Tripping Through the Past

One of the odd things people do, as they grow older, is to look for the past they know when watching yon boobtube. My personal tripping occurred after reading a post on CrimeReads about two made-for-television movies, The Night Stalker, and The Night Strangler, both of which I wasted an afternoon on through YouTube.

The stories themselves aren’t necessarily what’s important here (less you’re a fan of vampires and fiends looking for everlasting life); what is though, is time and location. The first, The Night Stalker, takes place in 1972 Las Vegas, and the second, The Night Strangler, takes place the next year in Seattle.

If you lived through those times, seeing them in living color (sorry, wrong network) inevitably brings back a flood of memories, and if you’re reasonably conversant with a particular time and place, where the Hollywood types screw it all up. Still, the fun of the two above mentioned made-for-TV movies, aside from Darren McGavin and the other actors, is a good part of them were shot on location. Consequently, both the Vegas strip, and parts of Seattle come gloriously back to life.

Now, to be honest, I was in neither place when these movies were made. I was growing up in the thriving burb known as Arvada, west of that great cowtown, Denver. However, not too many years later, I passed through both towns, and settled in the Seattle area in the mid-80s, so quite a bit of what was in both movies was still around at that time.

So, for three hours I watched the past stroll by.

That’s not so true today. Vegas’ old strip is set off from the new strip, and is its own weird nostalgia stop on one’s way to the palaces that stick out colorfully when you first view the city from whatever direction you’re so inclined as you drop into town. The views from the Space Needle have changed drastically, especially if you have a soft spot for ye old south Lake Union, before Paul Allen’s Vulcan bought it all up and turned it into Amazonia (sorry, but that’s what it is now). Whether Vegas is as kitschy as it once was, I suppose is up to the individual. And south Lake Union is no longer the land of electrical supply houses, plumbing warehouses, and the usual small businesses that cater to the trades. Which, weirdly, bums me out.

But that’s life.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I find myself watching perfectly dreadful old shows mostly for glimpses of old times, and places, which is what old people do. But nostalgia is not just for those of us of indeterminant years. How else would you explain the sudden interest in the 90s and all the detritus from those times, which I remember for the most part. I still have a jacket from that time with padded shoulders and no lapels. It’s totally hip, man!

Oh, and for you youngsters out there, everything you see in those creaky old shows your parents and grandparents watched, is exactly how it was.


©2022 David William Pearce

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