A pair of movie memories from the early 80s.

by Leigh Moulden

I went to many movies before I could even walk. My parents married young, while my dad was still in college. They could not afford a babysitter, so they would bring me along every time they went to the local drive-in. They would dress me in my pajamas and put me in the backseat of my dad’s 1954 Ford Falcon with a pillow. I would sleep through the movies while they enjoyed a double feature.

The first film my mom took me to for my own enjoyment was the 1982 re-release of Disney’s Bambi (1942). I was almost five years old. We lived in Richardson, Texas and still only had the Falcon for transportation. Lucky for us, the movie theatre was within walking distance. A neighbor watched my little brother while we went; it was such a treat to go out, alone, with my mom!

I remember loving Bambi and Thumper! I do not remember the “traumatic” scene (of Bambi’s mother’s death) at all. I called my mom today and asked her if I had cried. She said I wasn’t even clear on what had happened, so she didn’t fill in the blanks for me.

The second movie I remember seeing was at that same theater. They were showing The Muppet Movie (1979). It must have been a re-release, or else they were doing a “kid’s day” or something. As it turns out, we didn’t make it through the beginning of the film. The opening scene ends with Animal’s face taking up the entire screen. My brother lost his tiny little three-year-old mind! He screamed so loudly and could not be consoled, so we left. We later saw The Muppet Movie at home, on our brand new VCR.


Leigh Moulden is the thirty-something wife to Daniel and mother to two unreasonably growing children (a seventh grader and a third grader). She and her family live in the suburbs of Dallas. Leigh has a degree from the University of North Texas in Radio/TV/Film and has worked as a DJ at several stations. When she’s not ferrying the children around, she volunteers her time at In-Sync Exotics, a sanctuary for abused, abandoned, and neglected big cats (think tigers, lions, cheetahs …). Besides loving her family and big cats, she also loves art.  Some of her favorite kinds of art are filmmaking, performance art, and her husband’s oil paintings. (Editor’s note: Daniel Moulden is an AMAZING artist. I have one of his beautiful paintings hanging on the wall of my bedroom as I write this. I cannot recommend his work highly enough!) 



by Robert McCarthy

The first movie I ever saw was Gremlins (1984). I was five years old, and we were living in the Philippines on Clark Air Force Base. My sister and I walked to the bus stop and took a bus to the theater.

Frankly, the movie scared the shit out of me. The scene in the movie theater was particularly scary to me. Still, I didn’t hide my eyes during the scary parts (I’m more likely to do that now than I was then, to be honest!). I remember going home and just being scared. I curled up on my parents’ mattress with all the lights on. They were so amused at how badly the movie scared me.

But I also have several fond memories of the movie. I really remember the smokeless, odorless ashtray that the dad was selling–for some reason, it fascinated me. And later, I got a Gizmo doll, which I loved.

I think I’ve maybe seen Gremlins once or twice since then, but definitely not in recent memory. I think I probably saw it a couple of times when it was airing on cable back in the early 1990s.


Robert McCarthy is an avid snowboarding enthusiast (as you can no doubt tell from this photograph). He lives in Sacramento, California with his lovely wife, Ashley.

3 thoughts on “A pair of movie memories from the early 80s.

  1. Leigh, Robert, I enjoyed your post, and your reminiscences of BAMBI, GREMLINS, THE MUPPET MOVIE, and your experiences in drive-in movies. Leigh, I must admit I got a kick out of your description of your little brother watching (some of) THE MUPPET MOVIE: “My brother lost his tiny little three-year-old mind!” Hope he’s gotten over it by now! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your movie memories!

  2. Robert: I watched Gremlins a few months ago and even as an adult it scares me!
    Leigh: I laughed out loud at your description of your brother losing his “tiny three-year-old mind”.
    These are both excellent posts.

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