Passing Your Love For Classic Movies Down To Children

My mother was 22 years old when the film version of The Sound of Music was released. I don’t know when she actually acquired the soundtrack on vinyl, but as it was the biggest-selling album in the UK during 1965, 1966, and 1968, and seeing she grew up in England, my guess was that she bought it some time in the late 1960s.

I can’t remember how old I was when I was first shown the movie, but I cannot remember a year since I have been alive that it wasn’t shown on television. I know that I was really young when I first saw it because I can remember visualising many of the scenes as I listened to the soundtrack, and I can picture myself listening to it well before we had the extension (addition) built on our house when our lounge room housed the stereo system and record player. When I turned eight we had three extra rooms added including an entertaining/music room, and I was a big fan of the musical well before that.

The 50th anniversary of the release of The Sound of Music was earlier in March this year but it was only a few weeks ago that we acknowledged it in Australia with one of the television networks showing a 50th anniversary documentary at 6:30pm before playing the movie straight after at 7:30pm. My wife was out for the night when it was shown, and as soon as the boys finished dinner I marched them into the bath with the promise that if they were ready and dressed for bed, teeth cleaned and all, they could jump into my bed and watch this movie with me.

Typically, the kids were expecting a CGI animated movie to be their reward for being so punctual, but as the movie progressed to when Maria sang My Favourite Things, and as I sang along to make it “more fun”, the kids were more interested. When Maria taught the children to sing Do-Re-Mi, the kids were won over.

The 4yo was the first to fall asleep and I carried him to his bed shortly after, and the 7yo stayed awake a little longer, but soon the lateness got the better of him and he was snoring his head off after which time, I carried him to bed too.

I would listen to my mum's copy of this soundtrack over and over again
I would listen to my mum’s copy of this soundtrack over and over again

The following morning as the 4yo walked down the stairs and met me in the kitchen, he looked up at me and asked,

“Can we watch Music again?”

The 7yo was in the lounge room and heard this and then piped up himself with,

“Yeah Dad, did you record it for us?”

Unfortunately I had not pressed record. As I made the kids and myself breakfast, I found the original motion picture soundtrack on Google Play and started playing it for the boys. Again I sang along to the songs with My Favourite Things, Do-Re-Mi and The Lonely Goatherd becoming the songs that they loved the most. Over the next week or so, while hanging out the washing or unpacking the dishwasher, or just hanging out with the boys, whenever they were in earshot of my phone, I put the album on or found some of the songs on YouTube for them to watch again.

Watching The Sound of Music or listening to the soundtrack is one of those memories I have with connect me with my mum now that she is no longer with us. Getting the boys to appreciate the musical will surely allow them to have that connection to her as well. Not only that, I feel that it serves as another stepping stone in getting them to appreciate all facets of music, not just the children’s songs sung by the Wiggles, Justin Clarke, or other children’s performers, or the pop music of the day that our 7yo is being exposed to.

Many of my fellow parenting writers have written many articles or blog posts about showing their children classic movies from their own childhood, especially those kids’ movies long before the age of CGI. Movies such as The Goonies, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Flight of the Navigator, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future (and its sequels), and of course, the original trilogy of Star Wars. I’ll include the prequel trilogy in this list as, although it wasn’t from most of our childhoods, it is part of the complete saga of that movie franchise up until the new movie.

Some of those movies are not age appropriate for my own boys just yet, and I’m waiting at least until this time next year to get the boys into E.T. The Extra Terrestrial because I was 8yo when I saw it, and I think that will be a good excuse to bring it out when our first born hits that age too.

I’m not as nostalgic about showing the kids some of those movies as some of my friends and fellow writers are, but I know that these are still great movies and will be just as entertaining to them now as they were to me back when I was a child. Even if the third trilogy of Star Wars didn’t come out, I know that I would have wanted to show the boys, at the very least, the original trilogy because Star Wars was a big part of my childhood, and it was just as big a deal when I was 25yo through to the age of 31yo when the prequel trilogy films were released.

Some movies are timeless classics, and haven’t dated. Most CGI or animated movies such as The Lion King, Toy Story, The Little Mermaid, The Land Before Time, and Aladdin as testament of that. But, to be honest, the live action movies that we grew up with have definitely dated as they were made pre-home computers, pre-mobile phones, and pre-the Internet. The importance of mentioning those things is that some of the movies we grew up with may have played out differently had the characters had access to modern technology. Of course, with some of the movies being set in the future utilising technology that they assumed we might have now, or that futuristic or alien civilisations may use and those were included in the plot lines, technology in those movies can sometimes be more advanced, and yet, at other times still seem dated.

But it’s good that we have these snapshots of what life was back then, or at least, what a fantasy version of our world was back in those days. It is important to show, my kids at least, the importance of learning to ride a bicycle in the event that they need to rescue a lost extra-terrestrial being should one land in suburban Sydney and find itself hiding out in the wardrobe of one of the boys’ rooms.

The other reason why I think it is important to show the kids some of the more famous and popular movies of our day is because many of the lines and scenes are referenced in modern day televisions shows such as the Simpsons. My first born loves, no, wait, LOVES the Simpsons, but there are many jokes that he obviously will never truly understand and appreciate if he doesn’t get to watch movies that the writers and the main intended audience of the show would have watched a thousand times. There’s possibly an Eighties movie, song or television show or other popular culture reference in every episode, so it is kind of a big deal to grasping the whole thing if they miss out on watching them.

And lastly, I want the kids to follow in my own footsteps and be able to make parody songs or jokes about popular culture, and there is no better soundtrack than The Sound of Music to lift melody line from to make a parody song, as I did in my post These Are A Few Of My FavouriteĀ Dads sung to My Favourite Things.

And seeing that we just saw the new Star Wars movie, here’s a parody using my kids’ new favourite song Do-Re-Mi’s melody with the characters from The Force Awakens mentioned. And of course, no spoilers…

Poe, X-Wing with BB-8

Rey’s a drop of golden sun

Ren, a name he called himself

Far, this Galaxy’s so fun

Finn, a trooper who has left

Han, a hero we all know

Le-ia, she’s a general

That will bring us back to Poe

When you have the Force within

You can do most anything

Which movie or movies are you hanging out to show your children? Which have been the ones that you have shown them and they haven’t liked?

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