I saw “The Changeling” at some point after 1980, when it made the rounds on television — I can recall it being quite good. It might have been the first George C. Scott film I ever saw. (I am linking below to HD Retro Trailers for the trailer.)
I watched it with my Mom. My Dad would have been the go-to guy for action or adventure movies; my mother was a bit too serious for those. Every once in a long while, though, she’d surprise me by really enjoying a fright flick when it came on.
I found a couple of videos online the depict The Roosevelt Island Tramway around 1980. (The picture below of the tram arriving in Manhattan dates from 2006, as I couldn’t find any vintage public domain photos.)
The first video I am linking to here was posted by Richard Cortell; he completed it as a long ago student project for The New York Institute of Technology. Parts of the video are quite dark, but it’s still a terrific glimpse in New York City’s past.
The second video is also Cortell’s; this one is dated 1980. It focuses more on life on Roosevelt Island — the tram is seen only at the beginning and end.
I’ve never been on the tram — or to Roosevelt Island. But just seeing it brings back memories of my early childhood. My Dad used to occasionally take me on trips to New York City, and I remember seeing it depart from 60th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan. I was pretty damned awed by it.
But I didn’t ask to ride on it. My Dad took me to all sorts of places in NYC that were fun for a kid, but the sight of that hanging tram car made me pretty apprehensive. Hell, I’m not sure I’d want to ride it as an adult. (There was a malfunction in 2006 that left 80 people trapped up there for around 90 minutes.)
I didn’t know it at the time, but the tram would have actually been relatively new at the time that I saw it (and at about the same time Cortell filmed his videos). It opened in July of 1976.
Postscript — there is actually a shot of the tram in that old “Million Dollar Movie” intro that everyone loves. It’s right at the start, five seconds in.
Photo credit: Kris Arnold from New York, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Paperback edition. Signet.
I’ve always loved the artwork here, even if it adorned the lesser iteration of King’s opus. (The author’s original, “uncut” edit of the book would hit the shelves a full decade later.) Many other people love this artwork too — you can even purchase it as a print.
I hope that you are all looking forward to a rockin’ New Year’s Eve. It’s hard to believe that we are not only ringing in a new year, but also a new decade — “2020” still sounds like science fiction to me.
Where does the time go? Somewhere irretrievable.
Anyway, here’s a couple of Pinterest finds for my fellow 1980’s nostalgia nerds. (We’ve got a nice little subculture goin’ on Facebook.) These are a few covers from January 1, 1980 (or in the case of the weekly TV Guide, the decade’s first full week). Try to wrap your head around the fact that, in a few days, the decade will have begun a full forty years ago.
Oh … I couldn’t resist throwing in a couple of comic book covers dated January 1980, too. I actually had that issue of “Battlestar Galactica.” I still remember it sitting in a stack at the bottom of my closet, with one or two others — vastly outnumbered by “Sgt. Rock” and various “Archie” titles.
“Willard” (1971) and its sequel, “Ben” (1972), were another pair of 1970’s movies that got plenty of airtime on 1980’s television. I read both books when I was a kid too.
First I picked up Stephen Gilbert’s Ratman’s Notebooks at a yard sale, because that’s how you found cool horror books during summer vacations when you were too young to drive. (Sometimes adults had few compunctions about what they sold to minors too. I bought a vampire book in gradeschool that was full of nude photos, for some reason, and that led to what I’m sure was an interesting conversation between my parents and the neighbor-proprietor down the street.)
Anyway, I absolutely loved Ratman’s Notebooks (despite its lamentable absence of nude photos) and I finished it in a day or two. The novelization of the “Ben” film by Gilbert A. Ralston was somewhat less impressive, but I still enjoyed it.
If you’re a comics fan, like I am, then it might occur you that “Willard” and his army of trained rats seem to inspire a villain in Batman’s rogue’s gallery — Ratcatcher. Ratcatcher has been a minor league villain since he debuted in DC Comics in 1988, but he’s a pretty neat bad guy when placed in the hands of the right writer.
I feel certain that anyone will recognize Ernest Borgnine in the first trailer below– his face and voice are impossible to confuse with those of another man. If the disaffected, spooky, eponymous Willard looks familiar to you, that’s none other than a young Bruce Davison. He’s a good actor who’s been in a lot of films, but I think a plurality of my friends will know him as Senator Kelly from the first two “X-Men” movies (2000, 2003).
You’ll note the presence of flamethrowers in the trailer for “Ben.” Flamethrowers were a staple of 70’s and 80’s horror films; it was just part of the zeitgeist. They were handy for heroes fighting any nigh-unstoppable nonhuman baddie — think of “The Swarm” (1978), “The Thing” (1982), “C.H.U.D.” (1984), “Aliens” (1986), and “The Blob” (1988), for example. Hell, 1980’s “The Exterminator” featured a vigilante using a flamethrower to kill criminals. It was a weird time.