Catchiest TV Themes

I haven’t written anything in here for a long time. I figure it is time to end my break. Before tackling anything serious, I’d like to just throw in a light-hearted bit I have been thinking about.

I just saw a commercial Addams Familyfor the new Addams Family movie. Just hearing the da da da da da, snap snap theme brought back a lot of memories. I started thinking about the catchiest TV theme songs ever. These are definitely not the best shows ever or the best music. They are just songs you remember many years later.

I decided that my list should only include original theme songs which eliminated songs such as the William Tell Overture from the Loan Ranger.

Here is my list of the top 10 catchiest TV themes in no particular order.


  • The Addams Family
  • The Twilight Zone
  • Mission Impossible
  • The Beverly Hillbillies
  • Gilligan’s Island
  • The Twilight Zone
  • The Andy Griffith Show
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • WKRP in Cincinnati

And if anybody wants it, here is a link to the  Addams Family Theme.

The Muppets’ Frog Prince – A Forgotten Treasure

When I was four, I loved to play with toy trucks.  At fifty six, I will confess that I have lost my fascination with miniature vehicles.  Now I would much rather go contra dancing.  At four I had never heard of contra dancing, but if I had, I aTaminellam pretty confident I would have had no interest in it.  For the most part, my interests at fifty six are quite different from my interests at four.  There are two exceptions, two interests I have loved all of my life.

The first is jigsaw puzzles.  I have been told that as a baby the relatives used to gather around and watch me do wooden puzzles.  I have no memory of that.  I do, however, remember my first real jigsaw puzzle.  My mother was putting together a puzzle and I remember helping her with it.  After that she bought me a puzzle of my own.  I have been doing jigsaw puzzles ever since then.  My foremost jigsaw accomplishment is a 5000 piece puzzle of Neuschwanstein Castle that I subsequently glued.  It now hangs in our dining room.  Nowadays I happily do jigsaw puzzles on my iPad.

Melora and RobinThe second is the Muppets.  I remember my father introducing me to the Muppets when I was little.  They made me laugh and smile then and they make me laugh and smile now.  I loved the Muppet Show, especially Miss Piggy.  Long before the Muppet Show, however, in 1971 when I was 11, the Muppets had a TV special called the Frog Prince.  I think it is the best thing they ever did.  It has delightful music, a charming story, and is extremely funny.

Kermit is not the frog prince.  He is the narrator who befriends a little frog named Robin who claims he is Sir Robin the Brave but he has been enchanted by the evil witchsweetums Taminella (pictured above).  We learn thatTaminella is now living in the palace as she has convinced the doltish king that she is his sister.  The beautiful Princess Melora is not fooled but Taminella has enchanted her so nobody can understand what Melora says.

Here are some examples of  dialog that made me laugh at 11 and makes me laugh at 56.

Kermit: You’re crazy; you can’t swim!
Robin: But if I go back on my word it will be… unprincely.
Kermit: And if you drown it’ll be unfrogly.

King Rupert the Second: I’m sorry, but if you’re really my sister, I’m afraid I need proof.
Taminella: Well, all right, good King Rupert the Second. What was the name of your father?
King Rupert the Second: King Rupert the First!
Taminella: So was mine!
King Rupert the Second: Sister!
Taminella: Brother!

Fortunately, the Muppets Frog Prince is available in full at this YouTube link.

If you love the Muppets like I do, take 50 minutes out of your life and watch this video.  Enjoy!

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 6: The Greatest Movie of All Time

Today I complete my look at memorable movies by selecting the most memorable movie of all time.  My last four segments each looked at movies over 20 years and at the end I chose the most memorable movie from each time period. Here are the links to my previous installments:

The Most Memorable Movies of All Times – Part 1

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 2: the 30s and 40s

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 3: the 50s and 60s

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 4: the 70s and 80s

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 5: the 90s and 00s

To recap, here are the criteria for choosing the most memorable movies:

  • Memorable movies become part of our culture. They may directly become part of our culture, showcase stars who become part of our culture, or launch a genre that becomes part of our culture.
  • Sequels of memorable movies are not eligible.

These were my picks for the most memorable movie of each period:

  • 30s and 40s – The Wizard of Oz
  • 50s and 60s – The Sound of Music
  • 70s and 80s – Star Wars
  • 90s and 00s – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Which of these is the most memorable?

The Sound of Music was obviously a highly memorable movie, but I don’t think it has had nearly the same impact on our culture as the other three.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had had an enormous impact on our culture, but it is still fairly recent.  If forty years from now it still is as big as it is now, then if I am still around I will reconsider this elimination, but for now I am thinking it just hasn’t been around long enough to be called the most memorable movie of all time.

This leaves us with two movies:  The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars.  I have gone back and forth in my mind between these two movies.  My first inclination was to choose the Wizard of Oz.  The Wizard of Oz was released 76 years ago and it would be difficult to find anybody of any age who was raised in America who doesn’t know and love this movie.  With that being said, I don’t think any movie has ever had the impact of Star Wars on our culture.

In December 1977, I worked in the toy department of a department store.  Christmas was coming and, over six months since the debut of Star Wars, the toys were still not available.  We sold gift cards that could be placed under the Christmas tree and could be exchanged for Star Wars toys when they became available.   Star Wars, in fact, was the pioneer in merchandising toys based on movies.

Many years later, in the mid nineties,  I remember walking through a toy store, more than ten years since the Return of the Jedi and well before the prequels were released.  The toy store still had an entire section just devoted to Star Wars toys. I was amazed how the appeal of Star Wars persevered.  Now, almost forty years since Star Wars premiered in 1977, the December release of the new Star Wars movie is possibly  the most eagerly anticipated film of all time.

The force is strong with Star Wars.  Star Wars is the most memorable movie of all time.

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 5: the 90s and 00s

Today I continue my series on memorable movies by looking at the movies of the 90s and 00s.  In particular, I think it is interesting to compare the most memorable movies with the movie selected as the best picture of the year.   At the end of this list I pick the most memorable movie of this time period.  In my last segment, I will pick the most memorable movie of all time using the finalist from each time period.  Of course, any list compilation is made to be disagreed with so I welcome other views on these movies.

To recap, here are the criteria for choosing the most memorable movie from each year:

  • Memorable movies become part of our culture.  They may directly become part of our culture, showcase stars who become part of our culture, or launch a genre that becomes part of our culture.
  • Sequels of memorable movies are not eligible.

To update my comparison of memorable movies versus Oscar winners, in the nineties and zeroes four of the twenty Oscar winners I named as the most memorable movie of the year.  An additional six were on my honorable mention list.  In total,of the 80 years I have examined so far, only nine of the Academy Award winners made my list as the most memorable movie of the year.  An additional twenty-two made my honorable mention list.  So 49 of the 80 Oscar winning movies during this period did not meet my criteria for being memorable.

In my next segment I will look at the most memorable movies of each twenty year time segment and give my choice for the most memorable movie of all time.

1990 – Ghost (Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg)

Non-Quotes – Sultry Pottery Scene

Comments – I was wavering back and forth here between Pretty Women, Goodfellas, and Ghost.  Then I thought about which quote or scene I would choose from each of the movies.  That was the tie breaker.

Honorable Mention – Home Alone | Pretty Woman | Misery |Goodfellas | Dances with Wolves

Best Picture – Dances with Wolves

1991 – The Silence of the Lambs (Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins)

Quotes I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” 

Comments – There are some movies that I just assumed would unquestionably be the most memorable movie of whatever year they came out in.  I assumed that Beauty and the Beast, arguably the best movie ever made using conventional animation, would definitely be the most memorable movie of its year.  That was before I realized it debuted in the same year as The Silence of the Lambs.  Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter was a character for the ages.  Recently Silence! The Musical appeared Off Broadway and the prequel television show Hannibal is still on the air.

Honorable Mention – Beauty and the Beast | City Slickers

Best Picture – Silence of the Lambs

1992 – Basic Instinct (Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone)

Non-Quote Sharon Stone Crossing Her Legs during Interrogation

Comments – Sharon Stone’s performance as a sultry suspect made Basic Instinct a sexy thriller for the ages.

Honorable Mention – Aladdin | A Few Good Men | Sister Act | Buffy the Vampire Slayer | A League of their Own  | Scent of a Woman | Sister Act

Best Picture – Unforgiven

1993 – Schindler’s List (Liam Neeson)

Non-Quote Whoever save’s one life, saves the world entire.

Comments – In 1993 we had a fascinating face-off for most memorable movie.  You can still ride the Jurassic Park theme ride at Universal Studios.  Jurassic Park was not only an action adventure movie that nobody forgets, it also the trailblazer in realistic computer animation.  Schindler’s List, however, is an incredibly powerful movie.  Many people will say it had more impact on them than any other movie in their life.  As a side note, I would not have thought to put The Sandlot on this list, but I have heard younger people tell me that this is the most quoted movie they know,

Honorable Mention – Jurassic Park | Mrs. Doubtfire | The Firm | Incecent Proposal | Sleepless in Seattle | Free Willy | Groundhog Day | Rudy | The Sandlot

Best Picture – Schindler’s List

1994 – Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks)

Non-Quote Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you are going to get.

Comments – Forrest Gump is one of my favorite movies ever.  I liked the movie so much that afterwards I read the book it was based on.  The book was one of the worst books I ever read in my life.  For example, in the book Forrest becomes an astronaut who goes into space with an ape.  The spaceship crashes and he is on an island with cannibals.  Although Forrest is an idiot, he is also a chess genius.  Every day he has to play the cannibal king in chess and if he loses the game the king will eat him.  From this mess they sifted out a great idea to make one of the most memorable movies ever.

Honorable Mention – The Lion King | The Mask | Dumb and Dumber | Four Weddings and a Funeral | Ace Ventura: Pet Detective | Speed

Best Picture – Forrest Gump

1995 – Toy Story (Tom Hanks, Tim Allen)

Quote To Infinity and Beyond

Comments – Toy Story would be the most memorable movie in almost any year, both in its own right as a beloved and delightful move and by its historical, groundbreaking technical achievements as the first fully computer animated movie.

Honorable Mention – Apollo 13 | Braveheart | Clueless | Babe

Best Picture – Braveheart

1996 – Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise)

Quote You had me at Hello.

Comments – In a light year for memorable movies, Jerry Maguire edges out Fargo.  It is both a classic love story and a biting commentary on sports and sports agents.

Honorable Mention – Twister | Scream | Fargo | Mission: Impossible

Best Picture – The English Patient

1997 – Titanic (Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio)

QuoteI’m the King of the World

Comments – Prior to Titanic’s release. I had decided that I had no desire to see it, that it would be too depressing.  After its release, with all of the buzz, I changed my mind and saw it, then saw it again, and saw it again, along with everybody else in the world.  Titanic became at the time the biggest hit ever by excelling both as a big budget disaster spectacular and a classic romance.

Honorable Mention – Men in Black | The Full Monty | Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Best Picture – Titanic

1998 – Saving Private Ryan (Kate Winslet, Tom Hanks)

Non QuoteOmaha Beach Scene

Comments – In my opinion, Saving private Ryan is memorable not for the heart of the movie itself but for the opening sequence showing the D-Day invasion of Omaha Beach that is the greatest war sequence ever depicted in a movie.

Honorable Mention – Shakespeare in Love | There’s Something About Mary | The Truman Show | The Big Lebowski

Best Picture – Shakespeare in Love

1999 – The Sixth Sense (Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment)

Quote– I see dead people.

Comments – The Sixth Sense is remembered both for Haley Joel Osment’s classic line and for what I would deem as the best surprise ending in movie history.  Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is not eligible as sequel (well prequel) but Jar Jar Binks deserves special distinction as the most ridiculed movie character in history.

Honorable Mention – The Matrix | American Pie | The Blair Witch Project

Best Picture – American Beauty

2000 – Cast Away (Tom Hanks)

Quote– Wilson!

Comments – Cast Away gained eternal fame for its searing portrayal of the friendship between a man and a volleyball.

Honorable Mention – Gladiator | Meet the Parents |The Perfect Storm | X-Men | American Psycho |Scary Movie

Best Picture – Gladiator

2001 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Daniel Radcliffe)

Quote– Wingardium Leviosa

Comments –This was another great year for memorable movies.  The Lord of the Rings or Shrek would have been the most memorable movie in almost any other year.  Both of them however fall short of the impact made by the boy wizard with the lightning shaped scar.  When a memorable movie is an adaptation of a highly memorable book or play, it can be difficult to separate how much of the memory stems from the original source and how much stems from the movie.  I think that the movie is memorable if  when people think of the book, they visualize the movie.  For example, Gone With the Wind was one of the best selling books of all time, but when people think of Scarlett and Rhett they think of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.   In contrast, there was a 1970’s animated adaptation of Lord of The Rings that nobody remembers, at least not fondly.  Now when we think of Gollum, we think of the CGI-Andy Serkis Gollum from the 2001 movie and its sequels.  Likewise, Harry Potter will always look like Daniel Radcliffe.

Honorable Mention – The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring | Shrek | Monsters, Inc. | A Beautiful Mind | Bridget Jones Diary | Legally Blonde | Zoolander

Best Picture – A Beautiful Mind

2002 – Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire)

Quote– With great power comes great responsibility.

Comments – Tobey Maguire perfectly captured the angst of a normal person who gains extraordinary abilities.  Spider-man’s extraordinary success was the true catapult for the wave of Marvel super hero movies to follow.

Honorable Mention – My Big Fat Greek Wedding | Chicago

Best Picture – Chicago

2003 – Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Curse of the Black Pearl (Johnny Depp)

Quote– The code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.

Comments – Johny Depp’s creation of Captain Jack Sparrow turned an ordinary movie into a memorable movie.  In my opinion, Depp has tried since this movie to make more memorable quirky characters such as Willy Wonka and the Mad Hatter but he has never come close to repeating his magic from the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  As a side note, the Academy Awardsd got it right this year by giving the best picture to The Return of The King.  Unfortunately by my rules this movie is ineligible as a sequel for the title of most memorable movie. Fortunately, from his perspective,  I don’t think Peter Jackson cares.

Also, I talked in the 2001 section about how a memorable movie based upon a memorable book makes people think of the movie whenever they picture the book.  The 2003 dud Cat in the Hat is a good example showing the contrary.  Everybody knows about the Cat in the Hat.  Nobody envisions Mike Myers as Cat in the Hat.

Honorable Mention – Finding Nemo | Bruce Almighty  | Seabiscuit | Kill Bill Vol. 1

Best Picture – The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King

2004 – Mean Girls (Lindsay Lohan)

Quote– She made out with a hot dog.

Comments – The year 2004 was the year of the sequel with Shrek 2, Harry Potter 3, Spider-Man 2, Meet the Parents 2, and Oceans 11 2 (some actual names slightly different) ruling the box office.   Of the original movies, Mean Girls stood out.  It took a cliche and became the cliche.  Now when people think of vicious high school girls, they think of this movie.  It was funny and original.  It was grool.

Personally, The Incredibles is one of my favorite all-time movies and one that I think should rank with the most memorable movies.  The fact, however, that it seems that nobody but me ever talks about it unfortunately makes it not make this list.

Honorable Mention – Napoleon Dynamite | The Passion of the Christ

Best Picture – Million Dollar Baby

2005 – Batman Begins (Christian Bale)

Quote It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.

Comments –Batman Begins is eligible.  It is a reboot, not a sequel.  Christian Bale’s powerful performance at Batman made the character relevant to a new generation.

Honorable Mention – Madagascar | Brokeback Mountain | The 40-Year Old Virgin

Best Picture – Crash

2006 – The Devil Wears Prada (Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep)

QuoteYou have no style or sense of fashion.

Comments – Conspicuously absent from this list is Casino Royale, the Daniel Craig reboot of James Bond.  As a reboot and not a sequel, it is technically eligible and my first inclination was to rank it as a memorable movie.  After contemplation, I decided it just wasn’t that memorable.  Even though it was technically a reboot, actually it was just another James Bond movie that wasn’t that distinguishable from the other James Bond movies.  This contrasts to the 2005 movie Batman Begins which I believe was memorable in its own right.

In The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep’s performance as Miranda Priestly forever defines the boss from hell.  All future bosses from hell will be forever compared to Miranda.

On the continuing theme of memorable book vs. memorable movie, although The Da Vinci Code did very well at the box office, I  think that it was quite forgettable.  The book will be remembered; the movie will not.

Honorable Mention – (none)

Best Picture – The Departed

2007 – 300 (Gerald Butler)

Quote– This is Sparta

Comments – This truly was a miserable year for memorable movies as once again sequels ruled the box office.  One movie that did stand out was 300, a stylized comic book retelling of the historical battle between Sparta and Persia.  It has become a symbol of heroism against impossible odds.

Honorable Mention – Transformers

Best Picture – No Country for Old Men

2008 – Twilight (Kristin Stewart, Robert Pattinson)

Quote– I’m on a special diet.

Comments – It seemed that the biggest debate in 2008 was not Obama vs. McCain; it was Team Edward vs. Team Jacob.

Honorable Mention – Iron Man | WALL-E

Best Picture – Slumdog Millionaire

2009 – Avatar (Sam Worthington)

Quote– (absolutely none)

Comments – I hated Avatar.  The plot was Dances With Wolves in space.  The characters were unappealing.  So why then did I see it twice?  This otherwise terrible movie had the greatest special effects in any movie ever.  It provided a breakthrough in 3D technology that is still being felt today.   For special effects alone, it became the top grossing movie of all time.  For every other most memorable movie in this list I provided either a famous quote or a famous scene.  Showing the special effects from Avatar on a small computer screen would not do it justice, and nothing else is worth showing.

Honorable Mention – Star Trek | The Hangover | The Blind Side

Best Picture – The Hurt Locker

1990-2009 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Post 2009 

In baseball, a person is not eligible for the hall of fame until five years after their retirement.  I believe the same rule should hold for memorable movies.  I have had favorite movies (The Incredibles) that I would have been sure at the time would be memorable that weren’t.  There have been other movies (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) that I could not have imagined anybody would remember that became part of our culture.  With this in mind, these are my quick picks for the most memorable movies from 2010-2014.  In five years we can see if anybody remembers them:

2010 – Despicable Me

2011 – The Help

2012 – The Hunger Games

2013 – Frozen

2014 – Guardians of the Galaxy

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 4: the 70s and 80s

Today I continue my series on memorable movies by looking at the movies of the 70s and 80s.  In particular, I think it is interesting to compare the most memorable movies with the movie selected as the best picture of the year.   At the end of this list I pick the most memorable movie of this time period.  In my last segment, I will pick the most memorable movie of all time using the finalist from each time period.  Of course, any list compilation is made to be disagreed with so I welcome other views on these movies.

To recap, here are the criteria for choosing the most memorable movie from each year:

  • Memorable movies become part of our culture.  They may directly become part of our culture, showcase stars who become part of our culture, or launch a genre that becomes part of our culture.
  • Sequels of memorable movies are not eligible.

To update my comparison of memorable movies versus Oscar winners, in the seventies and eighties two of the twenty Oscar winners I named as the most memorable movie of the year.  An additional seven were on my honorable mention list.  This is a higher percentage than we had in the previous four decades.  In total,of the 60 years I have examined so far, only five of the Academy Award winners made my list as the most memorable movie of the year.  An additional sixteen made my honorable mention list.  So 39 of the 60 Oscar winning movies during this period did not meet my criteria for being memorable.

1970 – MASH (Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould)

Quotes – Oh Frank, My lips are hot.  Kiss my hot lips.

Comments – This was a difficult year to pick the most memorable movie.  Airport is mostly memorable for spawning a series of disaster films, but Airport itself is less memorable.  Love Story has the top quote with “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  Patton begins with the highly memorable speech in front of the American flag.  MASH won out though for providing the most impact on our culture.  While it can certainly be argued that the TV show was more memorable than the movie, the movie is what started it all.  As an aside, it was an incredibly funny movie.

Honorable Mention – Love Story | Airport | Patton

Best Picture – Patton

1971 – Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood)

Quotes – Do I feel lucky, well do you punk?

Comments – Dirty Harry’s great line, frequently misquoted as “Do you feel lucky, punk?” catapulted this movie to become possibly the most memorable cop movie of all time.  Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a very strong contender for the most memorable honor.  Gene Wilder’s classic performance as Willy Wonka far outshone Johnny Depp’s performance in the recent remake.

Honorable Mention – Fiddler on the Roof | The French Connection | A Clockwork Orange | Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Best Picture – The French Connection

1972 – The Godfather (Marlon Brando)

Quotes – I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.

Comments – The Godfather is unquestionably one of the most memorable movies of all time.  If you don’t agree, I’ll have to make you an offer you can’t refuse.  In most other years Deep Throat would be the most memorable movie both as the most memorable pornographic movie of all time and for its title being the namesake of the secret informant in the Watergate scandal.  Fortunately since The Godfather was the most memorable, I did not have to try to find an acceptable film clip from Deep Throat.

Honorable Mention – The Poseidon Adventure | Deep Throat | Cabaret | Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) | Last Tango in Paris | Man of La Mancha

Best Picture – The Godfather

1973 – The Exorcist (Linda Blair)

Quotes – Your mother sucks c**** in hell.

Comments – With green projectile vomit, Linda Blair’s head turning 360 degrees, and a sweet girl turning into a demon, The Excorcist may be the most talked about horror movie of all time.  As a side note, I loved the Sting in 1973.  It won best picture and it was the top grossing movie of the year.  At the time, I would have bet just about anything that The Sting would become a classic memorable movie.  Instead, it has virtually disappeared.

Honorable Mention – American Graffitti | The Way We Were | Soylent Green

Best Picture – The Sting

1974 – Blazing Saddles (Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder)

Non-Quote – The Campfire Scene

Comments – In 1974 Mel Brooks produced two of the most memorable comedies of all time in Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.  Between the two, however, the competition of most memorable isn’t even close.  Blazing Saddles is ingrained in our culture as one of the funniest movies of all time.  Note that The Godfather II is not eligible as a sequel to a memorable movie.

Honorable Mention – Young Frankenstein | Benji | Earthquake

Best Picture – The Godfather Part II

1975 – Jaws (Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw)

Non-Quote – The Opening Swim

Comments – It is still hard to go to the beach without Jaws somewhere in your mind.  Jaws is highly memorable in its own right as one of the greatest suspense movies of all time.  I think that the score by John Williams is the best ever at having music heighten the emotional experience.  Moreover, it was the breakout movie that made Stephen Spielberg one of the most famous directors of all time.

Honorable Mention – The Rocky Horror Picture Show | One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest | Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Best Picture – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

1976 – Rocky (Sylvester Stallone)

Non-Quote – Rocky Running Up The Steps

Comments –Rocky is the most famous boxing movie of all time and is the classic underdog story.   It introduced Stallone as one of the top action movie stars ever.  The stirring movie theme still makes the blood rush.

Honorable Mention – All the President’s Men |  The Bad News Bears | The Omen | Freaky Friday | Network | Taxi Driver

Best Picture – Rocky

1977 – Star Wars (Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher)

Non-Quote – Use the force, Luke. | A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Comments –Of all the years and all the memorable movies, this is by far the easiest choice.  The Christmas after Star Wars was released, I worked in the toy department of a department store.  The Star Wars action figures were not yet available so we sold gift cards that could later be exchanged for the figures but could be placed under the tree right away.  In addition to being one of the most memorable movies of all time, Star Wars pioneered the tie in of toys and other merchandise to movies.  A long long time later, Star Wars toys are still among the most popular.  Star Wars has not left the forefront of our culture since its release and the new movie due later this year may be the most highly anticipated movie of all time.

Honorable Mention – Close Encounters of the Third Kind | Saturday Night Fever | Oh, God! |Annie Hall

Best Picture – Annie Hall

1978 – National Lampoon’s Animal House (John Belushi)

Quote – Toga!  Toga! | Double Secret Probation

Comments –In 1977 it was easy to pick the most memorable movie.  In 1978, it was much more difficult.  Animal House, Grease, and Superman are all strongly a part of our culture, but I believe Animal House was slightly above the rest.  It ranks as one of the funniest comedies of all time and spawned countless toga parties.

Honorable Mention – Grease | Superman | La Cage aux Folles | Halloween

Best Picture – The Deer Hunter

1979 – Alien (Sigourney Weaver)

Non-Quote – Alien bursting out of stomach

Comments –In my opinion, Alien is the scariest movie ever made.  The constant suspense of knowing the alien was somewhere in the ship and never knowing when it was going to strike kept me constantly at the edge of my seat.

Honorable Mention – Apocolypse Now | 10 | The Muppet Movie | Monty Python’s Life of Brian | The Warriors | Being There

Best Picture – Kramer vs. Kramer

1980 – Airplane! (Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty) 

Quote – And don’t call me Shirley

Comments –We go from 1979 from the scariest movie ever made to 1980 and the funniest movie ever made.  Airplane was the first in a long series of movies with quick silly gags piled one after the other.  It was the first and the best.  As a note, 1980 also marked the year for two great sequels:  The Empire Strikes Back and Superman II.  They are not listed because of my rule that sequels of memorable movies aren’t eligible.  This is probably a good moment to  comment on why I set up that rule.  I actually had Harry Potter primarily in mind.  For eight years we had a Harry Potter movie almost every year.  Clearly the Harry Potter franchise is highly memorable.  It is the franchise as a whole that becomes part of our culture, however, more than the individual films.  I did not want to debate which of the films was most memorable.  I therefore set the rule that the after the first memorable movie, the sequels are not eligible.  Therefore, while The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the Star Wars franchise, it is not eligible this year.

Honorable Mention – 9 to 5 | The Blues Brothers  | Caddyshack | The Elephant Man | The Shining | Friday the 13th

Best Picture – Ordinary People

1981 – Raiders of the Lost Ark

Quote – I hate Snakes! | Indiana Jones’ non Sword Fight

Comments – The year 1979 had the greatest horror/suspense film ever, 1980 had the greatest comedy, and 1981 had the greatest action adventure.  Harrison Ford was perfect as Indiana Jones, and the movie provided more thrills per minute than any movie ever.  Add the deft touch of humor and the magnificent soundtrack and you have an action adventure movie for the ages.

Honorable Mention – Arthur | Body Heat | Escape from New York | The Road Warrior

Best Picture – Chariots of Fire

1982 – E.T., the Extra Terrestrial (directed by Stephen Spielberg)

Quote – E.T. phone home.

Comments – Although 1982 had many memorable movies, I never had any doubt that E.T. would be my pick as most memorable movie of the year.  This Stephen Spielberg classic is still loved over forty years later.  For an example of how a movie effects the culture, in 1982 the St. Louis Cardinals had a rookie sensation named Willie McGee.  McGee was a bit unusual looking and got the nickname E.T. McGee, a nickname he was not particularly fund of.  In a playoff game against Atlanta, which I attended, McGee hit a long shot to right field.  By the time McGee reached third base, the outfielder hadn’t even retrieved the ball.  He could have crawled home.  He just dusted himself off though and stayed on third base, oblivious of the  shouts from his coach and the crowd to go home.  After the game, the joke in St. Louis was “What is the difference between E.T. and Willie McGee?”  E.T. went home.  Willie McGee stayed at third.

As a side note, after my earlier siting of my rules against sequels, someone might notice that Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan is on my honorable mention list.  To explain, my rule wasn’t against sequels, it was against the sequels of memorable movies.  While 1979’s Star Trek:  The Motion Picture might be considered memorable in the sense that it was the first Star Trek movie, the movie itself was so plodding, boring, and unmemorable that when they wrote Star Trek II and all other Star Trek sequels, the producers decided to act as if the first movie never existed, basically to create a time warp and wink it out of existence.  If the Star Trek people themselves deemed that movie to be unmemorable, who am I to argue.  Star Trek II therefore makes the list.

Honorable Mention – Tootsie | An Officer and a Gentleman | Porky’s |Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan  | Poltergeist | Gandhi | Blade Runner | Sophie’s Choice | Victor Victoria |World According to Garp | First Blood

Best Picture – Gandhi

1983 – National Lampoon’s Vacation (Chevy Chase)

Quote –  I don’t know why they call this stuff Hamburger Helper.  It does fine by itself,

Comments –  This year was a major drop off in terms of memorable movies following a string of great years.  National Lampoon’s Vacation is a classic comedy that anybody who has made a cross country trek can identify with.  As a sequel, Return of the Jedi is not eligible.

Honorable Mention – Flashdance | Risky Business | The Big Chill | Scarface

Best Picture – Terms of Endearment

1984 – The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Quote –  I’ll be back.

Comments –  The Terminator is classic both as science fiction and as action adventure.   It made Schwarzenegger a mega-star.   The underlying premise, which I won’t mention as it would spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it, is brilliant.  This was of course followed by Terminator II which did tremendous box office and destroyed the brilliant premise of the first movie.

Honorable Mention – Ghostbusters | Beverly Hills Cop | Gremlins | The Karate Kid | Police Academy | Footloose | A Nightmare on Elm Street

Best Picture – Amadeus

1985 – Back to the Future (Michael J. Fox)

Quote –  Are you telling me that you built a time machine out of a DeLorean?

Comments –  The DeLorean car would have long been forgotten if not for this movie.  Michael J. Fox made this time travel movie a movie for all time.  As a fun note, Back to the Future II went forward to 2015.  Did you fly your car to work today?

Honorable Mention – The Color Purple | Cocoon | The Goonies | The Breakfast Club

Best Picture – Out of Africa

1986 – Top Gun (Tom Cruise)

Quote –  I feel the need, the need for speed.

Comments –  I love most of the memorable movies I discuss here.  I didn’t particularly like Top Gun.  Still, I have heard it referenced countless times over the years and I think it has had a bigger impact on American culture then two movies I liked much better, Crocodile Dundee and Little Shop of Horrors.  Overall, 1986 was a very forgettable year when it comes to memorable movies.

Honorable Mention – Crocodile Dundee | Little Shop of Horror

Best Picture – Platoon

1987 – The Princess Bride (Cary Elwes, Robin Wright)

Quote –  As you wish | Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.

Comments –  My first thought was that Fatal Attraction would be the most memorable movie of 1987.  That was before I realized that The Princess Bride came out in 1987.  I will confess that The Princess Bride is my favorite movie of all time.  It is a great action movie, a great comedy, and a great romance.  I personally must have quoted from this movie at least ten thousand times.  Could somebody else have quoted it more?  Inconceivable.

Honorable Mention – Fatal Attraction |Good Morning, Vietnam |Lethal Weapon |Dirty Dancing | Wall Street

Best Picture – The Last Emperor

1988 – Big (Tom Hanks)

Non-Quote –  Chopsticks on big piano at FAO Schwartz

Comments –  One could make a good argument for any of the honorable mention films to be called the most memorable movie of 1988, but in my opinion, Big with Tom Hanks stands out just a bit from the others.  This was not Tom Hanks first movie, but it is the movie that made him a major star.

Honorable Mention – Rain Man | Who Framed RogIer Rabbit |  Die Hard | Beetlejuice | Beaches | Bull Durham

Best Picture – Rain Man

1989 – When Harry Met Sally (Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan)

Non-Quote –  I’ll have what she’s having.

Comments –  This was a great year for memorable movies starting new trends.  The Little Mermaid led Disney’s second golden age of animation.  Batman started the trend of blockbuster, gritty superhero movies.  When Harry Met Sally led a wave of modern romantic comedies.  Any of these would be the most memorable movie in most years, but they all came out in 1989.  When Harry Met Sally wins by a nose.

Honorable Mention – Batman | Honey, I shrunk the Kids | The Little Mermaid | Driving Miss Daisy | Do the Right Thing | Major League | Roger & Me | Sex, Lies, and Videotape | Weekend at Bernie’s

Best Picture – Driving Miss Daisy

1970-1989 – Star Wars

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 3: the 50s and 60s

In a previous post, I identified what I thought was the most memorable movies of the 30s and 40s.   Today I continue by looking at the movies of the 50s and 60s.  In particular, I think it is interesting to compare the most memorable movies with the movie selected as the best picture of the year.   At the end of this list I pick the most memorable movie of this time period.  In my last segment, I will pick the most memorable movie of all time using the finalist from each time period.  Of course, any list compilation is made to be disagreed with so I welcome other views on these movies.

To recap, here are the criteria for choosing the most memorable movie from each year:

  • Memorable movies become part of our culture.  They may directly become part of our culture, showcase stars who become part of our culture, or launch a genre that becomes part of our culture.
  • Sequels of memorable movies are not eligible.

Based on comments I received after my last post, I added a lot more direct link to film clips.  Every quote on this list is linked to the video of that quote.  I also added a few more.

As an interesting note, in the 40 years I have examined so far, only three of the Academy Award winners made my list as the most memorable movie of the year.  An additional nine made my honorable mention list.  So 28 of the 40 Oscar winning movies during this period did not meet my criteria for being memorable.

1950 – Cinderella

Quotes – Bippity Boppity Boo

Comments – This Disney classic is still one of the best.  While there have been many versions of Cinderella, this version is by the most famous.  As far as an effect on our culture, how many times has a movie been called a Cinderella story? ironically, this includes the recently released Fifty Shades of Grey.  In a personal note when our daughter was one to two years old, she must have watched Cinderella at least three hundred times.  For some reason, she fixated on the villainous cat and whenever she wanted to watch it she asked for “Meow Cat.”

Honorable Mention – Annie Get Your Gun |Sunset Boulevard, Born Yesterday

Best Picture – All About Eve

1951 – A Streetcar Named Desire (Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh)

Quotes  – Hey Stella!“I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers,

Comments – This movie has amazing acting led by Marlon Brando, cementing his claim to stardom and women’s fantasies, and Vivien Leigh winning her second best actress award.

Honorable Mention – Alice in Wonderland, The African Queen, Strangers on a Train, The Day the Earth Stood Still

Best Picture -An American in Paris

1952 – Singin’ in the Rain (Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor)

Quotes  –  I’m Singin’ in the Rain 

Comments – Over sixty years later, Gene Kelly’s title masterpiece is still arguably the most famous one person song and dance routine ever.  Interestingly, only two songs, Make ‘Em Laugh and Moses, were original to this movie.  All of the other songs, including the title tune, had been used elsewhere before.

Honorable Mention – High Noon

Best Picture -The Greatest Show On Earth

1953 – Peter Pan

Quotes  – You can fly!  You can fly!  You can fly!

Comments – Once again a Disney animated film is the most remembered.  The Peter Pan ride still has the longest lines in the Magic Kingdom.   One can debate whether the book, the Disney movie, or the play originally starring Mary Martin had the biggest role in embedding Peter Pan as a fixture in our culture and in our cabinets:

Honorable Mention – From Here to Eternity |Shane |Gentlemen Prefer Blondes |Stalag 17 | Roman Holiday | Kiss Me Kate

Best Picture -From Here to Eternity

1954 – White Christmas (Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye)

Quotes  –  I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.

Comments – Bing Crosby’s rendition of Irving Berlin’s classic title song remains a favorite and is forever associated with this movie, but most people don’t know (including me until now) that it Crosby first sang it in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn.

Honorable Mention – Brigadoon |Godzilla |  Rear Window | The Caine Mutiny |A Star is Born |On the Waterfront

Best Picture – On the Waterfront

1955 – Oklahoma (Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones)

Quotes  – Oklahoma where the wind comes sweepin down the plain!

Comments -This was Rogers & Hammerstein’s first big hit.  Every high school has performed its since then at least twenty times.

Honorable Mention – East of Eden

Best Picture – Marty

1956 – The Ten Commandments (Charlton Heston)

Quotes  – Behold his mighty hand!

Comments -This movie defines the biblical epic.  Charlton Heston is and will always be Moses.

Honorable Mention – The King and I |The Searchers |The Bad Seed |Carousel |Forbidden Planet |Giant |Invasion of the Body Snatchers | Love Me Tender

Best Picture – Around the World in 80 Days

1957 – An Affair to Remember (Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr)

Quotes  – See comments.

Comments -I will confess that I have never seen this movie.  I have, however, heard quite a bit about it, particularly the planned meeting on the roof of the Empire State Building but I personally am not aware of any famous quotes from the movie.  Nevertheless, I have heard so many women say they have watched it many times and cried every time. The movie Sleepless in Seattle paid reverence to An Affair to Remember.  I seriously considered naming Old Yeller as the most memorable movie of the year.  Together these movies made 1957 the weepiest year in movie history.

Honorable Mention – The Bridge on the River Kwai |Gunfight at the OK Corral | Old Yeller

Best Picture – The Bridge on the River Kwai

1958 – The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (special effects by Ray Harryhausen)

Non -Quote  – Ray Harryhausen’s monsters

Comments This was a tough year to pick a winner.  There were a lot of memorable movies, but there wasn’t one that greatly stood out from the rest.  I finally decided on the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.   It was one of my favorite movies as a kid.   I couldn’t tell you any of the actors and until I saw this clip I couldn’t quote a single line from this movie.  But I remembered the monsters and the special effects.  Ray Harryhausen was the master of special effects for that era.  Incidentally, almost fifty years later, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure now has an Eigth Voyage of Sinbad stunt show.

Honorable Mention – South Pacific | Auntie Mame | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof |Gigi |The Defiant Ones |Damn Yankees | The Fly |  Vertigo

Best Picture – Gigi

1959 – Some Like it Hot (Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe)

Quotes  – Well, nobody’s perfect.

Comments –  In 2000, the American Film Institute named Some Like It Hot the funniest American movie of all time.  Its comic device of having men hide out pretending to be women has often been duplicated but never been equaled.  This was was a great year for memorable movies.  I was strongly tempted to choose Plan 9 from Outer Space by being memorable for being what many people call the worst movie ever made.

Honorable Mention – Sleeping Beauty | North by Northwest | Pillow Talk | The Diary of Anne Frank |Gidget |Li’l Abner | The Mummy | Plan 9 from Outer Space | Porgy and Bess | The Shaggy Dog | Ben-Hur

Best Picture – Ben-Hur

1960 – Psycho (Anthony Perkins)

Non-Quote  – The Shower Scene

Comments –  Alfred Hitchcock made many memorable movies but Psycho is by far the movie that is most embedded in the American culture.  The new TV series, The Bates Motel will be starting its third season next week.  Alfred Hitchcock

Honorable Mention – Spartacus  |The Little Shop of Horrors | The Magnificent Seven

Best Picture – The Apartment

1961 – West Side Story (Natalie Wood)

Quote  – I just met a girl named Maria.

Comments –  Great music, great choreogropy, and an emotion-wrenching modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet made West Side story a classic.

Honorable Mention – The Parent Trap | One Hundred and One Dalmations | Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Best Picture – West Side Story

1962 – To Kill a Mockingbird (Gregory Peck)

Quote  – You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

Comments –  After 1939, 1962 ranks as the second best year for memorable movies in my research so far.  Lawrence of Arabia, The Music Man, The Miracle Worker, and Dr. No all would have been the most memorable movie of any other year.  The American Film Institute ranked Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch as the greatest movie hero of all time.  I and almost every other school child in America saw To Kill a Mockingbird as part of our education.  It is the one lesson in school that nobody ever forgets.

Honorable Mention – Lawrence of Arabia | The Music Man |Gypsy |What Ever Happened to Baby Jane | The Miracle Worker | Dr. No | King Kong vs. Godzilla | The Manchurian Candidate

Best Picture – Lawrence of Arabia

1963 – The Pink Panther (Peter Sellers)

Non-Quote  –  The character Inspector Clouseau

Comments –  The year 1963 made me question my self-imposed rule against sequels.  From Russia with Love was the second James Bond movie.  The first James Bond movie, Dr. No, came out in 1962 and it would have ranked as the most memorable in almost any year that didn’t have To Kill a Mockingbird, and I was sorely tempted to rank it as the most memorable movie of the year in compensation.  At the same time, The Pink Panther first establishes Peter Sellers in the unforgettable role of Inspector Clouseau, but the character didn’t reach his zenith until later films such as A Shot in the Dark in 1964 and The Return of The Pink Panther in 1975.  The best Clouseau quotes and scenes were all from later films.

The reason I set this rule in the beginning is that so, for example, we didn’t have eight years in a row of Harry Potter movies on the list.  I finally decided, however, that my original rule was a good one.  The original movie is what begins the memory.  Later installments may surpass the original, but the original is the key, and it should “compete” in its own year.  A sequel shouldn’t be recognized as a consolation prize.

Honorable Mention – It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Nutty Professor, The Great Escape

Best Picture – Tom Jones

1964 – Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke)

Quote  –  Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Comments –  Mary Poppins is without any close competition the favorite movie of my childhood.  The story was literally and figuratively magical, the music was captivating, and the insertion of live characters into animated sequences was groundbreaking.

Honorable Mention – My Fair Lady | A Fistful of Dollars | The Unsinkable Molly Brown | Dr. Strangelove

Best Picture – My Fair Lady

1965 – The Sound of Music (Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer)

Quote  –  The hills are alive with the sound of music.

Comments – Picking the Sound of Music as the most memorable movie of 1965 is as simple as do re mi.  For the last fifty years, I doubt any music teacher has ever had to teach an American child what the names of the seven notes are.

Honorable Mention – Dr. Zhivago

Best Picture – The Sound of Music

1966 – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton)

Quote  –  What a Dump!

Comments – The poet Virginia Woolf gained far more fame from being referenced in this play and movie title than she ever got from her poetry.

Honorable Mention -none

Best Picture – A Man for all Seasons

1967 – The Graduate (Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft)

Quote  –  Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me? | Plastics

Comments – While 1966 had a paucity of memorable films, 1967 was quite a memorable year in cinema with numerous films that made an impact.  Among these, Mike Nichols’ The Graduate stands out, from the soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkle, the witty script, and Dustin Hoffman’s brilliant acting.

Honorable Mention – The Jungle Book | Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner | Bonnie and Clyde | The Dirty Dozen | Camelot | Cool Hand Luke | Dr. Dolittle | In the Heat of the Night

Best Picture – In the Heat of the Night

1968 – Planet of the Apes

Quote  –  We finally really did it.  You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell! | Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!

Comments – 1968 was another great year for movies.  It illustrates perfectly too the difference between a wonderful movie and a memorable movie.  Oliver won the Academy award for best movie of 1968.  Personally, I love Oliver.  It has a classic story and a delightful musical score.  To me, personally, it is a very memorable movie.  It didn’t last though.   I would have guessed at the time that the song Consider Yourself would become a classic.  It didn’t.  The movie didn’t stay as part of the American culture.  The memorable line, “Please sir, may I have some more?” can be attributed more to the book than to the movie.

In contrast, Planet of the Apes is part of our culture.  The surprise ending at the statue of liberty is classic.    It spawned numerous sequels with a reboot in 2001.  This last year,   In 2014, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was one of the most popular movies of the year.  In fact, all of the honorable mention movies have had a greater impact on our culture than Oliver.

Honorable Mention – 2001: A Space Odyssey | Funny Girl | The Love Bug | The Odd Couple  | Rosemary’s Baby | Night of the Living Dead |  The Producers

Best Picture – Oliver!

1969 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 

Quote  – Kid:  I can’t swim.   Butch: Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.

Comments – Redford and Newman were one of the great teams in movie history.  This movie made them legendary together.

Honorable Mention – Easy Rider | True Grit

Best Picture – Midnight Cowboy

1950-1969 – The Sound of Music

The Most Memorable Movies of All Time – Part 2: the 30s and 40s

In my last post, I discussed how I was inspired to compile a list of the most memorable movies of all time.   I will be looking at movies in twenty year segments, which I will intersperse with my other blog entries.  At the end of this list I pick the most memorable movie of this time period.  In my last segment, I will pick the most memorable movie of all time using the finalist from each time period.  Of course, any list compilation is made to be disagreed with so I welcome other views on these movies.

To recap, here are the criteria for choosing the most memorable movie from each year:

  • Memorable movies become part of our culture.  They may directly become part of our culture, showcase stars who become part of our culture, or launch a genre that becomes part of our culture.
  • Sequels of memorable movies are not eligible.

1930 – Animal Crackers (The Marx Brothers)

Quotes – Hooray for Captain Spaulding! the African Explorer! | One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.

Comments – This movie is the essential Marx Brothers.

Honorable Mention – none

Best Picture – All Quiet on the Western Front

1931 – Dracula (Bela Lugosi)

Quotes – I am Dracula. I bid you welcome.

Comments – Dracula was not the first vampire movie but it is the most famous.  It spawned countless vampire based movies and TV shows.

Honorable Mention – Frankenstein | The Public Enemy

Best Picture – Cimarron

1932 – Tarzan the Ape Man  (Johny Weismuller, Maureen Sullivan)

Quotes – The Tarzan Yell | Me Tarzan, You Jane

Comments – Me Tarzan, You Jane was not actually in the movie but since we are talking American culture, misquotes count.  Carol Burnett performed the Tarzan yell in almost every episode of her long-running TV show and Tarzan is one of the most famous movie characters ever.  There have been many movie Tarzans, but Johny Weismuller is the Tarzan everybody remembers.  Here is a link to his yell:

Honorable Mention – Scarface | Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Best Picture – Grand Hotel

1933 – King Kong  (Fay Wray)

Quotes – It was beauty killed the beast.

Comments – The most memorable moment was King Kong climbing the Empire State Building.  If you’ve never heard Bob Newhart’s routine as the guard on duty at the Empire State Building that night, it is well worth listening to.

Honorable Mention – 42nd Street

Best Picture – Cavalcade

1934 – none

Comments – The Oscars have to have a winner every year.  I don’t have to.  I don’t think any movies from this year really stand out as memorable.  I considered “It Happened One Night” with the walls of Jericho but it didn’t quite meet up to my criteria.

Best Picture – It Happened One Night

1935 – none

Comments -I considered both Mutiny on the Bounty and Top Hat (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers), but neither quite met my standard of becoming part of the American culture.

Honorable Mention – none

Best Picture – Mutiny on the Bounty

1936 – Showboat  (Irene Dunn)

Quotes – Old Man River, that Old Man River

Comments -Showboat is the first true modern musical.  Before Showboat, musicals were just a collection of songs and dances strung together.  Showboat had a plot, a heart, and a message.  Paul Robson’s rendition of “Ol’ Man River” was stirring.  My father frequently would go around the house singing it.

Honorable Mention – none

Best Picture – The Great Ziegfield

1937 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  

Quotes – Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go! | Someday My prince will come.

Comments -Snow White was the first full length animated movie and is still a classic in its own right.  Almost eighty years after its debut, Disneyworld’s latest attraction is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  That is a perfect example of what I mean by a movie becoming part of our culture.

Honorable Mention – none

Best Picture – The Life of Emile Zola

1938 – The Adventures of Robin Hood (Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland) 

Quotes – Welcome to Sherwood ( )

Comments -There have been many Robin Hood movies, but Errol Flynn is and always will be Robin Hood.

Honorable Mention – none

Best Picture – You Can’t Take it With You

1939 – The Wizard of Oz (Judy Garland) 

Quotes -Toto, we’re not in Kansas any more. | I’ll get you my pretty and your little dog too! | Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

Comments -Gone With the Wind would have been the most memorable movie in any year but 1939.  Without a doubt, 1939 was the best year for great movies ever.  The Wizard of Oz is the American fairy tale, embedded in our culture like no other.

Honorable Mention – Gone With the Wind | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington |The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Good Bye Mr. Chips | The Hound of the Baskervilles | Beau Geste | Stagecoach (John Wayne) | Wuthering Heights

Best Picture – Gone With the Wind

1940 – Pinocchio

Quotes – A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.

Comments – If you say you have never heard of Pinocchio, your nose will grow.

Honorable Mention – Grapes of Wrath, My Little Chickadee, Fantasia

Best Picture – Rebecca

1941 – Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)

Quotes -Rosebud.

Comments – This movie is mentioned as one of the greatest movies of all time and it lost the Academy Award to a movie that most people have never heard of.

Honorable Mention – Sergent York | Dumbo | The Wolf Man

Best Picture – How Green Was My Valley

1942 – The Pride of The Yankees (Gary Cooper)

Quotes -Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.

Comments – This is a movie where a single line, drawn from real life, made it one of the most memorable sports movies ever.

Honorable Mention – Yankee Doodle Dandy

Best Picture – Mrs. Miniver

1943 – Casablanca (Humphrey Bogart)

Quotes -Here’s looking at you, kid | We’ll always have Paris.  | Louie, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Comments – This is one of the few years where the academy got it right.  I could have filled this entire blog just with recognizable quotes from this movie.

Honorable Mention – Lassie Come Home | Phantom of the Opera

Best Picture – Casablanca

1944 – none

Comments – I strongly considered Arsenic and Old Lace, Meet Me in St. Louis, National Velvet, To Have and Have Not, and Double Indemnity, but none of these quite measure up to the standard of being embedded in the American Culture.

Honorable Mention – none

Best Picture – Going My Way

1945 – none

Comments -This year didn’t have a single movie that I was even tempted to name as most memorable movie.

Honorable Mention – none

Best Picture – The Lost Weekend

1946 – It’s a Wonderful Life (Jimmy Stewart)

Quotes -Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.

Comments – This movie, originally considered a disappointment, has become a holiday classic.  As a side note, the villain Henry Potter went on to have a more lucrative career using his nickname.

Honorable Mention – The Song of the South

Best Picture – The Best Years of Our Lives

1947 – Miracle on 34th Street (Natalie Wood)

Quotes -Your Honor, every one of these letters is addressed to Santa Claus. The Post Office has delivered them. Therefore the Post Office Department, a branch of the Federal Governent, recognizes this man Kris Kringle to be the one and only Santa Claus.

Comments – Macy’s is one of the biggest retailers in the world and it is still primarily known for its Santa Claus from this movie.

Honorable Mention – none

Best Picture – Gentleman’s Agreement

1948 – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Humphrey Bogart)

Quotes -Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!

Comments – This line is often misquoted as “We don’t need no stinking badges!”.  This along with “Play it Again, Sam” misquoted from Casablanca led me to the conclusion that every great Humphrey Bogart film must have a famous misquote.

Honorable Mention – none

Best Picture – Hamlet

1949 – none

Comments – This year didn’t have a single movie I seriously considered.

Honorable Mention – none

Best Picture – All the King’s Men

1930-1949 – The Wizard of Oz

Problems, Concerns, and Annoyances – Keeping Your Perspective

As human beings, we tend to spend a fair amount of time feeling upset about one thing or another.  As being upset is typically not the most pleasant way to spend the afternoon, I try to keep perspective by dividing anything that might upset me into one of three categories:  problems, concerns, and annoyances.

  • A problem is an imminent threat that if it goes poorly it could significantly effect your life or the life of someone you care about one year from now.
  • A concern is a threat that if it goes poorly it could significantly effect your life or the life of someone you care about one year from now, but it is not imminent.  It could occur but it probably won’t occur.
  • An annoyance is anything that if it goes poorly will not affect your life a year from now.

Here are some distinctions:


  • My spouse has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Cancer.
  • My company just had layoffs.  I wasn’t in this round of layoffs but we expect more layoffs later this month.


  • My spouse has unhealthy eating habits.
  • My company may do poorly if the economy takes a downturn.


  • My spouse didn’t do the dishes last night.
  • My co-worker messed up at work so now I have to work all weekend.

Most of us spend much of our time getting ourselves all worked up over annoyances.  Yes, annoyances are annoying but they won’t kill us.  Annoyances aren’t worth the mental anguish of upsetting ourselves.  We just need to tell ourselves that in the long run, it doesn’t make any difference then just get past it without wasting our mental energy.

For concerns we should spend some mental energy to try to make sure our concerns don’t become problems or to mitigate the problems if they do occur.  For example, we might prepare healthier meals or learn a new job skill that could be useful if your current job goes away.  We should not waste our mental energy getting upset over things that are unlikely to occur.

Save your mental energy for the true problems in life, the ones that count.  And if by some chance you are at a time in your life that you don’t have problems, just concerns and annoyances, take a moment to savor it.  We tend to get so caught up in our annoyances and concerns that we forget to appreciate the times our lives are truly blessed.


Books That Have Changed Me

I love to read.  There are many, many books I have loved.  There are only a handful that have changed who I am as a person, the way I live my life or the way I think.  I’d like to share these books in the order I read them:

  • “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie – This is the best self help book ever written.  Dale Carnegie himself said that his book was not filled with original ideas.  It is filled with the every day common sense methods for dealing with people that are very uncommon in actual use.  It is not a book in manipulation.  It is a book that helps you appreciate people and bring out the best in them.  It also contains wonderful stories and is a delight to read.
  • “Let’s Get Results, Not Excuses:  A no-nonsense Approach to Increasing Productivity, Performance and Profit” by James M. Bleech and Dr. David G. Mutchler – This is a book that some people get immediately and some people will just laugh at.  It starts with the premise that you have success or excuses but you don’t have both.  If you are successful, you don’t need excuses.  One path to success is to figure out in advance that if you fail, what excuses might you have for your failure.  Then you proactively work to prevent the need for excuses.  A key aspect of this is that you stop making excuses.  When you are not successful, you take responsibility.  For example, I don’t say “I was late because of traffic.”  Instead, I say “I was late because I did not allow enough time to account for traffic problems.”
  • “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand –  I have for a long time believed that capitalism was the most effective economic system, but I felt that socialism was morally superior.  Rand convincingly (to me) argues that capitalism is not only the most effective system, it is also morally superior.  She uses her fiction, most notably “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead” to argue her philosophy which she calls Objectivism.  She also wrote many non-fiction philosophical books.   Atlas Shrugged is a long, long book and can be intimidating.  If you are new to Ayn Rand, I would actually start with her short novella “Anthem” which can be read in just a few bathroom sittings.  If you like “Anthem”, you can proceed to “Atlas Shrugged”.
  • “Basic Economics” by Dr. Thomas Sowell – Dr. Sowell does an amazing job in defining economics for the layman.  Most political issues have an economic component.  Dr. Sowell teaches you how to analyze issues so you can understand and anticipate the actual effects of different policies, which are very often the exact opposite of what their proponents intended.

The last three books are from the world of investing and stock trading.  I took no interest in managing my own investments for the first 45 or so years of my life.  I therefore was oblivious to many amazing opportunities.  Now learning how to invest/trade has become a major focus in my life.  These are the best three books I have found on investing.

  • “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” by Edwin Lefevre – This book is the autobiography of Jesse Livermore, generally considered to be the greatest trader of all time.  This is the book that first got me truly interested in the stock market. First, it is a wonderful read with amazing stories.  Second, it is a guidebook on how a great trader thinks.  Every time I re-read this book, I learn lessons that strike home that I was not able to appreciate in prior readings.
  • “How to Make Money in Stocks” by William O’Neil – O’Neill is one of the greatest traders of the modern era.  This book is basically the bible for growth investing.   Most new investors crash and burn early then give up on investing. The most important thing this  book will do for you is that if you follow its key principles, it will prevent you from wiping out.  It will keep you in the game, limiting losses as you make your initial mistakes until you have enough experience to be a profitable investor.
  • “Trade like a Stock Market Wizard” by Mark Minervini – Minervini is an O’Neil disciple and a former United States investing champion.  He spent his first eight years or so being unsuccessful.  Once he refined his techniques, he put together an amazing number of large win years without ever experiencing a large losing year.  My investing improved substantially once I began following Minervini’s principles.  

The Wisdom of the Sims – How the Concept of Rotations Has Enriched My Life

I used to play a computer game called The Sims.  In this game, you control a character as he or she goes through every day life.  You direct the character in everything from making career decisions to when to cook meals and when to go to the bathroom.  It was a surprisingly fun and addicting game.   In this game, you don’t win or you lose but you try to improve your character’s life and make the character happier.

Directing the character really isn’t the best term.  You make suggestions and the character may or may not follow the suggestions.  For example, you might suggest that the character study for a test but if the character isn’t in a good mood, the character will balk at your suggestion and refuse to do it.  You can then have the character do something enjoyable such as listen to music or play basketball to increase his “fun” points till he is in a good enough mood to study for the test.  To progress your character you need to strike a good balance between what the character should do and what the character wants to do.

I find that I am very much like the Sims character.  For example, I trade the stock market.  In the evening I know I should spend some time looking at market activity, analyzing charts or learning more about trading, but I feel I just don’t have the energy and am not in the mood so I don’t, and my trading suffers and I lose money as a result.

When I started learning Chinese, I was spending some time every evening, doing at least one Rosetta Stone session and often more than one.  Then I started feeling guilty.  I was thinking if I can summon the energy to study Chinese, I should be able to spend some time on my stock market education.  I decided that after one Rosetta Stone segment, I could not do another segment unless I did something, anything, on the stock market first.  I found that this worked very well.  Soon I expanded it to other areas and came up with the concept of what I call “Rotations”

What I learned about myself is that I like doing things for a short amount of time and then moving on to something else.  I ended up with a series of rotations, each representing one area of where I should spend time to lead a productive, fulfilling, happy life.  Your rotation areas might be different.  These areas are:

Passionate Interest – Find something you always wanted to do or learn about but never got around to.  For me it is learning Chinese.  For someone else it might be painting or learning guitar.

Financial – Learn how to manage your financial affairs better.  I primarily focus on stock market trading.  For somebody else it might be looking into mutual funds or tracking a budget.

Fun – Do what ever you want that makes you enjoy at the moment.  It might be watching TV, reading, or whatever your little heart desires.

Chores – Something that needs to get done around the house.  It could be doing dishes, cleaning a shelf, or paying the bills.

Health – Do something that improves your health.  It could be exercising, flossing your teeth, tracking your weight-watcher points, or taking your medication.

Relations – Do something that improves your relationships with somebody else.  It could be Facebook messaging a friend, calling your grandmother, or talking to your kids.

News – Improve your knowledge of the world around you.  It could be reading a news magazine, browsing a news website, reading a book on economics or politics, or watching a news show.

I try to do rotations as much as possible when my time is under my own control, when I am not at work and when I am not doing something with my wife.  The goal is to do something in each, even if it is something very small.  For example, for health for one rotation I might run on the treadmill.  On another, I will just floss my teeth.  I find that by doing rotations, I am much more productive, much happier, more fulfilled, and I feel my life is in balance.

I suggest that you come up with your own set of rotations and try it.  See what it does for your life.