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The Movie Mystic: Bringing Back The Old Hollywood

by Stephen Simon

Fade In.

We’re in a family room in the year 2023.

A couple in their early fifties are watching one of their favorite films on Turner Classic Movies as their teenage daughter walks in, sits next to them for a moment, and speaks.

“You guys are so cute with your old movies.”

“Thanks, sweetheart,” Mom laughs.

“Can I ask you something?” the daughter responds.

Putting the film on pause, Dad says “Sure. What’s up?”

“It must have been so cool for you guys to have lived during a time when they still actually made new movies every year. What was that like?”

Fade Out.

Or Not.

It’s up to us.

So begins my new book, Bringing Back The Old Hollywood.

The spirit of The Old Hollywood is engrained in my soul and in the souls of hundreds of millions of people around the world.

I grew up in the Old Hollywood. Frank Sinatra was my “godfather”. My father was a producer and director who made movies with stars like Lucille Ball, Lana Turner, Abbott and Costello, and Dad’s best friend, Red Skelton

In my own career, I have produced movies with Christopher Reeve, Tom Cruise, Robin Williams, and Madonna, who gave me lessons in honesty. Yes, truly, she did.

I also hired and then fired Nancy Meyers who went on to become the most successful woman director (The Holiday, What Woman Want, It’s Complicated) in the history of the film business. Oh, and I said “no” to Steven Spielberg.

Obviously, a genius I’m not.

As the excerpt at the beginning of this column illustrates, unless something dramatic is done, new movies will soon become extinct. In the book, I talk about how The New Hollywood temporarily pushed The Old Hollywood out of the way.

Bringing Back The Old Hollywood is a passionate declaration that The Old Hollywood is most definitely not gone forever. Like Brigadoon, it has only been cocooned, soon to emerge in a newer and more dazzling form.

We miss The Old Hollywood even more when today we see the eighth sequel to some mindless action film, or the same formulaic story told over and over again, or comedy so crass that it embarrasses us, or violence so graphic that it numbs our senses, or the seemingly endless parade of dark, cynical, nihilistic films that masquerade as “deep” but in actuality make us feel ashamed even to be human.

For more information about Bringing Back The Old Hollywood, please connect to www.TheOldHollywood.com Bringing Back The Old Hollywood is not just a book that I hope will both amuse and entertain you. It’s also not just a metaphor. It is a call to action and involvement so that we can truly bring back The Old Hollywood.

(Stephen Simon produced such films as Somewhere in Time and What Dreams May Come and co-founded www.spiritualcinemacircle.com)

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