Christmas Memory, 1974

After the frenzy of our family's Christmas Day celebration, I navigated the trusty Volkswagen bug over to the Phipps Plaza Theatre in Atlanta for my third viewing of Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein," which had been in original release all of 11 days at that time. I was ravenous for this film, one I watched and championed as often as possible.

The wild spoof is nothing short of perfection, enhanced by its beautiful black-and-white production values, considered a bold, artsy choice during Hollywood's early all-color era. Brooks, concerned over the public's acceptance of his radical effort, had even gone so far as to voice the coming attractions trailer, wherein he proclaims: "In black-and-white! No offense."

The look of this film is a finely-crafted companion piece to director James Whale's Universal horror classics ("Frankenstein," 1931, "Bride of Frankenstein," 1935), which firmly established the visual concepts we accept as the monster's bizarro world.

Mel delivered an impressive commercial and artistic one-two punch in 1974. "Young Frankenstein" was exhibited close on the heels of "Blazing Saddles." The western farce had trotted to movie screens months earlier, following sneak previews in drive-in theatres across America, where patrons arriving on horseback were admitted free.

"Young Frankenstein" never appeared inside my stocking or under the tree, but the comedy is one of my most memorable, cherished Christmas gifts -- and it keeps on giving, you little zipper-neck.


Anonymous said...

My Christmas 1974 memory: South DeKalb Twin Theatre, Decatur Ga.

Two afternoon shows of "Island At The Top Of The World": SOLD OUT.

Two evening shows of "Longest Yard": SOLD OUT.

Glad you enjoyed your day.

Mike Durrett said...

Yep, nothing like working in a movie theatre on Christmas. They come out of the woodwork, don't they?

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