My first memories of the 'Dynamic Duo' of Roger & Gene
must have been from about age 12 or 13. I was a hopeless
insomniac, and would watch the overnight syndicated TV shows
as one of my means of getting through the night.
And there it would be, their movie review show, with
witty yet venomous banter, intelligent speaking on the
art and history of cinema, and I was mesmerized.
I knew I was into movies as an escapist forum, but
I was only just coming to understand my love for
the knowledge of actors, directors, nuances, and so forth.
Certainly I had no one to help cultivate such interests in
Southern Podunkia, and now I had found an outlet and
an inspiration for truly experiencing film.
I was exposed to so many ideas and textures, indeed
exposed to films themselves. I was so excited by footage of
the 1986 French film, "Summer"/"The Green Ray" (Le Rayon Vert,)
that I sought out a special Saturday morning foreign film showing
in Tampa--my first foreign film, I'm sure--and was mesmerized!
Film became not just an isolated experience, but a trip into
the larger world.
On a family outing in Daytona Beach, while everyone else was
gung-ho for watching some stock racing one night, I slipped
away to a theatre I had spied with a showing of "Shy People"
(an incredible movie with Jill Clayburgh, Barbara Hershey,
and Martha Plimpton) at the age of 17, knowing where
my true heart was to be found. It was amazing, and I had been
introduced to the film by an episode of "At The Movies."
I learned whose opinion jived with mine and whose was
the polar opposite, and either way I was able to accurately
determine which movies to avoid or rush to probably 95%
of the time. For a long time, Roger's outlook nearly identically
mirrored my own, until he seemed to swing in a different
direction. And still I enjoyed his evaluations!
But the idea of having the input, the familiarity, the connection
of these two film aficionados and critics to turn to on a
regular basis was a large part of my life, and I will always
appreciate the impact these two gents had.
Thanks for the education and the memories, Roger...
I'll see you at the movies.