Apparently, there’s a movie remake in the works featuring the one-and-only Mary Poppins. According to the ad I saw, the movie is due for a Christmas release. You tell me … if it’s not Julie Andrews, then can it really be Mary Poppins? If the chimney sweep is not Dick Van Dyke, then does it really matter who chokes on the soot?
Aren’t some things just sacred? It feels almost sacrilegious to remake something so legendary.
I immediately wondered about other changes in our often mundane lives. I’m not talking about bike lanes on the bridge or porta-potties at The Battery. Those debates will rise and fall on their own merits, if they eventually pass the smell test. Wait a second, maybe I should rephrase that?
In any event, while riding down Interstate 95 recently after dark, for some reason, I started thinking about different things that have changed just in my lifetime that were once solid mainstays. You blink, and they’re gone. The first one is random, but so are many of my thoughts. Remember the dimmer switch on the car floorboard? Activated by the left foot, it put the headlights on high beam, right? I wonder why technology placed it on the steering column? I’m not even saying it’s better or worse. The action seemed more violent, though, when it was on the floorboard. Now it’s just a flick of the finger.
How ‘bout small juke boxes at restaurant tables? Yeah, that’s right, little juke boxes for music to be played at your specific table. Other people could listen to your juke box, but they also had their own.
Chim, chim, chir-ee
It’s interesting how, all of a sudden, things don’t exist anymore. As children, my brothers used Butch Wax to keep their hair just so. I think I used something less gummy.
Just to show you how times have changed, there are no more candy cigarettes or bubble gum cigars. Society, along with medical research, dramatically changed attitudes toward that habit.
If cameras were around your house years ago, were all the flashbulbs blue? Did you have dots in your eyes every time somebody told you to say "‘cheese"?
Our soft drinks once came in glass bottles that you could take to the corner store to cash ’em in. Here’s something else that is semi-related. I never worried about resealing a Coke after every sip before screw-on caps were developed. Now, I take a drink ... put the cap back on ... take it off, take another sip, put it back. Does carbonation escape quicker now than it once did?
Step In Time
It’s one thing to notice pieces of your life that have disappeared from your childhood. Roller skate keys, 45 RPM records, metal lunchboxes … everyone can remember items that were victims of progress and technology. What causes me to pause is recognizing parts of our culture that have changed, not since I was a boy, but since I’ve become an adult.
When’s the last time you saw a phone booth? Did they start disappearing 15 or so years ago? Pay phones once existed on virtually every street corner and on every floor of every building. Our smart phones made those pay phones and phone booths obsolete.
Our world is moving at warp speed, in all directions, all around us. It’s a challenge to keep up with all that’s being added, much less stay abreast of what’s no longer with us. In some ways, we’re probably better off that there are no longer things such as waterbeds or beepers in our lives.
Maybe that’s why a Mary Poppins movie is both endearing and enduring? That movie was released in 1964, long before some of the particulars in this column were either popular or since forgotten.
Maybe in December, we’ll all head to the theater to enjoy the extra-wide seats and the overpriced popcorn. Nostalgia always sells, but so does the opportunity to hear a song that invented an exceptionally long word that rhymes with precocious. Remember?
Reach Warren at email@example.com