Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

With Henry Fonda and The Dook in "Fort Apache", one of Temple's last movies.  She was about 19 or 20.  Yow.

With Henry Fonda and The Dook in “Fort Apache”, one of Temple’s last movies. She was about 19 or 20. Yow.

By now I’m sure that all of you know of the death, announced this morning, of Shirley Temple Black at the age of 85.

From all I have ever heard, a remarkable woman.  Childhood stardom didn’t warp or ruin her.  Instead, after giving up movie making in her early 20’s, she turned to teh world of international diplomacy, where, from what I gather, she was quite the success.  (And as an aside, I knew she was Ambassador to Ghana.  For some reason, I never knew she was also Ambassador to the old Czechoslovakia.)  Alas, I understand from some things I’ve seen round the innertoobs that she is getting a thorough trashing on certain moonbat lefty sites today because she was a solid Republican.  But these are the times in which we live, I’m afraid.

At any rate, most of the MSM coverage of her passing focuses, not unnaturally, on her early films.  Now, no disrespect intended, but frankly, I couldn’t stand them myself.  The adowable widdle gerrewl character tends to awake the sleeping fiend in ol’ Robbo.

But that’s just me.

Actually, what her death really got me thinking about was a memory of my own misspent yoot.

You see, back when ol’ Robbo was a kid, there were – at least where I lived – only the three network broadcast stations, plus PBS.  And on Saturday afternoons, when the networks weren’t supplying some sports event feed or the like, the local stations used to fill in the time with programming such as, well,  Shirley Temple movies.  As I say, I didn’t care for those, even though I watched several of them.  But I also was introduced to a lot of other classic fare:  Abbott & Costello;  Laurel & Hardy; the Marx Brothers;  Charlie Chaplin; Inspector Clouseau; Tarzan;  Fred and Ginger; cheesy SciFy stuff like Planet of the Apes, Barbarella, Fantastic Voyage and 1 Million B.C.; epics like Ben Hur; westerns and war movies of course; and dopey stuff like The Cannonball Run.  And I swear I once saw a movie about brother and sister ancient Egyptian royals who somehow became king and queen of some sub-Saharan tribe.  Oh, and as filler, they also used to run the old “Our Gang” shorts and the like.  (This, obviously, is not an exclusive list, BTW.)

Good times.  Good times.

The majority of the films that I saw on these lazy Saturdays had been made back in the day, some of them preceding not only my own birth, but even those of my parents.   In this exposure, then, there was a sort of cultural continuity, a handing down of shared experiences and values, a canon of popular film culchah, if you will.

Given the explosion in media outlets and tailored, diffuse oh hell, Balkanized programming that has occurred in the past, oh, twenty years or so, is such a phenomenon even remotely likely with today’s yoots?

I very sincerely doubt it.   And somehow, I think this is not a good thing.

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