Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bambi: The E! True Hollywood Story

I haven't pimped my first book, IN THE DARK: A LIFE AND TIMES IN A MOVIE THEATER, in quite a long time. In fact, I've never provided an excerpt in this here blog. So, for the first time, please enjoy this clip entitled:


BAMBI was the first movie I never saw.

My mom used to like to tell the story of taking me to see the classic Disney cartoon back when I couldn’t have been more than two years old. I don’t recall this momentous occasion in my life, which, more than likely, was probably my first exposure to the world cinema. Even though she stretched the truth here and there, Ma didn’t lie, so this is the way it supposedly came down.

Apparently, all I kept saying on the way to the movie theater was “I wanna see
Bambi! I wanna see Bambi!” (Awww…Baby’s first mantra…) Once we arrived, we
passed the lobby display for the film, which I would assume to have been the famous shot
of Bambi, turning around and checking out the butterfly on his ass...eh, tail. I was totally
mesmerized by this life-size cartoon image. The size alone dwarfed my lil’ toddler self
so, needless to say, I was pretty darn impressed already. Then again, everything was big
in those days. Even poodles.

Anyway, with me in my mother’s loving arms, into the auditorium we went to
find us a suitable seat for the duration of the picture show. Once that mission had been
accomplished and we were settled, I must have felt it was high time that I start my war
cry once again, this time a little more manic and ten times more repetitious.

“I wanna see Bambi! I wanna see Bambi!”

Mom kept reassuring me that, in just a few minutes, I would be able to do that
very thing.

“So pipe down, will ya?”

Mom often quoted from the Mickey Spillane Book of Childcare.

“I wanna see Bambi! I wanna see Bambi!”

Finally, the lights dimmed and the movie mercifully started. You’d think that
might have appeased me or, at the very least, shut me up a little. Uh-uh. I was even more
incessant and, perhaps, just a little crazed.

“I wanna see Bambi! I wanna see Bambi!”

Mom pointed up to the screen and said, “There! Look up there! There’s Bambi!”

“No!” I argued and pointed toward the lobby. “I wanna see Bambi!”

My mother figured it out and immediately schlepped me back out to the front so I
could once again gaze at the cardboard cutout of Bambi. It did the trick, lulling me into
enough of a tranquilized state that I finally did pipe down once and for all. We never
again ventured inside to see the movie, my mom not wanting to take the chance that I
might snap at any given moment. So, we stayed in the lobby for the rest of the show until
it was safe to go on home.

To this day, I cannot remember if I ever saw BAMBI at all, except in clips, of
course. Therefore, I’ve never had to suffer the childhood trauma of witnessing the
gangland hit on Bambi’s mom, another helpless victim of wilderness genocide. (Disney
did nail me a few years later with a documentary from the True Life Adventure series
called THE LEGEND OF LOBO. I’ve NEVER recovered from that nightmare.)

From the BAMBI experience, I’ve come away with a story that may or may not
have happened as it was told over the years. It has probably been as fabricated as that
cardboard lobby display was, lo, so many years ago. But, since I’ve never seen the movie,
there is one thing I would like to know…

Even if they were deer, just who in the hell names a boy Bambi anyway?

The Kindle edition of IN THE DARK : A LIFE AND TIMES IN A MOVIE THEATER is now on sale at Amazon.com.

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