Saturday, January 13, 2007

Type O Cocktail, Anyone?

Remember that Twilight Zone episode (Little Girl Lost) where the little girl fell out of bed and rolled right through the wall, into another dimension? And her father tried to get her out, but the 'door' to the other dimension was shrinking? All through the episode, he made marks on the wall so he could get an indication of how fast and how much it was shrinking. Just when the viewer thought the girl would be stuck in there forever, wandering in her nightgown crying for her mother and father, and that her father would be stuck half in and half out, he found her hand and gave her a tremendous tug and they both got out in the very nick of time, the absolute last minute, and the 'door' disappeared.

I watched that when I was a really little girl. That episode scared me so badly, I still have nightmares over it. My parents were remodeling our house then, and when I went to bed that night, I noticed for the first time that my father had made marks on the wall beside my bed. Those marks looked just like the marks on that other little girl's wall. I would lie there and look at those marks and think unimaginable thoughts.

I think that was when I stopped falling asleep easily. Even now, I lie awake for hours, most nights, worrying about things and replaying scenarios and putting myself into scripts. . . .

As a child, I wasn't allowed to watch most scary shows, but for some reason, my parents did let me watch The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits, and One Step Beyond. I loved them beyond all reasoning, even while they became a great part of my worst dreams.

Those shows traumatized me, but am I sorry I watched them? Nope. Even though I was shivering in my shoes while I watched, I was also storing the concept of absorbing drama in my mind, taking note of HOW a story could mesmerize a person, and how a writer could give words and actions to actors and make something that could never happen genuinely believable for a half hour every week.

Yo, scary prime time shows, no problem: I was allowed to watch them all. But when it came to Saturday night's Nightmare Theater, starring Sammy Terry, and featuring oldies but goodies like Dracula, and Them, and When Worlds Collide, and all the other really old horror movies, and old atomic-bomb-fallout movies, and bizarre supposition movies, the answer was absolutely NOT.

That's one of the many reasons why my cousin C and I started staying all night with our Mamaw every weekend. We got to eat whatever we wanted (french fries and macaroni and cheese, at the same meal) run all over town without having to account to anybody, and stay up LATE and watch Nightmare Theater.

We got so scared, we'd put our feet up on the couch so the monster underneath couldn't grab our ankles and pull us under.

Were we permanently traumatized? Were our childish little psyches scarred?

Nah. We were smart kids and smart kids are, well, smart. The whole concept of being scared by something that was forbidden was so cool, it probably wiped out anything else.

I wanted to be allowed to watch Nightmare Theater at home so badly, I wrote to Dear Abby about how my cruel parents wouldn't allow it. You will all be surprised to know that I never got a response. I know I was surprised.

But at Mamaw's house, on the weekends, with no supervision whatsoever, Cousin C and I had a blast. And we watched Nightmare Theater, even though we'd been ordered not to. Oh, we were wild girls back then. . . .

Those were the days.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:03 PM | |


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