I have a tendency (I’m sure we all do) to have a song pop into my head from nowhere, and stay there. It won’t be from anything I can recall having heard during the day, or anything that I’ve seen. It just shows up, and I won’t even realize it until I catch myself humming it. I’ve taken to calling these songs “Random Phantom Earworms.” Last night, it was the theme song from “The Great Escape.” I haven’t seen that movie since I was a kid. It was so bizarre, that I tweeted about it, and then I had an idea. What if I started a blog series called “Random Phantom Earworm of the Week,” where I pick whichever song most recently lodged itself into my brain, and use it as a writing prompt? It can be a fictional story inspired by the song, poetry (though not likely – I don’t write much poetry), or any memories or feelings that particular song dredges up. Today, I will treat you to the latter.
So here it is: The Random Phantom Earworm of the Week: The Great Escape Theme Song:
Ah, the memories – sacked out on cushions on the floor, my parents on the brown and orange striped sofa behind me in our cool basement on a summer evening, scraping out the last bits of ice cream and chocolate sauce from the bottom of our bowls. The cathode-ray tube television would be before us – a gigantic (for the time) cube encased in wood with dusty cable box, VCR, and stereo stacked on top. Behind it, on a ledge on the wall created by the house’s foundation, were rows and rows of VHS tapes. Mostly store bought, but occassionally taped off the tv as well, when a film was not available to buy – the analog version of a DVR. Usually there were three movies to one of these tapes, and if you wanted to watch the one at the end, you had to fast forward through the first two. This was not a problem. We were much more patient then, in the days before the internet and instant gratification. I remember the whirring as we sped through the images and the clunk when we found the right spot and hit stop. Sometimes we would speed right past it and have to back-track.
We had all the cool movies: “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “Alien,” “Predator”, you name it, we probably had it. We also taped a lot of classics: Black and white detective films, Shirley Temple flicks, and of course, war movies made in the 50s and 60s. One of my Dad’s favorites was “The Great Escape.” I’ll admit now that I enjoyed it too, though at the time I would roll my eyes and whine.
“A war movie again? I wanna watch The Goonies.” I loved “The Goonies.” I even had the game for my Super Nintendo. But “The Great Escape” it would be, or “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” or possibly “The Dirty Dozen.” And though I claimed not to like them, and though I could have gone off and done something else, I stayed and watched. Because they were good, darn it. And you know what? When my kids are a little older, I’ll probably make them watch them too. And they’ll probably complain, and say they’d rather watch “Harry Potter.” But I’ll bet you they’ll stay and watch anyway, just like I did, and they’ll appreciate it later in life too.
If you’re interested in the true story behind “The Great Escape,” here are a couple of links to start you off: