23, 2002—Ground Zero Plus
Frankenstein And The
Anti-Terrorist Village Of Vigilance
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, July 23--There's
nothing better than a laugh to drive the demons of Terrorism into hiding.
Terrorists just don't have a sense of humor.
Young Frankenstein, the 1974 horror
spoof written jointly by Gene Wilder and director Mel Brooks, is keeping
the youth of America laughing in the face of Terrorism.
Last night my wife and I joined
10,000 other Young Frankenstein fans at New York City's Bryant Park,
located just behind NYC's famous public library. The film
ranks 91 on as an all-time box office revenue generator (ranking is
based on inflation adjustment. See link--http://www.filmsite.org/boxoffice.html)
Each summer the Parks
Department puts on a series of free outdoor classic movies at Bryant Park, displayed on a
giant screen in the open air, surrounded by giant office buildings.
Young Frankenstein has the
up-scale appeal of the Rocky Horror Show (released in 1975), drawing audiences ranging from
young teens to ancient "old" people, like myself, who happened to see the
movie when it was first released twenty-eight years ago.
The park was literally sardine-canned
with bodies, shoulder to shoulder, sitting on blankets or on the grass
from as early as noon to capture a prime spot for a showing that began at
9p.m. and lasted until just before 11p.m.
It takes Vigilance to secure a
spot eight hours in advance for a movie so often played on television that
almost weekly airs on one of the many channels or cable outlets.
Maybe even Osama bin Laden was there last night, because the cultural mix
of attendees was as diverse as the movie's global appeal has been over the past
nearly three decades.
The film elicits from
viewers a deep gut-wrenching laugh, one that might have been strangled by
the events of September 11, 2001, one that might have been stifled by the
recent plummet of the stock market, or the constant pounding on the
nightly news of a society whose economic and security bubbles have been
In remaking the 1939
Frankenstein classic film that starred Boris Karloff, Brooks and
Wilder wrote a stunning slapstick that tickles anyone's funny bones then
Masterful actors such as Madeline Kahn, Peter Boyle, Teri Garr, Marty
Feldman, Gene Hackman and Cloris Leachman (as Frau Bleucher (neeeeehhhhh eehhhh, went
the horses)) spark the film with precision humor and timeless
appreciation of people who obviously loved working together to render Mary
Shelley's famous "scary story" a giant guffaw that would last through time.
What I found fascinating was the community
of people who attended. They were mostly young, the majority of them
barely born when the film was released. A friendly woman sitting next
to me, whom I guessed to be in her late twenties or early thirties, had
seen the movie more than a dozen times, and as my wife and I, knew the
lines verbatum for the key scenes, which followed one another like
I secured two seats at 5 p.m. next to the
grass. Sitting on the lawn near me were three girls appearing
to be high-school age, one who had never seen the movie, but was eager to become
one of its proponents.
Out in the center of the lawn it appeared
to be Spring Break. A group of young New Yorkers was building a
human pyramid to the cheers of thousands and got almost to the fourth
level before they collapsed--four people at the base, three on their
shoulders, two more on top of them, and then, when the final member tried
to finalize the pyramid, they fell in a splash of laughing bodies to
the cheers of the crowd. Undaunted, they attempted it two more times
For a moment--a precious moment--I forgot
about all the troubles of the world. It has been said that in
the most troubled of times, people flock to the movies to "escape" life's
realities, to be swept into a vacuum where they laugh and share the joys
of the celluloid world unfolding before their eyes.
That may be true, but I think there is
another reason. It is the Village of Vigilance.
Last night thousands of people came to be
part of the Village. I found myself forgetting about how old I
was, that I had a herniated disc, that I was to call today to get an
appointment with the neurosurgeon, that I had to find some more ways to
make money, that I had to promote my website better, that I should diet,
that my ankles were swollen, that I hadn't won the lottery, and that the
world was topsy turvey and my small, insignificant Voice wasn't being
heard above the cacophony of it all.
I became part of the Village.
I found myself rooting and cheering and
clapping, things I don't normally do because I wanted to be "part of" the
experience of humanity sharing a common goal--happiness, joy, elation,
Madeline Kahn on Bryant Park Screen
Sometimes I take myself way too
seriously, as we all do, thinking I am the center of the universe and that
unless I punctuate my existence with an exclamation point each day, I'm
useless and valueless. But, last night, in the midst of
humanity, feeling the vibrations of youth (and a few "baby boomers")
laughing and crushing all the worries of the world, I just became a child
of the Village of Vigilance, one of many playing on the grass of Bryant
Park, getting pizza and cokes, and Starbuck iced drinks, weaving my way
through the crowds of other moviegoers as one of them, eager to watch
something that would wash my mind of all the burdens that stack up like
soiled, smelly laundry and force one's face into a scowl, or droops the
shoulders, or makes the head hang.
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretian greets
Pope Paul II
Earlier, I had been scouring the paper for
today's story. I had noticed International Youth Day, held in
Toronto Canada, sponsored by the Catholic Church. The Pope is
making his 97th visit outside the Vatican to attend the conference of over
a quarter million attendees ranging from 15-35, amidst pressures from his
staff to "retire" his post as Parkinson's disease takes more and more toll
on his 82-year-old body. I thought I would promote the
Vigilance of his message. He called for the children to not be
afraid of Terrorism, in a world riddled with Terror.
But then I was torn about writing a story
promoting the plea of the mother of five-year-old Samantha who was
abducted from her front yard, sexually molested and raped. Her
mother's plea seemed far more Vigilant than the Pope's. She begged
the citizens of the world to "protect their babies, and to protect each
Her plea was more heart felt to me and I
believe to the world than anything the Pope could say in Toronto. I believe
Vigilance is all about the children's children's children. It's
about everyone, not just some, concerning themselves with the future
generations. When I hear a politician talk, puffing his or
chest out like a banty rooster, and extolling the virtues of some bill or
issue, and not including the benefits for the children, or the children's
children, I tune him or her out. I know the speaker hasn't
thought through the issue to the future generations, for had she or he
done so, the sound bite would include the benefits to future generations,
and therefore have validity. But laws or decisions or
strategies that involve the present needs of adults have no business on
any agenda. They are selfish laws, ill prepared, hurried to
salve the wounds of government's neglect to the future.
I forgot about all those stories last
night--at least for a few hours.
I was with the Village of Vigilance.
I was laughing. I was cheering.
I was young and old.
I wasn't Terrorized. My wife
and I were too busy saying our favorite lines as each scene unfolded,
forgetting that the world outside Bryant Park was more important than the
Village of Vigilance we were enjoying.
Great Lines We Love From Young Frankenstein:
"Where Wolf?" "There Wolf!"
"Put the candle back!"
"Walk this way!"
"What a pair of knockers!"
"How about some hot soup?"
"How about a cigar?"
"You men are all the same. After
seven or eight times, you go tell the boys."
"My name is Fron-ken-shteen!"
"Destiny! Destiny! No escaping
(Add any others you like)
Go To July 22--Pyramid Of Corporate Vigilance
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved - a ((HYYPE))