The Day the Magic Died

My Real Memoir

One of my earliest movie memories is of The Wizard of Oz, which if you’re like me you’ve probably seen too many times to count. As a kid I’d prayed for a tornado, an admittedly rare event in L.A., to whirl my bedroom off to Oz. Why? Because I longed to live in a magical world. True, my mailing address was on Alicante Road, but my heart’s home was past the “second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning” (Peter Pan).

Still, I was 14 now, it was the end of summer, and I was due to start high school in a week. It was time to cast off all remaining vestiges of childhood. I wanted that, I really did. I wanted to do adult stuff like drive cars. And kiss girls. And make music. And write novels.

But then Mary Poppins arrived, and the part of me that still believed in magic could barely wait to see it! I’d watched lots of movies at the old Fox Fullerton movie palace, built by the same company as Hollywood’s famous Chinese Theater, but I’d never anticipated any movie as much as this.

I was dropped off, along with half a dozen friends and sundry kid brothers and sisters. After an interminable wait, reality dimmed and the Sherman Brothers’ dreamlike score glided in on projector-light. Over the next 139 minutes, mystical Mary and her gleeful chimney sweep friend Burt led the Banks children through an enchanting pre-Harry Potter London, and I was with them every choreographed step of the way. Yet I celebrated and mourned at the same time. I kept thinking, “These are my last two hours of childhood. After this I have to stop believing in magic.”

As the credits faded, I sat staring at the screen, loathe to leave the magic behind, the chorus of “Chim Chim Cher-ee” echoing in my psyche: “Up where the smoke is all billered and curled, twixt pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world…”

Mom was late. So we wandered like vagrants, happening upon a half-open back alley doorway that led to a shadowy recessed area. I stepped down into the dark, followed by a friend’s younger siblings, thrilling them with an improvised story about the mysterious forces that lived here. They hung on every word, believing it was all true. I wanted it to be true, too, but knew it wasn’t; I was just making it up.

Suddenly, there was an intense burst of light, followed by a crack and a rumble, and then an explosion of music. Without knowing it, we’d entered the back of the theatre, and were standing behind the screen. “This is even more magical than the front side!” I thought.

At that moment, I began to realize that I would never have to stop believing in magic. And better yet, that through storytelling, music, and maybe even movie-making, one day I might…

Create magic for others!

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Memoir, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to The Day the Magic Died

  1. Sheree says:

    Great ambition

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Mother of All Calamities | Mitch Teemley

  3. Victoria says:

    Beautiful! There was magic…like a crackle of goodness in that movie. Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, fun early animation and dance sequences!? Ahhh…
    So glad you found ways to keep magic alive! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is beautiful, I can totally relate. I miss that magic. It’s tough to hold on to as I get older but also why I still spend every holiday watching these classics along with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Sound of Music.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sure glad you do create magic.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. revruss1220 says:

    What a great story and experience! It sure gives us some insight into the forces that have shaped you into the “magic creator” you are today. Side question: Dick Van Dyke is still alive, isn’t he? He was always a real source of magic and imagination for me.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. You sure created magic with your movie Notzilla! I would like a magical sequel.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. pkadams says:

    I loved those old musicals .

    Liked by 2 people

  9. An Audience of One says:

    And you’ve done just that!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. …and as they stood there, upon the yellow brick road, looking at their cell phones, the Tin Man declares: “That’s funny, I don’t have a heart emoji…. Norm

    Liked by 2 people

  11. And you do, my friend…

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Love that you figured out early on what your passion and mission was! Love it.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Your post is like a note from childhood.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. trE says:

    “At that moment, I began to realize that I would never have to stop believing in magic. And better yet, that through storytelling, music, and maybe evening movie-making, one day I might… Create magic for others!”

    And you have! I really like this installment, Mitch! Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz are two of my favorite movies!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. DeniseBalog says:

    Thank you, Mitch, for the lovely reminder of that magical time of my childhood. Celebrating my 10th birthday, my Mom and best friend and I board a train to see the movie in the City. Snow covered the landscape as we sped our way downtown. Oh, I haven’t thought about this treat in years. Blessings to you and your family in this new year!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Anonymous says:

    I also saw Mary Poppins at that Fox Theater in Fullerton. Searchlights were swirling in the cloudy evening sky when the movie ended and we walked out towards our car. Mom and dad told my sister and me that the lights were Mary Poppins flying through the air. We were very young and believed them. We were perplexed that Miss Poppins never came to visit us, even though she knew we were close by. Ah well, maybe that wave from the parking lot blew her cover.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I loved it. It was a legendary movie

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Jennie says:

    This is wonderful. Mitch. I will always believe in magic.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Pam Webb says:

    Looking behind the curtain revealed a different type of magic for you!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Discover and Explore says:

    I love your last words…At that moment, I began to realize that I would never have to stop believing in magic. And better yet, that through storytelling, music, and maybe even movie-making, one day I might… Create magic for others!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Susie says:

    I had a similar experience at 12. My life was mostly imagination . It was the Christmas concert at school and my part was over so I was in the audience . A class sang “Toyland” and as they sang the line “once you’ve crossed that border you can never go back again”- I may have the words wrong- it made me so sad that I’d literally watch for the border/ the age when I’d realize I wasn’t a child anymore ….

    Liked by 2 people

  22. JC home says:

    As a kid magic is all around. It does seem to fade a little as we age, but there are always children, a new generation. We can transfer that magical time to them in stories and memories so they never, ever die. The magic of our youth is in us always.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Mitch, you do create magic for others all the time through your stories. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Pingback: The Most Memorable Year of My Life | Mitch Teemley

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