We all love old movies. They are classic, timeless, nostalgic and cleaner than the junk on television these days. Or are they? I was forced to re-think some of the viewing choices I made early on or rather some of the movies I was allowed to watch as a child. During a recent conversation with work colleagues where we took a trip down TV memory lane, I found that the content of some of the stuff I spent hours and hours of my childhood watching was rather mature.
The following shows made my list of movies that I deem slightly child-inappropriate and will not be letting my kids, or any kid in my care see.
Don’t be taken in by the spirited dance numbers and catchy sing-a-longs. This movie was actually laced with adult content like teen sex (there was lots of suggestive backseat car talk) and teen pregnancy( Rizzo feared she was pregnant with Kenickie‘s baby).
In the slumber party scene the other girls teased Sandy for her prudish disposition in the song Sandra-Dee. Just look at these lyrics from the first stanza
“Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee
Lousy with virginity
Won’t go to bed ’til I’m legally wed
I can’t; I’m Sandra Dee”
I believe I was no less than five years old when I first saw this movie people – and we had it on monthly replay in my household, as I’m sure was the case in many homes around the world. Clearly this isn’t one for your pre-teens.
The Sound of Music
Again I was barely out of nappies when I saw this movie and I could never for the life me figure out why such a happy movie suddenly became dark. Why the family suddenly became fugitives and had to leave their beautiful home, and why Rolfe (the handsome teenage messenger boy who liked Leisle) became cold and horrible and stopped being nice to Leisle.
What my innocent mind did not grasp at the time was the movie was set on the backdrop of the outbreak of world war 2. The Nazis had annexed Austria, where the Von Trapp family lived, into the third Reich, and Rolfe, had become a Nazi youth. Of course it makes sense now, but back then I just couldn’t reconcile Captain Von Trapp ripping up a swastika flag and the family stealing away in the middle of the night with all the fun I was having singing along with Frauline Maria and the children just moments before.
If you ask me this movie was in fact a tragedy. I’m glad the Von Trapp family managed to escape into the hills but millions of others fell at the hands of this vile regime. And there’s their friend Max Detweiler, the guy who helped the family escape. I can’t shake the feeling that he would have suffered some ill fate for his actions.
Somehow I don’t think films with Nazi related themes should be viewed by anyone not old enough to have studied it in school.
I’m containing the laughter as I try to explain this one, but don’t worry you’ll see it too once I’m done. If there is any cartoon I can watch in marathon stretches its Scooby Doo. And I did. Every half term, school holiday or weekend that The Cartoon Network showed re-runs.
It is my firmly held belief that the entire animated cast of Scooby Doo were on drugs. Marijuana to be precise. Here’s how I know.
- It was set in the 1960s/70s and if the psychedelic colours and the flower power images were not already a huge giveaway for pot use, I don’t know what is.
- The mystery machine is in fact a Volkswagen campervan, which everyone knows was the most popular mode of transport for hippies during the free love movement of that time. Again, points a huge finger in the way of drugs.
- Fred and the gang were teenagers. Have you seen That 70’s Show? Eric’s basement? Need I say more?
- Shaggy. I can leave this point simply as ‘Shaggy’ and have perfectly illustrated my point, but I’ll expand. Shaggy could not talk like a normal human being. He says things like ‘like scoob…’and laughs between sentences. Everyone knows that everything is funnier when you’re high.
- They understood Scooby. I bet all Scooby was really doing was barking like a regular dog. But somehow these four kids with audio-sensory organs sharpened, or impaired, depending on how you see it, from frequent drug use can understand every word this dog says!
- I’ve seen Scooby do things that is impossible for his canine counterparts to do. I know its animation, but even other cartoon dogs that I know couldn’t do the things Scooby could do.
- Which leads me nicely into Scooby snacks. Hash cakes maybe? I’d say so. His and Shaggy’s high rate of consumption of the stuff suggests they were probably highly addictive. It also seemed to give them bursts of energy and made Scooby extra sharp when hunting bad guys.
- Shaggy and Scooby were ALWAYS hungry! They ate so much yet stayed so thin. They were regularly seen eating layered stacks of sandwiches in one fell gulp! Any weed smoker will confirm that one of the effects of getting high is that you constantly have the munchies (yes that’s the official medical term for it). You’re always hungry and you are also able to remain stick thin even on a diet of four teenage male gorillas (see Snoop Dogg/Lion).
I actually can’t say I was wrongly influenced in anyway by any of these shows. It was all just good fun at the end of the day. I’m sure no one can claim to have been scandalised as a child by any of the films listed. I was only interested in the singing anyway, and I was none the wiser about any of the underlying themes. But it has got me thinking about what we considered child-friendly and good family entertainment.