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Personal Statement:

How I Came to Love the Classics

by Adina O. Zidon, age 13

March 3, 1999

In the November of 1996, I saw my first classic movie--what else but Gone With the Wind (1939). The following spring, I found myself, for some strange reason, in love with Clark Gable. It was very sudden. I just sort of found myself calling my mother at work and asking if there was a video store near her (it was a new job which I knew little about as yet). When she said yes, I asked if she'd rent me It Happened One Night (1934), and she agreed. My budding film collection then contained only a Scarlett O'Hara poster, two reproduction lobby cards from Gone With the Wind re-releases, and two Gone With The Wind magnets. Naturally, I took the video from my mother and stared at the small, poor resolution pictures of Clark for the following nights, all the while thinking up carnal situations between Clark and I. 

I waited until Friday night to watch it. I didn't want to watch it with my parents because I felt they "weren't worthy." I was up until three in the morning, and my dad was still up. I ended up just falling asleep. Saturday night, however, I only needed to wait until one in the morning. I felt energetic, as I had had some Coke earlier, so I watched the movie, and the bedroom scene caused my stomach acid to roll. 

As spring became summer, I rented as many Clark Gable movies as I could and took out the library's entire stock of books about him. Until I was twelve-and-a-half, I searched frantically for pictures of him, everywhere, and by the time I was thirteen, I had ten books about him, including a book of paper dolls.

The time between being eleven and twelve was a time of changing interests for me. I began to seek out other film personalities as well, but with less vigor. In the spring of 1998, I had a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio. It was over in less than a month. But by this time, I was gradually losing interest in Clark. I was starting to really open my eyes to the other amazing film personalities of the '10s, '20s, and '30s. I can especially remember when I was reading a biography of Mary Pickford. There was one instance when I was listening to a Backstreet Boys CD in the car while reading it.  (Very few people who listen to the Backstreet Boys have even heard of Mary Pickford!)  Later that spring, right before school let out, I decided that I was tired of reading about actresses and, being at an age when I could only look out for actors who were "hot," I checked out The Salad Days by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. I fell in love with him that summer. 

Today, I have twenty nine pictures/posters hanging in my room, thirty seven books, eleven magazines, nine videos, various smaller pictures, ads and brochures, two CD collections (each with two CDs), the soundtrack of Gone With the Wind on tape, and two Gone With the Wind soundtrack CDs. All of these put together have a worth of well over $1,000. But it's all worthwhile, if you're devoted to what you're collecting. Furthermore, even though I'm not as interested in Clark Gable anymore, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. is my favorite actor and idol, I still like watching movies best in the middle of the night. My new favorite movie is The Prisoner of Zenda. Doug as Rupert is breathtaking enough, but at one in the morning, he's absolutely godlike. 

(Please send your comments on this article to its author, Adina, at Thanks.)

© 1999 Adina O. Zidon

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