During the winter of 2021, we spent 2 months in Alabama. Our rented condo offered a stripped down package for cable TV. Didn’t take us long to realize how little we enjoyed the service. Although our package at home offered more choices, we were spending a fortune and using it very little. The week Josh (the middle kid) came to visit, we talked about getting rid of our cable provider when we got back home. At the time T-Mobile (our cell phone provider) was offering a special to join their newly formed TV package.
By the time we got back to Michigan, T-Mobile had partnered with YouTube and had a special for 50 bucks a month for streaming service. We were paying $140. Although we had been customers of Directv since 2003 it was time to try something different and get rid of that huge bill every month, considering we watched TV about 3 hours a day.
We decided to add Paramount Plus for 10 bucks a month because Seal Team and Evil had moved over from CBS. We were anticipating Taylor Sheridan’s 2 series, 1883 and Mayor of Kingstown, and Star Trek Discovery (which didn’t last for me. The female lead whispers her lines. Although I use headphones I still can’t understand her-ugh), Why Women Kill, The Stand (new version), Coyote, Star Trek-Strange New Worlds (which I like because of the captain, starring Anson Mount) plus coming soon, Bass Reeves, 1932, and Tulsa King which are only available on PP. As an added bonus, most programming from CBS is shown WITHOUT COMMERCIALS. Win-win.
After I bought a new iPad Pro in 2020, Apple offered their fairly new network/streaming service free for a year, which stretched out to 18 months during the worst of the pandemic. In essence we cut our monthly cable bill in half and still had more than enough options to choose from. We’ve never been sorry we gave up cable. Not as enamored with Apple but there are a few shows we’ve enjoyed. Ted Lasso (their freshman season was hysterical, second year not as good but I remain hopeful for season 3), Tehran, Mosquito Coast, Home Before Dark and Hub’s favorite, For all Mankind. Thought we’d love The Morning Show but the characters are so self-centered and mean spirited, I can’t root for anyone on the show.
So a month ago Paramount Plus promos a mini-series about producing a movie way back in 1971-72. I had zero interest but Hub’s curiosity was piqued so we gave the first episode a chance. I WAS HOOKED. There was more drama/action/bribes/crime before Francis Ford Coppola filmed one minute of the movie. The acting has been superb. Al Ruddy (Miles Teller) had the tough job trying to produce a movie with obstacles in his way at every turn. His assistant, Bettye, played by Juno Temple is top notch (and so much easier to understand when she’s not using her British accent). While this was going on about 1 Mafia movie, (they couldn’t say ‘mafia’ in the movie-because of the mafia-oh the irony) were ordinary people paying attention and engaged by the drama surrounding? I never heard a word about this fiasco during the ‘70’s. But we were just getting started in the marriage and parenthood department, which was time consuming for this young couple.
Which brings us to the summer of 1973. What exactly were Johnny and Denise doing? Well, we were closing the door on anniversary number 4 and driving a baby poop green Chevy Vega Hatchback. Shannon, our exquisite first-born was just over 2. Our big weekend plan was to head for the Gordon Twin Drive Inn in Sioux City and watch a popular movie everyone was buzzing about called The Godfather.
Let’s start with Shannon. She was a beautiful, precocious, intelligent toddler who could be reasoned with (most of the time). We had discussions every day that week about going to a late night movie (no way could we afford a babysitter). She had agreed to the rules and signed the contract. We (mommy & daddy) would supply blankets, pillows, stuffed animals (her choice) and snacks (also her choice). We started our evening out at the kid’s playground (right in the drive inn movie’s parking lot). She could play until dark when the movie started. While the previews were on, eat her snacks, then she would lay down in her ‘bed’ and go to sleep because it was way past her bedtime. “I promise mommy.” As if.
Darkness settled but there were so many distractions and nowhere to go. We listened to her chatter about everything, the kids that were allowed to stay at the playground after it was dark, the humongous screen in front of her face because she’d never laid her head down. The “bad words” she repeated with glee. She was enthralled-about everything that night. Kept her adorable face in the gap between our seats. “But I’s not sweepy. What hers doing? They fighting. Num-num. What’s dat?”
We hoped eventually she’d get sleepy and clonk out. Whatever we spent on tickets we really couldn’t afford. She never did. Her eyes were wide open and taking it ALL in. The movie had been out for a year by this time and Hub’s had heard all about the horse/bed scene. As the movie minutes ticked by we grew increasingly uneasy about Shannon seeing something at age 2 she could never un-see, but we desperately wanted to stay until the end. Could. Not. Do. It.
We packed everything, let her roll around the back (no car seat) while we drove home, wondering how the movie ended, but not worried that Shannon’s 2 year old moral compass had been compromised. The Godfather’s ending would remain a mystery until we bought our first VCR years later and rented the movie. By then we’d added 2 boys to our family and all 3 were safely tucked in their beds so there were no distractions during that horsey scene…