Pam Pardy-Ghent: Family Movie Magic

You never forget your first. Mine was Bambi, and it was at the Paramount Theatre on Harvey Road. I remember being all dressed up and fancy on this oh-so-exciting outing with my mom, her sisters and my cousins. 

I don’t remember much besides some odd, random details – like the fact we were all little sticks of gum and that my hair was in pigtails (curled on the ends) and the curls bounced against my shoulders as we headed inside – but what I do recall intently is the intensity of seeing a movie on the big screen for the very first time. 

The fire, the hunter, Bambi’s mom (sob) and even seeing Thumper for the first time; all larger-than-life memories that I’ve long held onto. 

High highs, low lows 

While I’d probably seen Bambi before on the Wonderful World of Disney on some random Sunday both before and after our first family movie adventure,  I certainly don’t recall. 

In that theatre on Harvey Road, the highs were higher, the lows lower, and the middle of the road in between the dramatic pauses were anything but dull. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always made a big deal about taking my own kids to the movies as often as possible.

Brody’s first movie was Titanic. He was weeks old when that blockbuster came out, and I had wanted to see it so terribly badly. Hubby worked nights and slept most of the day away at the time, so I figured I’d cuddle my new born in nice and tight and head out. I was breastfeeding, so, how terrible could it be? It was awful. My son was colicky and an arse. The first attempt, we made it about twenty minutes in before he lost his mind. 

I didn’t give up, going back to about five different showings before I made it through the entire thing with a sleeping, non-fussy baby.

Stand out Memories

But that was the last time my son put er up at a movie, and we’ve seen everything and then some. Toy Story, Tarzan, The Iron Giant, James and the Giant Peach; we saw them all. 

My daughter’s first movie was also a memorable experience. She was a few months old and my son had wanted to see a new IMAX feature that was released that year called Wild Ocean. 

I guess the surround sound was too much for her little ears and, well, her diaper pretty much exploded, and that which should be contained was not. 

Let’s just say, thank goodness the theatre was in the mall and we had access to not only a bathroom but a new wardrobe for each of us as well. 

She’s come a long way, baby, and we’ve seen many movies since that first one. From Alice through the Looking Glass to Zootopia, we’ve been there, popcorn in hand, waiting to be blown away.

Are there favourites or stand outs? Not really. Like my very first movie experience, it’s more the feelings I remember than any intricate details of the movies themselves.  It’s things like multiple attempts, clean ups on isle ones and shared popcorn and laughter – and a few (usually in unison) tears, jeers and gasps – that really stand out.

While movie makers may make the movies we all enjoy, they also help make something else too; treasured memories that last lifetimes. That’s the real magic of the movies.

Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]

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