Monday, May 19, 2014

Big Deal

When we were kids, playing in my friend's back yard, we used to pretend to be fighting off whatever monster we happened to have watched that Saturday afternoon on Science Fiction Theater. We aimed our plastic guns at the approaching onslaught and prepared to be heroes. It was usually about that time that my friend would make a suggestion like, "Let's say instead of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, it's a Creature from the Black Lagoon that's forty feet tall." This was driven, primarily, by our youthful conviction that bigger is always better, or in this case: worse.
We raised our rifles to the sky and began firing away. Pow. Pow. Kaching. Pew. Pew. Kew. Bam. Of course, our bullets were no earthly use against such a beast. Whether it was the Creature or a Praying Mantis or a Mummy, forty feet of anything was just too much for our conventional (plastic) weapons. This is why many of us met our maker in ghastly ways on those weekend afternoons. My friend generally went with some guttural cry of "Jones!" perhaps because he was calling out for some fallen comrade, or maybe because his imagination had already been taxed by coming up with the forty-foot-tall thing and character names were beyond him at that point.
I do wonder if that same friend didn't change his name when he moved to Hollywood. I might not recognize him as Michael Bay or Joel Silver. Or maybe it's something that our country has always been fascinated with and we will continue to seek out giant robots, aliens, apes and lizards for our fascination. I understand that by buying tickets to see the remake of King Kong and the umpteenth iteration of Godzilla that I am only feeding the beast. Literally. The bigger the better. But I know the secret. The real King Kong was only eighteen inches tall. And Alan Ladd was only five feet six inches tall. But it would have been much cooler is Shane was forty feet tall.

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