Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chasing Elephants with Elsa Martinelli

I posted the photo above on my Facebook page while I was traveling in Bangkok, Thailand.  I received several comments with a quote from the song One Night In Bangkok.  Hey Larry, One night in Bangkok and the worlds your oyster.  I don't know if the world is my oyster or not.  But I do know that I love traveling and seeing the world from my own unique perspective.

Growing up travel was not a option for the average person.  Traveling to Paris was a once in a lifetime experience that people saved up for most of their lives.  The times were different.  Airline travel was a luxury for the wealthy.They wore their best clothes for the flight.  Gourmet food on real china was served to those fortunate enough to be able to afford to airfare

.  I remember watching the 1962 Walt Disney film "Bon Voyage" at the State Theater in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

Fred MacMurray took his wife Jane Wyman and their children to Paris.  The didn't use an airline of course.  That kind of tourist travel still was not frequent.  The took a large ship to Paris.  I remember Fred and Jane talking about this being a trip of a life time for them.  They had saved for years for this one time experience.  I watched the movie with great envy.  I wanted to be with Kevin Corcoran while he led his father on a wild chase through the sewers of Paris.  I wanted to dance with Michael Callan and Deborah Walley on the left bank.  I was Kevin Corcoran's age but I really wanted to hang out with his older brother Tommy Kirk as he explored the streets of Paris all alone without his parents.  But most of all I wanted to see this wonderful city they were visiting and share in all of their misadventures.

1962 was a big year for movies for me.  It is also the year that James Bond was introduced to the movie audiences.  Dr. No was released in 1962.  And as a ten year old I sat back and was once more transported to foreign destinations that were far removed from any place I thought I would ever get to visit.

Traveling became a reality for me through the movies.  James Bond took me to many exotic and fascinating locations.  I followed Peter Ustinov and Melina Mercuri to the Topkapi Palace in the movie Topkapi.

 I followed John Wayne to the plains of Africa in Hatari and watched the baby elephants chase Elsa Martinelli  through the camp ground.

Going to movies truly did make the world my oyster.  And I never had to leave my seat at the State Theater.  For $.25 I got to see the world and fantasize about traveling and having wonderful adventures.I traveled with Elvis and Gidget to Hawaii. Then I once more went with Gidget.  This time to visit Rome. The movies were my travelogue.

  I remember my mother watching Doris Day in That Touch of Mink.  Doris lived in New York City and shared an apartment with Audrey Meadows.  I remember my Mom talking about wanting to actually see New York someday.  New York is only a three hour bus ride from Maryland but in 1962 that seemed such a great distance to my mother and she never did get  to New York.

I look back now and realize how fortunate I have been to have my world opened to me not just through the movies any longer, but through personal travel.  I have taken Bond, Gidget, Elvis and even Elsa Martinelli and her elephants with me.    The memories of their adventures stay vivid with me when I visit the locations from their movies. And now I return home with my own memories and travel stories to enhance those I remember from the movies.  I wish my Mom had gotten to New York.  I think she would have been happy that I got chase the baby elephants like Elsa Martinelli.

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