Watching the below video compilation, I wondered what my own earliest onscreen memory of satisfying humor was; what movies I watched as a child that were meant to make me laugh, and succeeded in doing so.
Tough; because I can’t recall much, not because there weren’t any, but because I just don’t remember. It’s been a long while since my childhood (I was born in the mid-1970s), and much of what I recall watching were lots of James Bond movies, as well as musicals like “Sound of Music,” “My Fair Lady,” and “The King & I.” Also all those “Sword & Sandal” epics of yesteryear, usually based on biblical tales (fact or fiction), were a staple in the Obenson household, like “Ben Hur” (the Charleton Heston version), which, till this day, is one of my all-time favorite films. But I barely recall watching comedies specifically.
I will say that I do remember the 1980s more, and being introduced to films like “Stripes” (the 1981 Ivan Reitman/Bill Murray dramedy), which I think I watched repeatedly back then, often pausing the VHS cassette tape at the “naked women scenes” – especially when John Larroquette’s Captain Stillman looks through a telescope at some women soldiers showering. What can I say – I was a kid then. I got off on that stuff. Although, as a man now, naked women showering still gets my attention, so there. Some things never change.
But that’s a movie that I recall loving and laughing a lot at, while I watched.
And then there was also “Airplane” – the 1980 parody of disaster films, starring Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Lorna Patterson. It was so absurd, loaded with slapstick comedy, visual/verbal puns and gags, and I absolutely loved it! I haven’t seen it in a very long time (many years), but thinking about it now, I think I’ll have to revisit and reacquaint myself with it.
The above 2 movies are 2 titles I could immediately think of that provided me with my earliest memories of laughter via the screen; but I just can’t say either was the FIRST movie that made me laugh. I’d likely have to ask my parents about that, but both have moved on to the next life, so it’s a little too late for that.
How about you? What was the first movie that made you laugh?
In the video below, courtesy of The Academy, watch Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Steve McQueen, Lupita Nyong’o, John Goodman, Ralph Fiennes, Will Forte, and others share theirs. It’s part of a series titled “Questions” in which a different group of filmmakers answer a single question asked by the Academy.