On This Side Idolatry…

Photo by balive@imdb.com
Photo by balive@imdb.com

William Shakespeare entered my lifeRead Ben Jonson's On Shakespeare in which he writes of his near idolatry. in the summer of 1953 shortly after my eighth birthday. I treated myself to a matinee of Julius Caesar at the Hawaii movie theater on Hollywood Boulevard. I can only speculate about my reasons for wanting to see that film.

The full-color poster may have misled me into thinking it was a Cecil B. DeMille Technicolor epic. Big-screen color movies were rare in those days. Or perhaps someone told me a gang of Romans in togas stabbed an emperor to death. That would have appealed to my eight-year old sensibilities. Or maybe my mother recently took me to see Marlon Brando in Viva Zapata! and James Mason in The Desert Rats. Perhaps I was sophisticated enough to want to see them again, together in their latest work, though I doubt it.

Shakespeare's works appealed to me first in their language, then in their themes and characters

What I know for certain is that this small, talky, black and white movie made an immediate and lasting impression. In time I realized Shakespeare's works appealed to me first in their language, then in their themes and characters – in close order, and inseparably integrated. This website, still in its embryonic stage, brings together things I've learned about Shakespeare and many of the lines I love. Enjoy.

~ John McGinnis