Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Shop, Summer, Mail


        Sometime between the birth of brother Corey and the arrival of my sister Kayla, my parents decided to finish the basement.  I moved from my upstairs bedroom to the coolness of the basement.  They also had a phone put in at the end of the hall next to the laundry room.

        I don't know how old I was, but suspect it was after I had graduated high school when I heard the phone ring.  Mom had already answered the upstairs phone by the time I got to it.  Out of curiosity, I went upstairs to inquire about the phone call.  Mom said that it was her visiting teaching partner and she'd be leaving pretty soon.

        She had just started watching the movie "The Shop Around the Corner" with Margaret Sullivan and James Stewart and asked me to continue watching it for her so that I could tell her what she had missed.  We had a VCR, I think I offered to record it.  Or perhaps the recorder wasn't working.  I don't remember why we didn't record it.  I allowed myself to get roped into watching. 
        "The Shop Around the Corner"  is an old movie from 1940.  It surprised me that mom had not seen it already it, as she certainly had watched a lot of old movies and I had suspected everything with Jimmy Stewart but either couldn't remember or had missed this one.
        The characters' names were Klara and Alfred.  They both worked at the curio shop (at least I think they did) and didn't seem pleasant toward one another - mostly her to him. During the course of the movie we learn that each of them has a penpal they are currently writing but it is done secretly so not as to reveal each other's identity.  Eventually Alfred learns that he and Klara are penpals to each other, but she doesn't learn the truth until toward the end of the movie.
        The entire time I was watching it, the plot just seemed so familiar to me.  I know that I had never seen "The Shop Around the Corner"  before, but I was able to predict what events would happen.  How is it that I knew?  I finally figured it out  just before my mom returned.
        She had been watching "In the Good Old Summertime" just a few weeks prior and had been telling me that Judy Garland's character had been receiving anonymous letters from Van Johnson's character, and she'd been writing to him - and he knew, but she didn't.  I really hadn't been interested nor do I recall ever seeing it the entire way through.  But apparently I had watched enough to see the similarities.   

        So when she returned home to ask me about it, I turned to her and said, "This is In the Good Old Summertime without music."
      
       "No"
        I don't know why she didn't want to believe me.  So I started pointing to different characters and described what their role was.
       "Okay, that girl, there (I did not know Margaret Sullivan by name) she and Jimmy Stewart have been corresponding using false names.  And he knows it, but she doesn't know it."
        She asked me two or three questions which I don't recall, and I answered accordingly.  Finally, she came up with a question that only applies to one movie, but not the other.
        "What about the violin (or other stringed instrument; I forget)"
        "What violin?"
        I can't even remember what explanation she gave of why it was important to the story.
        "There is no violin.  But there is a curio box"
        "Oh, this is not the same movie at all."
          According to IMDB.com, "In this musical remake of The Shop Around the Corner, feuding co-workers in a small music shop do not realize they are secret romantic pen pals." We did not have (or know about) IMDB back then and so I was unable to prove my point.


       Several years later, "You've Got Mail" was featured in Theatres.  Instead of Penpals, Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) would email one another.  Rather than exist as co-workers, they were actually business rivals.  I love that movie.  I loved Meg Ryan's character.  Of the three, it is my favorite. 




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