I was channel-surfing the other day and stumbled across Woody Allen’s Play It Again, Sam, which opens with the last scene from Casablanca. The camera pulls back to reveal Allen watching the film in a small art house–the kind of theater of which Manhattan once had many, but now has only a few.
As I watched, I thought, I wonder how many people under the age of 45 saw Casablanca for the first time in a theater? I’m 47, and I first saw it in a Kansas City revival house a quarter-century ago, just prior to the introduction of home video recorders. Back then, seeing Casablanca anywhere was still a big deal: it didn’t get shown all that often on local TV stations, and there weren’t yet any cable networks devoted exclusively to old movies. Come to think of it, there weren’t any cable networks, period….
Read the whole thing here.