I wanted to make a movie list for Christmas, but not a list of Christmas movies, so I decided to zero in on something we often wish for but rarely get for Christmas in Texas where I live: snow. (Funnily enough, we might actually get it this year.) What follows is a chronological list of some of the most memorable moments in film where snow has made a cameo, whether it’s playing a key role or just hanging out in the background. Warning: may contain spoilers.

 

Please explain what just happened.

Just got back from San Diego Comicon. It’s like Woodstock for nerds. Which is why I love it! I did a panel for my new film about artist Drew Struzan titled Drew: The Man Behind the Poster. I was lucky enough to share the stage with my favorite artist Drew Struzan, actor Thomas Jane, producer Charles Ricciardi, cinematographer Greg Boas, editor Jeff Yorkes, Steve Saffel (Titan Books), composer Ryan Shore, and Zach Martin from Skywalker Sound. We had a great time doing it, and it really helped bring attention to the film.

 

What is your earliest memory?  

Okay, this is super nerdy, but my earliest memory is seeing the original Star Wars in the theatre when I was a little kid. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Darth Vader totally scared me. And Han Solo became my hero. I know it’s geeky, but true.

Summer at the cinema is very nearly here, which means I’ve been thinking about robots.  This one, for instance:

I meant to write a comment on D. R. Haney’s post “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” from the day that I read it nearly three months ago. I wanted to compliment the writing. Praise the unrushed development of the ideas. Express the jealousy I felt as Duke explained what particular movies had meant to his developing sense of identity. There was no repertory theater within a hundred mile radius of where I grew up, and the flicks that hit the two screens in our small town in the 1980s were at very best of dubious merit. Never mind Shampoo and Taxi Driver. Halloween 3 would come and sit in the theater for weeks, without Halloween 1 ever having been there. Duke’s piece made me wish that hadn’t been the case, and that I had developed an interest in film, which I never really did.

It was 1977, Apple debuted its first computer, Star Wars ruled the world, and my dad started a new secret job. Dad previously was a California Highway Patrolman, just like Erik Estrada in CHiPs. He retired in 1974 after an auto accident and got into the exotic car business, refurbishing and selling cars at several lots around Los Angeles.

I was six years old the first time Dad took me to his work. On the weekends, my younger sister, Kristen, and I played hideandseek in the car lots, giggling away in between vintage ModelT Fords, Rolls Royces and Porsches. Customers told Dad how adorable we were as we climbed in and out of the cars.

Mom liked it when Dad took us to work. It got us out of her hair, and we returned home sapped of energy and ready for bed. When I turned nine, however, I noticed Dad stopped talking to me about work. He had a new job, and no longer shared his wild car stories with me. I thought I had done something wrong.

Mom wouldn’t let me wait up for him, but Dad always came into my bedroom and kissed me goodnight when he got home. My parents shot each other looks at the dinner table, as I shifted in my seat. I wondered what they were keeping from me; why they were upset with me.

My parents started whispering in the kitchen. While we watched Bugs Bunny in the den, my sister and I tried eavesdropping on their conversation.

“I don’t like you coming home every night at three in the morning smelling of booze and smoke.”

I can’t help it, the club was packed tonight and I got stuck working the floor.”

“Can’t you air your clothes outside of the house?”

One Saturday night, the babysitter cancelled for the next day. Mom’s face was strained when she hung up the phone. The inevitable happened: she had to work all day, and the neighbors were out of town. After exchanging tense glances and whispers, Dad walked into the den, grabbed my knee, and announced he was taking us with him to work the next day.

There was nothing more fun than a day with Dad — hello Fruit Loops and Disney, goodbye Corn Flakes and Mr. Rogers! I couldn’t sleep a wink that night.

Amy Grant gospel music played in the kitchen as Mom made us breakfast that next morning, stoically hacking bananas for our cereal. Dad walked into the kitchen wearing a maroon leather jacket and matching ankle boots over grey polyester slacks and a white dress shirt — think Gene Hackman in The French Connection. He grabbed Mom in a bear hug and gave her a Cheshire Cat grin. She squirmed away to place the cereal bowl in front of me.

“Will you let us dance?” I asked. We only knew two things about his new job: they played disco music and served burgers.

He looked down sheepishly while mom stood there, frozen. “I really don’t like the idea of this,” she said.

Distracted and running late, she needed us out of the way. She donned her white kitty-print nurse’s uniform and brushed her Dorothy Hamill bob instead of readying us with a backpack full of sandwiches and coloring books.

She grabbed me gently by the shoulders, leaned forward and looked me in the eye. “Don’t do anything stupid.”

Stethoscope and nametag in place, she yelled to us, “Somebody clean out Coco’s litter box,” as she slammed the front door, leaving without a kiss goodbye.

We drove down the 405 freeway for about an hour and got off in Inglewood. Kristen and I were both born there, but now it wasn’t that great of a neighborhood. I made sure my door was locked. We drove down Imperial Highway — it was empty on a Sunday morning. Dad pulled our orange van into a gated parking lot. As the door slid open, I could see airplanes flying overhead and a neon sign. We climbed out of the van and I squinted in the sun to get a closer look at the sign. It had the silhouette of a woman riding atop a plane and the name “Jet Strip.” My sister and I exchanged looks of excitement: maybe he worked at the airport! He parked the van and adjusted his handgun resting in its ankle-strap holster. I decided to leave my Holly Hobbie doll behind.

“Here we are.” We walked to the back of the building. He turned off the alarm, unbolted the door and let us in.

It was like walking into a matinee movie. The place was pitch black. It took my eyes awhile to adjust. I smelled Windex and stale smoke.

Dad held our hands and escorted us in until we could see. He tossed his keys on the bar and turned on the stage lights to reveal a rotating disco ball. Soon the Bee Gee’s Night Fever played over the stereo system.

Kristen and I ran to the stage and climbed up with Dad’s help. We danced on brightly-lit colored floor panels surrounded by mirrors, and laughed as we pointed to where the disco ball reflected on our swaying bellbottoms. We played hopscotch with the colored panels, and our hands squeaked as we swung around the shiny brass pole in the middle of the stage: it was little girl heaven.

Bright blinding sun filled the room as pretty women filtered in one after the other, smiling, laughing and giving us puzzled looks as we carried on. Somehow I thought I could blend in as an adult at the club, I mean I was eight years old after all. That was only two years before double-digit years. But when the dancers arrived, I felt embarrassed. I froze in place, and fumbled off the stage like a little girl.

“Oh girls?” Dad yelled across the club. Kristen and I ran over to the bar and met a tall, thin woman, with perfect blond hair straight out of Alice in Wonderland. She told us her name was Kelly, as she played with our pigtails and asked, “What would you ladies like to drink?”

Unsure of what to order, I asked for milk.

“I’m fresh out of milk. How about two Shirley Temples?” she suggested, and came back with two drinks for us, decorated with umbrellas and maraschino cherries.  “What’s in it?” Kristen asked. I had already slammed down half of mine and asked for another cherry. Dad had his signature tonic water in hand. He was always trying to get me to like it, so I pretended I did.

More women came over to us at the bar; Dad was proud to show us off. We met dancers named Crystal, Amber, Destiny, and I could swear I met one named Jell-O. “Those are their stage names, not their real names,” Dad revealed. I wondered why anyone would want two names.

We grabbed our drinks and followed Dad into the games room in the back corner. It wasn’t at all like the vibrant and crowded video arcade at our local mall. This one was dark, empty and complete with cigarette machine, pool tables and video games. Dad pushed some buttons so we could play “Space Invaders” for free.

I was buzzed from all the excitement, and the chance to experience the adult world. But what was so adult about it? It seemed like the perfect place for kids.

The club officially opened at 11 a.m., as customers trickled in. Dad told us the women were professional dancers. They would each dance to three different songs, but we were only allowed to watch the first. This sent my mind racing — what the difference was between each dance?

Crystal was the first to dance. She wore a long, red rhinestone dress with slits up the side. She looked like a beauty pageant contestant. She slinked onto the stage and danced slowly. Men tossed dollar bills on the stage and applauded when she ended her dance.

As another song started, Dad rounded up my sister and me and herded us through a secret door. The passage led upstairs to an office with wood-paneled walls, beige shag carpeting, a gray metal desk, and a worn out burgundy, pleather couch with gold rivets. There was a TV sitting on a glass coffee table. Along the wall opposite the couch were several security monitors displaying small, fuzzy, blackandwhite views of the parking lot, the bar, the door, and the stage.

A door opened onto the roof, and we joined Dad out there to watch airplanes fly overhead. When we returned inside, he slipped a bootlegged copy of Star Wars into a Beta videotape player.

Dad told us we could eat anything we wanted from the kitchen, and his cook Carl took our order for lunch. We both went straight for the hamburgers with extra ketchup and pickles.

“Don’t watch the security monitors,” Dad said sternly. “I’ll come back up to check on you in a bit.”  We sat on the couch, ate our burgers, and watched the movie, drinking from glasses of Coke garnished with umbrellas.

After lunch we shoved Double Bubble gum into our mouths and read the comics on the wrappers. I ran over to the monitors and Kristen followed me. There was no audio feed, but we could feel Journey’s “Wheel in the Sky” vibrating through the floor and walls as a dancer, now topless with high heels and dark hair, swung around the pole. Our jaws dropped; our eyes were glued to the stage monitor.

Carl returned and collected our dishes. “Would you young ladies like a tour of the kitchen?” Actually, I was pretty settled in at the moment, secretly watching naked women dance, but I didn’t want to be rude.

“Sure,” I said. Kristen was silent but followed us back downstairs for a tour of the kitchen.

We stood mesmerized by ice cream and the raw meat hanging in the walk-in freezer. As Carl walked away, we peeked through the order window at the live stage. Kelly came on, wearing high-heeled shoes and a sheer nightgown.

She shimmied out of her nightgown to reveal bright pink sparkling underwear which, as she swung around the pole, I noticed was missing the back. How did she get her underwear to stay on?

The customers whistled, and she seemed to be having fun — dancing around, flipping her hair, legs in the air. As the song ended, Kelly grabbed her clothes and the dollar bills, and scurried off the stage.

“Isn’t she embarrassed?” Kristen whispered to me.

Dad found us in the kitchen and promptly returned us to the office, where we stayed put until he drove us back home.

On the ride home he promised we could visit the Jet Strip again, “Just don’t tell your mother you saw the dancers fully nude.”

We asked questions about the girls being naked in front of an audience.

“They make really good money, that’s why.”

“So are they real dancers like me? Do they take ballet?”

“Yeah, some do have a dance background.”

“Do you feel bad about the dancers being naked?”

“No, sweetheart. The girls make good money, so I make good money, which means I can provide more for our family. Do you understand that?”

“Yes Dad.”

His customers were mostly married, he said, but wanted to look at pretty girls with nice bodies. “Not all women have bodies like that.”

“Why do the men’s wives let them come here?”

“Oh, I doubt they tell their wives, honey.”

As we walked in the front door, John Denver blasted on the stereo, and Mom greeted us with dinner. Kristen and I told her all of our stories. She mostly responded with curt “mhmm’s,” but continued listening.  “Mommy, don’t you want to know who we met?” We told her about Kelly serving us Shirley Temples and Carl grilling us burgers. We left out the naked dancing part because we wanted to go back.

I was afraid to tell her that I was still full from all the food I’d eaten, and tried to finish dinner. Her face was stiff, her eyes weary, but I knew she wouldn’t be mad at us if only she knew how much fun it was. “Girls, I don’t think it’s a good idea to tell your friends at school about the Jet Strip, she said.

Kristen and I looked at each other and giggled, trying to conceal our smiles. And that’s when she knew.

After dinner, we ran to play in the backyard, where we put two picnic benches together in a Tshape. I played Barry Manilow’s “Copa Cobana” on our tape player, and Dad introduced us with our new stage names, Holly and Coco, as we walked onto our stage, dancing around.

“Look Mommy, look!” we waved to her in the kitchen window as she washed the dishes. She gave us a halfwave and said “Hi, girls.” Then she bowed her head down to the sink and returned to her work.

To begin I have absolutely no place peddling love advice to anyone. In college I had my fair share of trysts, long distance relationships, one-night-stands but that was less romance and more “young horny people doing it.” There’s no trick to that, other than confining yourself in a small town with an unlimited supply of alcohol and surrounding yourself with people between 18 and 22 who don’t live with their parents.

I wouldn’t say I’ve been lucky in love, but I have been lucky once, lucky enough to realize I had a good thing and mature enough not to fuck it up. I’ve been married for ten years, but I’m not cocky  enough to call that success. Should longevity be the only standard? What about variety? Would I be more successful if like the late Liz Taylor I had seven marriages? Longevity in a marriage can mean many things aside from success in love, such as inertia, you’re too lazy to divorce, or busy enough with careers and kids to bother thinking about it. Wow, that was harsh. Minor reactor leak. We’re fine. We’re all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?

To quote from those masters of the persuasive arts, the infomercial writers, I know my Star Wars advice is effective because it works.  I have seen it. And more importantly the inverse fails every time.

This astonishing advice pertains specifically to men. Though ladies, if you want to jump on the band wagon and woo a mate by dressing like Slave Princess Leia, I will not stop you. But first a caveat. I have been to ComicCon. There are precious few body types that work with Slave Princess Leia: elven maids, dryads and anyone with the special effects support of Industrial Light and Magic. And Kristen Bell. It’s very easy to be either too fat or too thin to successfully occupy the outfit. The outfit looks a little better if you have a few extra pounds; if you’re too thin people will suspect you are actually one of Jabba’s slaves in real life. And they will worry.

My advice is for guys who have realized that they are too nice. You know who you are. You’ve all of a sudden been run roughshod in a string of relationships, your heart has been pulled violently from your chest on too many occasions, women think of you as a friend, that really safe friend with feathered dirty blond hair, a love of khaki and two quirky robot sidekicks.

The Star Wars advice for you Sensitive New Age Guys, those who actually like Ani DeFranco instead of just pretending to like her to get laid (and come on, who hasn’t?), is this:

Turn down the Luke. Turn Up the Han.

Learn it. Embrace it. Become it. (Yes, t-shirts are available).

Most guys who see Star Wars for the first time at a young age originally identify with Luke. He was the ultimate good guy, the farmer turned ninja/priest who could move stuff with his mind. The naive teenager who eventually brings his successful and powerful father back from his really busy corporate job so they can finally play ball together. The last Jedi, who blew up the Death Star not once but twice because come on, George Lucas doesn’t have time to think up new stuff.

When I played Star Wars with my friends during kindergarten recess everyone wanted to be Luke. But as we got older though we no longer whined to go Toshi Station*. We wanted to be the cool space cowboy who shoots Greedo at point blank range. Mal Reynolds, the Sergeant who called himself Captain in Joss Whedon’s Firefly is a clear homage to the cult of Han. The series was not at all harmed by a lack of Luke, and believe me: if Joss Whedon doesn’t need Luke, neither does your girlfriend. Even George Lucas realized the dangerous sex fountain he’d unleashed with Han Solo and tried to take it back, digitally editing Star Wars to make it look like Greedo shot first, and Han shot back in self-defense.

This is not to say that “you should start out like Han and end up like Luke,” because every girl is secretly attracted to The Bad Boy but wants to marry the Good Boy. Nobody ends up with Luke. Because seriously, even though Luke Skywalker is the chosen one and has enough midi-chlorians to fill an Olympic swimming pool, he lacks the kung-fu to realize immediately that Princess Leia is his sister? That dude is not on the lady wavelength and I don’t care if it was a long time ago in a galaxy far away: you do not bang your sister, Jedi.

To the Lukes out there, I feel your pain because I used to be one of you. You’re the guys who fall in love too quickly and too deeply, who pine away then can’t believe that anyone would deign to sleep with you much less go shopping with you for power converters. You are prone to jealousy, your wounded deer over-sensitivity eventually drives them off and you don’t know why you’re constantly nursing a broken heart. When women are with you they say “you’re so nice.” Behind your back they say you’re too nice.

It took me nineteen years to transition out of the Luke costume. I was in a stalled relationship, living with a girl with whom I held a mutual dislike. At a Berkeley Halloween party at twenty-five I dressed as Han Solo, and one night in his big leather space boots made all the difference. I noticed a new girl. We started flirting. There was risk, sure, and it led to more than a little heartbreak. The new girl was who I married ten years ago.

It’s not that you shouldn’t be a gentleman. But if you turn up the Han you’re an honorable scoundrel and a gentleman, you’re self-assured enough drive a shitty car without worrying what other people think. Turn down the Luke, turn up the Han and don’t be afraid to shoot first.

[Nerd Flame Bait: yes I recognize that there are two spellings, Toshi and Tosche, to describe the Anchorhead general store Luke whines about in Episode IV. If you don’t like what I’m selling buy your power converters elsewhere. But don’t give into hate.]

-CNN 7/23/2010

With the Death Star in foreclosure,
and the Storm Troopers laid off,
he had begun to doubt his
unwavering faith
that the Force would be with him.

Not even his old pal Jabba
was willing to grant him a loan
to pay his child’s support anymore,
citing too high a credit risk
in an unstable galactic economy.

The bank surveillance camera showed
a nervous cyborg dressed in camouflage,
one mechanical hand pointing
a lightsaber at the scared young teller;
but it was the heavy breathing
that had ultimately
tipped off authorities.

And as he fled the scene that morning,
Darth Vader felt a tinge of nostalgia
for the good old days,
when he could warp speed himself
out of anything,
or choke a man unconscious
if he really needed to escape.

He despised the life of the petty criminal,
preferring to smash rebel alliances
and seize their assets,
play all those Jedi mind-tricks
that had once earned him a reputation
as CEO of the dark side,

before the bailouts
and calls for reform came,
when the growth of the Empire
had still seemed inevitable,
a long time ago,
in a galaxy far, far away.

A lot has been written about Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, both in the mainstream media and even here on TNB. It was an important feature of Matt Baldwin’s “When Stupid People Go To Smart Movies,” and was also mentioned in “Legacy, Lightcycles, and Lady Gaga,” a discussion between Cynthia Hawkins and Gloria Harrison. As it happens, I’ve also tapped Ms. Hawkins, who has become TNB’s resident film expert, for a post about Black Swan. Below you’ll find a conversation she and I recently had about how audiences perceive independent films compared to those built using the more traditional Hollywood model, as well as some questions for you, the TNB reader. Thanks in advance for sharing your time and thoughts with us.

I love the popular Bruce Willis action film Die Hard. Of course I do: there are explosions, expletives and badly dressed German criminals. I also like the second instalment and believe that Die Hard With a Vengeance has one of the greatest openings of any film ever.

“So the Death Star is the woman?” Sam asked.

“Yes!Finally!Someone else finally gets it.I’ve been trying to say that for half an hour,” the stripper said.She had to be a stripper.I had been passively sitting at a table in the back room of the Laff Stop, sipping on a Jameson and watching this nuclear winter of a conversation for the past twenty minutes.

Okay.  I am not an orderly, neat-freak sort of person.  Though I have an inexplicable, longstanding repulsion of bathtub drains, as in if I accidentally touch one I will spend at least ten minutes convincing myself I’m not going to vomit by thinking happy thoughts about polar bear babies with my eyes scrunched shut.  There’s just something about a bathtub drain being the equivalent of a bathtub’s anus, maybe, that implies it will never, ever be clean no matter what you do to it.  But I am not neurotic nor fastidious nor particularly organized. I mean, you should see the rest of my bathroom.  Maybe once a year, we chisel into five inches of residue to remind ourselves the bathroom countertop is white.  Things stick to it.  Cotton balls.  Band-aid wrappers.  And stay there for months like bug carcasses in a barnyard web.  I should be repulsed by the toothpaste tumor amassing in the bottom of the toothbrush cup.  My friend showed me an animation of what happens when you flush the toilet and your toothbrush is nearby.  Think nuclear fallout in a bathroom-shaped radius.  Think fecal matter instead of ashes.  I should be repulsed by that.  My bathroom says it all:  I’m a mess, but there’s a small, bathtub-drain-sized chance I could completely flip out and be anything but.  I am an O.C.D. time bomb.

Inadvertently, I think I began my son’s interest in guns.

I didn’t mean to.  I didn’t even realize what I’d done until my husband commented that the cool Star Wars light saber I’d just bought our son could constitute as giving him his first weapon.

I was quieted by this parenting mistake.  I make them, as do all parents, often, and I hung my head in shame.  But I let him play with it anyway.  I was indulging his Star Wars interest and he very clearly knew that Star Wars was just pretend.  We then got a Star Wars Legos set but this time I took the Storm Troopers’ guns and put them back in the box.  But soon enough Benjamin was playing, shouting, “Blasters!”

This went on for a bit and actual guns never really made it into his play or even his vocabulary.  And I was pleased.  I’m not one of those extremist moms (he watches TV, he eats ice cream), but I decided early on that we would be a household free of gunplay.

But then the light saber led to pirate swords and then of course blasters and then to my utter sorrow, guns.

When Benjamin holds a stick or a plastic golf club and says, “GUNS!” there is usually a smile on his face.  He doesn’t seem to understand the complete terror a gun can bring.  And I don’t feel ready to explain to him the horror I felt when my best friend and I had a gun pulled on us when walking near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, even though the guy then put it down and started to laugh and headed off into the night.  My four year old does not need to understand that kind of fear.  But I feel I should explain to him why I say guns are bad.

I am stuck now between explaining it to him honestly or letting him continue with his four year old innocence.  I would prefer he not know about them and stay in his happy place.  But they are seeping in with or without my guidance.  It’s there when we read Babar and the hunter kills his mommy and Benjamin asks why.  It’s there when The Storm Troopers come raring in chasing Luke and Han.  It’s there as he plays cops and robbers.

Perhaps boys will just be boys.  Perhaps.

And I don’t want to hinder his imagination.  When he tells me he wants to be a policeman when he grows up, I try to recognize that it is because he knows policemen help people, it is not because he wants to wield a gun.  His imagination is growing and merging with real, harsh events.  But he doesn’t need a push to get there.  He doesn’t need me buying him toys that behave as weapons.  One friend of mine was rightfully appalled that toy guns were given out in a birthday favor bag.  When guns and adult ideas come up, we can explain it to the best of our ability, but we don’t have to hand it to them with a bow on top.

My best friend, the same one who was there with me that scary night in Paris, recently told me about how her 3 year old son was at the playground and met an older boy.  There was a baby near by and at the older boy’s urging, her son and this boy began circling the baby and started chanting, “Let’s kill the baby!”  My friend was horrified and took her son home saying something simple like, “That’s not nice.”  Later, while cuddling in bed, he began chanting again.  “Kill!  Kill!”  She began to cry at these words coming from her little boy’s mouth and seeing his mother cry, then so did he.

As I look back on this story, I realize now I got a little “sanctimommy” on her and told her this was a perfect opportunity to talk to him about what kill and death mean, to discuss his feelings, that it was a missed parenting opportunity.  It was only once I retold the story to my husband, that he looked at me directly and said, “You would cry too.”  And he was right.

As our children discover new ideas, both good and bad, it is hard for us to keep up with how to broach the subject with them.  I wanted to be the all-explaining, patient, honest mother.  But some things are just so big, they are hard to explain to a child.  And I don’t want to say the wrong thing, like when I was discussing his grandfather’s death with him, I said something like, “Well, someday we’re all going to die.”  He looked at me with such fear and searching that though I was being honest I knew I had said too much and then just said, “Who wants ice cream?!!”

I am not sure what the answer is.  I don’t want to make guns and violence more attractive by making it completely off limits with no explanation as to why.

So when it happens again, perhaps I will follow my best friend’s lead, because seeing his own mother cry, might have been the best explanation her little boy could have been given.

At the beginning of Return of the Jedi, it’s like Luke Skywalker’s gone mad. He’s swinging that lightsaber around left and right, slicing here, dicing there–he’s killing up a storm with that thing!

Jabba’s friends and employees have no chance because–finally–Luke is a man!

He started out with a whiny voice, a need to get power converters at Tosche station, and absolutely no lightsaber. My how things change during the course of a trilogy.

The Northpark Mall Theater. The Color of Money. 1986. I was getting ready to move again. Just thirty miles north this time, and mom and dad had arranged for a couple of kids from the new school to take me to the movies. Dad knew one of their parents through work. A football player and a cheerleader … and me, the kid who built miniature set designs out of shoe boxes in drama class and recited lines from All the President’s Men at random and set her alarm clock so she could phone in the answer to the morning quiz on the oldies station – you know, the kind when they play a two-second clip and you have to guess what it is.

One of the great tragedies of childhood was my inability to harness the forces of witchcraft. It wasn’t for lack of trying. You have no idea how many times I stared at my homework and wiggled my nose, hoping to cause math problems to magically solve themselves, how many times I urged the kitchen dishes to become spontaneously clean with a snap of my finger. For years I was convinced the problem had to do with sound effects, or more specifically a lack of them. On “Bewitched,” whenever someone cast a spell, it was invariably accompanied by the sound of a harp or a bell or both. My spells were devastatingly silent.