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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The other Roger and me

Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, has his own web site (rogerebert.com redirects to that). Finally. According to the about page, the site is loaded with:

  • 5,500+ movie reviews
  • 700+ essays, interviews, and film festival articles
  • 2,300+ Answer Man questions and answers
  • 600+ Ebert’s Little Movie Glossary entries
  • 400+ Critical Debates (featuring a brief sampling of critical opinions from other reviewers)

It's really more, though. Ebert's reviews and articles are a time line of our lives. They contain subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) insights into the way we were and what we have become. We should all be impressed with Roger Ebert and the Sun-Times for putting this treasure of an archive on line for all to read and enjoy and learn from. That is rare.

While looking for something else, I happened upon his 1967 interview with Dick Van Dyke. This has to be one of the first interviews Ebert did for the Sun-Times. The year was 1967. I imagine he was fresh out of college at the University of Illinois and here he was interviewing Dick Van Dyke for the Sun-Times in the penthouse of the very posh Ambassador East Hotel. It's now an Omni, or something. Van Dyke had just finished making "Divorce American Style," an unusual turn for the wholesome actor who starred in "Mary Poppins" and the then recently ended "Dick Van Dyke Show."

It's worth noting that Ebert wrote:

He sipped on a tomato juice with Worcestershire, salt, pepper and lemon in it.

Obviously, that's the recipe for a Virgin Mary. It makes me wonder if his editor and publisher forbade the use of the word "virgin" in their newspaper in 1967, except, perhaps in a strictly religious sense. Or, maybe Roger was just trying to get more words on paper. Anyway, I was just a kid at the time, but I remember quite a bit of stir about that movie in the small town circles where I grew up.

As for the Roger and me part, it wouldn't be until years later on one of those bitter cold Chicago nights where the wind of January's chill cuts through to your bones no matter how much wool and down you layered on, when, in a drunken stupor, I sat at the opposite end of a smoky bar on North Avenue in the wee hours of the morning batting my eyelashes at Roger as he sat sipping his drink, and I was just a punk girl from the sticks, and he was a sophisticated and well-read movie critic for a major Chicago newspaper, and he ignored me.

Okay, I've gotten way too nostalgic here to no avail. Just read the web site and enjoy.

Link via Kegz.

Posted by Marie at September 21, 2004 9:49 PM