it became too much like work, which was already crowding my time.
An unintended hiatus turned out to be the thing to clear my head a little and make me realize that while the classic film and blogging community had grown, we could still be a part of it and be ourselves and just enjoy everything.
From what I've been told Wolf has something neat in store- and we want to go back and do some of our favorite stuff- like the Holiday candy "reviews" the classic cartoons, the OTR clips, etc, etc. We just really want revamp it the way we have most enjoyed doing it. Preposition-ending sentences and all.
By the way- I watched that Bob Montgomery clip and knew I had to post it for you. I love these old game shows. The "celebrities" seemed to be more willing to poke fun at themselves, a little more down to earth and a lot funnier than the crowd we have now. Watch the Ginger Rodgers clips - she was related by marriage to one of the regular panelists and was always trying to fool him anyway she could. Funny stuff.

Laura said...

I think you've got a great plan! No matter how many bloggers there are, everyone has their own "voice" and particular interests, and I especially enjoy your style. :) Sounds like you'll be providing a fun place for like-minded folks to hang out, so to speak!

Wasn't Bob a stitch in that clip? I remember reading in Ginger's autobiography that her cousin Phyllis married Bennett Cerf -- I'll look for those clips, they sound great.

Best wishes,


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