The Best of Andy Rooney

No one is honest with us about time. For an example, when an airline tells you how long a flight will be they should be made to count the minutes and hours from the time they say you have to be at the airport, to the time the plane lands and you go into the terminal.

The time they actually give you when you ask the length of a flight is the minutes and hours from the time the plane takes off to the time it touches down. The time from boarding to takeoff can often be an hour. The amount of time you wait to get off a plane after it lands is apt to be another 20 minutes. This one hour and 20 minutes should be added to the advertised time of any flight.

Railroads don't have any way of making a trip sound shorter than it is. Maybe airlines should be made to change the word from "flight" to "trip" and give us an accurate number of hours and minutes it takes to reach your destination.

At the movies, they call the advertisements for upcoming films "trailers," but "trailers" don't trail anything. They precede it. We went to a film last weekend and were in the theater two hours and 23 minutes. The film we went to see lasted one hour and 41 minutes.

When you read a newspaper, you can skip the advertising, but in a theater you're trapped. You have to watch the commercials that precede the movie. Television's got you the same way, even though you pay for the programs you're going to watch when you pay your cable bill each month.

We don't go to the movies often but often enough so that I know they're giving us less entertainment and more advertising. Theaters ought to be made to have a sign at the door telling us exactly how long the movie is and the length of the trailers and everything else they're going to show besides the movie.

It must be a great temptation for theaters to sell advertising on the screen before a movie because they have a captive audience but they should resist it. Most of us would be willing to take a short look at an upcoming film but not at advertising for anything else. We had to watch five movie trailers. Why did we have to pay to get in?

There are several ways I judge how old I am besides the number of years I've lived, and one indication of my age comes to me every time I go to a movie. I clearly remember when I was young that after paying our 15 cents to get in, we clapped when we saw the organist walk down the aisle at the side to take his place at the instrument he played during the silent film. When he sat down at the organ, we knew the show was about to begin.

One of the highlights of going to the movies used to be the newsreels. There was always a five-minute news segment with pictures of what was happening around the world. I suppose television killed newsreels but I'm sorry they're gone. I'm not only sorry; I think theaters are making a mistake not having them. Newsreels had a character all their own and something television news doesn't have.

In addition to newsreels, movie theaters used to show comedies that were 8 or 10 minutes long before the feature began.

It's hard to conceive of what the future holds that will compare with the advance from silent films to movies with music and speaking characters. Where will realism end? There are movies in 3-D now. Will we be able to touch the actors on the screen in the future?

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