Thursday, May 13, 2010

Introducing Movies, The Pajama Game and my Grandfather

Of all my close relatives I think I take the most after my late maternal grandfather. Reserved, curious, and an unfortunate tendency to get prickly when wished to be left alone. Biannual trips to the apartment he shared with my Great Aunt where a regular part of my childhood. I loved them, it meant new toys and even better, it mean a trip to the Smithsonian's Air and Space museum.

He loved movies, the ones and stars he grew up with who were Classic Hollywood to me. His favorite musical was The Pajama Game and we would usually watch it when we visited. I loved the tempera paint bright colors, the dancing, and the songs. And even then my favorite characters were the supporting ones, and my favorite song a quieter or funnier number instead of the big showstopper.

It could be difficult to get close to my Grandfather, like it is to get close to me, but when we watched movies barriers fell. We were an audience and an exchange of knowledge and memories was happening, without a word being said between us. We show who we are in the movies we love. I don't know what sent me to look for clips from this movie on YouTube, only that when I started watching them I thought of my Grandfather and missed him as I haven't in years.

I watch the clip below, my favorite number from the show, and I see my Grandfather watching the TV set in an apartment high above the streets. And he's not an old man, distant and unapproachable. He's a cinephile delighting in their voices, the cherry tomato red of her starched pressed skirt against the gray factory interiors, Eddie Foy Jr's expressions, and Reta Shaw being light as air on her feet (Bob Fosse's lively choreography practically counts as it's own character.)

So I know another reason I love movies, I watch this and I don't wonder where my Pepa is or if I'll ever see him again. I watch this and delight in the same things and know that somehow he's watching it with me, and always will.