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George Pal's "The Time Machine," released in 1960, is my all-time favorite movie. Sure, there are others up there high on the list, jockeying for position in my mind, but this tops them all. I first saw it in 1971 when it showed on a local TV channel where I lived in Ft. Lauderdale, FL at the time. I was 13, and was lucky enough to have a small black and white TV in my room in the house we rented. It was that Saturday afternoon's movie on "Adventure Theater" which I usually tried to catch. It showed the type of films that today you might find categorized in the DVD aisle under "Action," which covers a large territory, but then including sci-fi and fantasy.
I was entranced, and afterward was floating on a "movie high" for the rest of the day. There was just something about it that was truly special, and has remained so in my mind ever since. The Morlocks were truly scary, not only visually, but because they were cannibals... although technically they only ate the Eloi and not their own kind, arguably being no longer human.
After that single viewing, I had no opportunity to see it again for nearly 12 years. Then, I found it on a local library film list, where you could order a 16mm movie and check it out along with a projector. That I did, and had my two young nephews down for a movie night as I showed it on a sheet pinned to the wall. Seeing it in large format, in color, was even more exciting. I plugged the projector audio output to my stereo system and we had speakers on either side of the screen, so along with the popcorn we popped, it was almost like a theater! They loved it too, but the youngest, only about 8 at the time, got scared when the Morlocks were threatening the Eloi in the underground near the end. I couldn't blame him, it was pretty intense!
Every New Year's Eve I take out this movie and watch it, as a personal tradition. Since the movie itself happens over the course of a New Year celebration, it seems fitting, and a great way to enjoy the film on a regular basis without watching it too often. Since tonight is New Year's Eve, I plan on taking out the DVD and watching it about 9 PM. I look forward to it all over again!