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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Cycles and re-cycles

A 1952 audience is watching a 3D movie of the day in this photo from Life Magazine.

Somebody once said "There is nothing new under the sun." That may not be entirely true but in many ways it is. Take a look through history and you will see that many styles, occurrences, and trends are repeated through the years. Not many items are "one and out" anymore, it seems to be about cycles.. Even the horse and buggy may make an encore performance in light of the current energy problems.

I saw an ad on television the other night for the latest Hollywood mind numbing violence movie and one of the features of that production is that it will be in 3D. They were touting 3D as some magical special effect. The producers must be too young to remember the 3D movies of the early ‘50s like "House of Wax" and "Bwana Devil." If you are old enough I’m sure you remember the special glasses we had to wear to get the 3D effect. By the way, that fad didn’t last, those glasses were a pain. Good luck with the new version, guys.

The late ‘60s and early ‘70s saw the emergence of bell bottom trousers. They quickly went the way of Woodstock but they sure made a comeback in recent years. I guess the designer figured that enough years had passed to regurgitate an old style to a new generation born after 1970. I think it is brilliant, just file the style and do it again a few years later. It saves a lot of time when one doesn’t have to be innovative.

How about wide and narrow men’s ties? Women’s hemlines? Sideburns? Long hair? Short hair? Mustaches? One I haven’t seen make it through the cycle is the ladies’ "Marcel" wave hairdo of the 1920s but fear not, I probably just gave someone an idea.

One of the most expensive and wasteful items to go through a cycle is the old fashioned streetcar technology of the 19th century which evolved into gasoline and diesel buses and is now making a return as "light rail." Light rail is a waste of money that will cost the taxpayers of cities like Phoenix millions in subsidies but just try and tell that to the geniuses who decided to install it.

We all know only too well about the cycles in the economy. Then there are the remakes of popular songs from years ago that become popular all over again through the cover version. The same with movie remakes. If it worked 20 years ago, surely it will work again, or will it? The guys who tried to remake "Psycho" found out the hard way that remakes aren’t a guarantee of success. Ann Heche is no Janet Leigh.

Maybe there is nothing new under the sun after all.


Raymond said...

"tell that to the geniuses who decided to install it"

You do mean the voters who overwhelmingly voted to approve paying for Light Rail. In fact they approved it multiple times in Phoenix and Tempe in the 90's and an extension of the system by Maricopa County voters in 2004.

Jim McAllister said...

Thanks, Raymond.

They were sold a bill of goods. It's amazing how effective ads can be. Light rail is a proven loser in many cities. Phoenix will find out how much in December.