In these days of the 500-channel universe certain aspects of the past seem remote and alien. (Of course, in the last twenty years the term itself has become obsolete; it’s pretty clear that something akin to Moore’s Law applies to television.)
Once upon a time, the city where I lived had three television channels — one for each of the Big Two Canadian TV networks and one for a French-language CBC station that les maudit anglais didn’t normally watch except for occasional hockey games, usually with the sound off.
Of course, cable TV arrived sometime in the mid 1960s. This brought a comparative glut of channels which in turn gave access to several important cultural phenomena. Early picture quality was often questionable — I remember watching a guy named Bob fight himself in a negative space wedgie while the vertical and horizontal hold went berserk. Apparently there are constant blizzards in negative space wedgies as well.
Where was I? Oh yeah…
A fourth broadcast channel appeared in early 1974. Early on they showed lots of movies; I’ve always assumed this was because they didn’t have enough other programming to fill their schedule. A fifth broadcast station arrived that fall — a French-language UHF station. They showed movies too; the ones they showed Friday evenings under the banner ‘Cinerotique’ generated a lot of… talk. (A lot of anglos tuned in religiously to Cinerotique — for some things, language isn’t a barrier.)
I like movies. Lots of people do. For me, one part of the movie ‘process’ is reading the closing credits. (When possible — it mostly isn’t on TV these days.) You can learn what that song was that you thought you recognized. You can see who the system administrator was. And you can find out who played ‘mustachioed guard’ or ‘train person #3’ or ‘man in diner.’ Looking at the ‘little’ roles is kind of a game.
(So of course someone made a game about it. The game is all about playing minor roles: ‘Man falling off roof.’ ‘Crying woman.’ Roles that would make any actor stretch.)
Like a lot of other people, I don’t Go To The Movies as much as I used to (there’s no theatre within walking distance any more and two dollar Tuesdays are long gone) but when I do I still watch the credits. A couple of weeks ago Ms. Rose and I went to a movie and, because we’re like that, we stayed til the end of the credits. We weren’t disappointed either: there were four system administrators and there, on the screen, was the credit for ‘Rubik’s cube boy.’ It was a subtle and nuanced performance.
But it was no ‘man falling off roof.’