Has it really been 40 years? And that’s just since they made the movie! Needless to say, things have changed but those of us who were around in 1962 remember. Cruising. ‘Not going to college’ was not just an option, it was the norm. My own kids are hovering around the 40 mark and I remember telling them that not going to college was not an option. (A great bluff I actually got away with.)
But I do remember being a teenager in the 60’s when college was the distinct privilege of the rich or very smart. American Graffiti takes place on the last night of summer in 1962 in Modesto, California; farm country. For those of us who were raised in the towns nearby, Modesto was the place to be—kind of the central hub of the central valley in central California. Small town America! The difference being, Modesto was big enough to have a main street worthy of “cruising!” It was the mecca of main streets. Hot cars and babes—guys who were brave enough (or stupid enough) to drag race for pink slips, and the girls who rode along with them.
American Graffiti is a movie about kids facing responsibility… but not tonight; tomorrow. Kids that tomorrow would be sitting in a tractor seat on their family farm or standing behind a counter in the local drugstore. For some, for the rest of their lives. American Graffiti is about kids out for a last night of fun before the adult responsibilities of life woke them up the next morning.
Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve (Ron Howard) are college bound, two of the few. Flying out the next morning on a plane to their east coast college, both have questions and both are having last minute bouts of indecision. So, they’re cruising with their friends, knowing how different their lives will be tomorrow. Somehow, everyone in the movie just knows life will never be the same.
Destined for greatness, American Graffiti stars such notables as Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Harrison Ford and Cindy Williams. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola, it was the brainchild of none other than a young George Lucas.
Do you remember the angst? I do. I think as parents we have allowed our own kids to literally drag out the process of growing up. Many of us have our grown kids living with us, well, forever. The government, in all their wisdom, have even legislated the right to keep our kids on our health insurance until they’re 26. Twenty six! Many of us were married and had kids in grade school when we were twenty six. In my humble opinion that is “enabling,” but then, I was raised in the age of American Graffiti!
Back to the movie before I get myself in trouble. I truly enjoyed seeing this magical film again. For just a couple of hours it was pure fun to go back in time to what often seems like a kinder, gentler time. If you’re young and seeing it for the first time, it’s a hoot! Try it, you’ll like it!
Big hair do’s and hip clothes await. ‘The’ box didn’t have it so you may have to rely on the mail or streaming but, do what it takes to travel back in time this month. Would love to chat with you about old times at firstname.lastname@example.org.