Dad takes on Humphrey Bogart

If I had a dollar for every time I found my dad watching “Casablanca” when I was a kid, I probably wouldn’t have to go to work today. As a child, the old black-and-white movies bored me to death, but now I have quite a large classic movie selection. I definitely prefer the classics to most of the movies being made today.

I guess Dad felt the same way. I remember how Mom and I would want to go to the mall or on some outing on a Sunday afternoon, and Dad would tell us to wait until the end of the movie. Even my mom would be miffed. “You’ve seen that movie over and over, you know how it ends,” she would scold him out of frustration. It didn’t matter because it was “Casablanca” and Humphrey Bogart was lighting up the screen. Dad would sit in front of the TV, transfixed, and not budge until the credits started rolling.

That’s why I was thrilled to find this photo of Dad, who looks like he’s doing his best Bogart impersonation. It’s obviously a photo booth photo, but there’s no date and I have no idea where it was taken. I know Dad wanted to get into acting, and judging by this photo, he could have easily been an extra in a film noir movie of the era. He’s definitely going for the hard-boiled detective look in this photo.

It seems that people of my parents’ generation found simple ways to escape out of the doldrums of daily life. My dad was not the most fascinating person in the world, but I’ve stumbled upon great photos like these that show a completely different side of him. When I think back on the photos I have of myself, there’s nothing nearly as interesting. I think now we are more concerned about being seen at XYZ tourist destination, thinking that by being present in a certain location, it will transform us, but back in the day, when perhaps travel wasn’t as easy for everyone, people like my Dad transformed themselves instead of their environment.

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