Ever since my father was a boy, he’s had a love for movies. This love has followed him throughout his life. Sometime in his late twenties, he was introduced to Super 8 film, the format home movies were available in before video. Along with making his own home movies, my father became a collector of films released in the Super 8 format. At the time there were select titles in edited versions available and there were people collecting and trading the titles all over the country.
My earliest recollection of watching movies with my father was not in a movie theater but in his makeshift home theater. Some of the titles we watched at the time were classics: Laurel and Hardy in Way Out West, Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, The Guns of Navarone, and many more “golden oldies” that were edited and released into 20 minute shorts.
Along with watching movies came stories about them. Before I was a teenager my father told me about one of his favorite films that was not available on Super 8 at the time. In the movie, the lead characters– Zaida (Grandfather), a junk peddler, and his grandson, David–ride around town on an old horse-drawn cart singing a simple song, chanted to announce their arrival ready to do business: “Rags, Clothes, Bottles, Rags, Clothes, Bottles.” My father would sing the song to me as he told the story of the movie. I knew the story intimately because of my father. He would call it a four-handkerchief job. I know the song because of my father. I knew the characters because of my father. My father shared hundreds of films with me over the years, but there was no movie that made a impression greater than Lies My Father Told Me…and at the time I had never even seen it.
My father’s love of cinema became a growing hobby and he began trading and selling movies in the back of his housewares store. From there it led to the opening of one of the first video stores in America. As his business grew and expanded over the years, he never lost his passion for movies. In the early days when no one knew what video was, my father hired two gentlemen that shared his passion; They are still with him to this day. In fact, a survey of his staff would find many of his team members have over 20 years with his company. If you ask me what his key to success is, I would have to say, simply, passion. My father took his passion, something he loves, and decided to share it.
Eventually I had the opportunity to watch Lies My Father Told Me, and my father was right. It is a four-handkerchief job. David, the grandson idolizes his Zaida, the same way I loved my Grandfather. The first time I heard the old man sing his song, ”Rags, Clothes, Bottles, Rags, Clothes, Bottles,” I cried. But to be honest I cried before the movie even started; I’m not sure I cried because of the story, or because this movie meant so much to my father and now to me. I felt Lies My Father Told Me was a gift given to me by my father. I am certain I have never received a gift like this ever. My father shared a story.
Over the years my father had a choice, like many parents do, what stories to share with their children. He chose classic movies, Hitchcock, the Three Stooges, Shirley Temple, Laurel and Hardy, John Wayne, and many more. While I never became a big classic movie fan, I do have my favorites. But for me it’s always been about my father’s love for the movies and how much knowledge of them he has. It is his passion that I love. It has been a way for us to connect. Now I am a father. I have had the joy of sharing with my daughter classic films that she now loves: Snow White, Dumbo, and Cinderella. Maybe someday we will sit down together and watch Lies My Father Told Me.