Reel Fathers and Father's Day

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Loaded with Action!

I was all set to write a list of a bunch of great Father’s Day films on ClearPlay, manly man movies that would send the message, “Hey, Dad, you don’t have to watch anything with Meryl Streep in it today! This is your day!”

I stopped in mid-sentence when I realized it’s been almost a decade since my own father passed away.

Wow. Nine years ago. It doesn’t seem possible.

Of course, my dad’s passing isn’t exactly big film news. But if it weren’t for him, I would never have gotten involved with movies. He introduced me to films at an early age, one of the first being the great action film “The Adventures of Robin Hood” starring Errol Flynn. In fact, it seems like all those movies he showed me back then had Errol Flynn in them, and they elicited my dad’s one sentence criterion for a good movie: “It was loaded with action.”

It seemed like we went to a movie a week, my dad and I. We’d line up faithfully each weekend for the likes of “Goodbye Charlie,” “Maya,” “Around the World Under the Sea,” “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,” and, when things were really bad, some Jerry Lewis career killer like “Way…Way Out.” I got to choose the movies, and it must have been agonizing for my dad to sit through some of those shows. I had no idea they were lousy. It never mattered. I was with my dad.

Junior High rolled around and it wasn’t cool to go to movies with one’s dad anymore. Soon after, work took dad to New Jersey, and we didn’t become movie partners again until the late ‘80s, after he retired. By then, I had a family of my own, but we still managed to get out a couple of times a month for a film. He had started watching Kung Fu Theater on TV, so when we went to the movies, he usually wanted to see the Holy Trinity of action: Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Oh, yeah, the movies were awful, but the movie never mattered. I was with my dad.

In his last few months, Dad just lay in bed, not interested in anything. Toward the end, to see if there was any spark left, I asked him if he wanted to watch “The Adventures of Robin Hood” on video for old times’ sake. “No,” came the tired answer. “Maybe later.” I knew there would be no later. I talked to my mom a bit more before readying to leave. As I was walking down the hall, my dad’s voice came from the room in one last, coherent joke: “Give my regards to Robin Hood!”

I will, Dad.

And you say hi to Errol Flynn

Marty Nabhan— ClearPlay Son