May 14, 2012

First Loves - The RPG Version

The A-Z Challenge crowd is running a First Loves Blogfest today. This entails simply listing your first loves in the movie, song/band, book and person categories. Since this is an rpg blog, I've decided to put a spin on this and list my First Loves as they pertain to rpgs and fantasy; those movies, songs, books, person that opened me up to the fantasy genre and made me fall in love with them.

The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)

(Am I showing my age?) I saw this in a drive-in and was one of the first movies that stayed with me after the viewing (i.e. I was old enough to be cognizant of what was going on). I loved the concept of a caper going on. I also loved the mining caves sequences. The delving in the caves stuck with me and dungeon crawling seemed a natural thing to do in rpgs thereafter.
I find it interesting that the movie was a hit at the box office; it was the most successful movie for Disney throughout the entirety of the 70s and the first movie they released on videocassette.

The Riddle by Nik Kershaw (1984)

With the advent of music videos (back when there were 5 local music video only stations all competing with each other and before MTV won that war) one of the first songs to really grip me and send my mind into realms of fantasy was The Riddle. With such lyrics as...

"Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of Saran
Goes around and around"

"I got time to kill sly looks in corridors
Without a plan of yours a blackbird sings on bluebird hill
Thanks to the calling of the wild
Wise mens child "

The song reached no. 3 in the UK charts and was in the top 10 for many other European countries. The music video itself was a bit surreal, but had a nice fantasy feel to it.

Watership Down (1972)

I am a huge fan of Tolkien (I've actually read the Silmarillion 3 times). However, the first book to introduce me to fantasy was Watership Down. It is also the first book that I read for fun, as opposed to reading because I had to for school. It was actually a school assignment, but I ended up finishing it long before the due date simply because I loved it so much. Sure, Tolkien's writing may be my greatest love and clinched my love for fantasy, but Watership Down was my first love.

When released in the US it held the no. 1 spot for 3 months and stayed in the top 10 for a year. It has won numerous awards and in a 2003 British survey was listed as the 42nd greatest book of all time.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

This film is a fantasy. In 2008, the AFI (American Film Institute) listed the film as the 3rd best film of all time in the fantasy genre. It was in this movie that I fell in love with the character of Mary Hatch-Bailey as played by Donna Reed. She was loyal, dedicated, smart and didn't take any crap. At the time she was the perfect woman. And the fantasy portion of the movie was a lot of fun. It had extra-planar creatures with abilities beyond normal men and dastardly villains. It created an alternate world that sparked the imagination. There are many reasons why this is my favorite movie of all time.

At the time the movie was considered a failure at the box office simply because it did not live up to monetary expectations. However, since then it has become a perennial Christmas favorite. The AFI, in their 100 best movies of all time, ranked it no. 11 in 1998 and no. 20 in 2008. They also named it the no. 1 most inspirational movie of all time.

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