50 years ago, in February of 1973, I was nine going on 10 and lived in a house in Westchester – an unincorporated suburb of Miami, Florida – with my widowed mother and my older half-sister Victoria, aka Vicky.
I attended Tropical Elementary, a public school that even though it was in the same zone as Coral Park Elementary – the school closest to my house in the Coral Estates Park neighborhood – was further away from home and required me to be bussed there. I had gone to Coral Park at the start of the 1972-1973 school year, but because there was no Special Education department there to accommodate my multiple “special needs” as a disabled student, I was transferred to Tropical in mid-November of 1972.
Back then, I didn’t go to the movies much; there wasn’t a movie theater in the neighborhood, and both Mom and Vicky were working at Palmetto General Hospital in the nutrition department – although my half-sister would eventually get a job at a nursing home called Green Briar some time later – so I had no easy way to get to the Gables Twin Theater or the Dadeland Twin Theater, much less the Tropicaire Drive-In on SW 40th Street, which were “the closest” movie houses.
That’s not to say that I never went to “the movies” when I was 10; I clearly remember going to see Charlotte’s Web, an animated adaptation of E.B. White’s eponymous children’s book that was co-directed by Iwao Takamoto and Charles A. Nichols, both of whom worked for the Hanna-Barbera animation studio owned by producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
Oddly enough, even though I normally did not like to read children’s books at that time, I did read White’s book about the unlikely friendship between Wilbur, the “runt” pig saved from the chopping block by a girl named Fern, and Charlotte, a spider who becomes Wilbur’s main protector and mother figure. It is a tribute to E.B. White’s talents as a storyteller when I admit that as “grown up” my reading tastes were in 1973, Charlotte’s Web not only made me cry, but it made me want to see the animated version.
Charlotte’s Web was the only 1973 film I remember seeing in a theater setting in the year it came out. It was also the first one that I saw by myself; my mom took me to see it at the then-Gables Twin Plaza in Coral Gables, but she had many errands to run on her day off from work, so she dropped me off, gave enough money for the ticket, a soda, popcorn, and an extra quarter to use the pay phone and call her at home when the movie ended.
Looking at a list of movies from 1973, I recognize titles of movies I’ve seen – either entirely or in part – on TV but not in theaters, including:
- The Day of the Dolphin
- Battle for the Planet of the Apes
- Executive Action
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull
- Papillon (I watched this one in high school when my 12th grade English class read the book by Henri Charriere)
On home media, including DVD and Blu-ray, I own three of 1973’s biggest hits:
- American Graffiti
- Live and Let Die (James Bond #8)
- The Sting
Update on The Fabelmans 4K Blu-ray
As of this writing, Amazon still has my pre-order of The Fabelmans listed as Not Yet Shipped and with a projected delivery date of Tuesday, February 21.
Based on my experiences with pre-orders on Amazon, this is not unusual, especially at a time when the transportation/distribution network is clogged and the North American disc replication plant is dealing with a backlog of movie and video game releases that need to be made at the same location.
While I hope for a shipping/delivery date later this week, I’ll just be happy to get my order – whenever it arrives.
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