My daughter-in-law and granddaughter have started having a Friday night movie tradition, where they watch movies and sleep in the living room.  It’s not exactly an all-nighter with a four year old, but it’s something they look forward to.  It all takes me back to the late 1970s when we got our first VCR and changed our movie watching forever.

Our first machine was kind of clunky, expensive, and just an inkling of new technology to come.  We could record shows and watch them later or record movies we loved to watch over and over.  It was before they even sold the commercial VHS tapes.  HBO was our best source and the first movies we recorded were two of our favorites, “Star Wars” and “Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas.”  I still have those original tapes even though we have the movies on commercial DVD or VHS.

When my son was probably 8 or 9, he and his father started their own Friday night ritual.  We would get a pizza and they would settle in to watch “The Beastmaster.”  If you’ve missed this treasure, it featured Marc Singer in all his naked muscles in a loincloth and his animal friends, an eagle, a black tiger, and two ferrets, battling some bird-man creatures, along with a half naked girl and some other people.  What I remember is the funny scenes with the ferrets and the animals to the rescue and the bird-men raising their wing-arms to attack.  Whatever.  Mostly I remember how much fun my guys had watching.  They knew every line and waited for their favorite parts.  My husband, all 6’4″ of him, would rise up in imitation of the bird-men, which delighted my son.  They never seemed to tire of this craziness.  I have no idea how long this went on, but my son possessed a poster from the movie when he got older.  It was obviously a good memory for him.

beastmaster_poster_01“Top Gun” was also a favorite which we could all share on our own levels as our girls grew into teenagers.  Emmet Otter was a holiday tradition, so much so that our daughters watched it with their prospective husbands.  Fortunately, they all passed the test and at least acknowledged that it was going to be a part of their life from then on.  There was a run of teen classics, “Sixteen Candles” being one that my youngest daughter could recite verbatim.

We didn’t stop going to the movies, but movies at home were definitely changed.  Today there are so many ways to share your favorites and have your own movie nights with family or friends.  It’s a case where the industry had to adapt to the public’s adoption of all the new technologies.

As for me, I love it all.  But, mostly, I remember those Friday nights with my family, watching them enjoy their favorites.  “The Beastmaster” makes me smile every time.