Monday, 10 February 2014

A bit of nostalgia Part 1

The strange distant world of my early childhood

How "strange" and distant seems to me the world in the late 1950's, when I lived in downtown Zagreb and when the  rock&roll was still young. I was eagerly waiting for Sundays to watch the new westerns at some of the numerous movie theatres. My father had three rather demanding tasks on Sunday mornings: to buy groceries at the farmers market, to buy a rye bread with seeds at the best bakery in town and to get the thickets for the film. If it was a new western and in colour, the chances were slim of getting the good seats, or even of getting them at all. Town's punks usually bought the vast number of the good seats and were scalping them before the show. Of course, my father had to make it back home in time for my mother to prepare a Sunday lunch for the family.
 Those happy times are long gone, but still not forgotten.

Zagreb, Croatia in 1958. My home town for decades. It was still a part of the now ex Yugoslavia. A photograph (above) was taken from the roof of the Main railway station (built at the turn of the century). In the Autumn of 1958, we moved from our small apartment near the town's centre to the house we bought. The house was near the river Sava and was actually in a suburbia at the time. No need to mention, the house has "virtually moved" since then and has been in the middle of the town for a few decades now.

Another view from the station:

The new part of town. You can see the modern Le Corbusier style buildings and the broad avenue, but the traffic is ridiculously scarce for today's standards.

Below is the raft at the Sava river where I spent many happy days with my parents. Unfortunately, the river became a cloaca in the next few years that followed, due to the rapid urban and industrial development. The various species of fish vanished from the dirty waters.

A statue near the city zoo and the stadium. I don't know what is this Bactrian camel doing here and why it is admiring the statue?

 Park Maksimir (where do zoological garden still is) entrance (1960)

The main square in Zagreb (below). Initially it was  called Jelachic Platz after the mid 19th century Croatian Governor and a victorious general. Under the communist regime, his statue was brought down and the square renamed (Trg Republike- The Republic square). After the deconstruction of Yugoslavia, the monument was resembled, mounted and the square got his old name back.

The main square in 1957.

One of the busiest and longest streets: Ilica

The main theme of the film the Bridge on the River Kwai was very catchy and was frequented on the radio stations. Everybody was whistling it. At the time, I didn't know I'll be visiting Thailand. However, I didn't go north were the river flows and the movie was in fact shot in Burma. Our Thai guide Charlie was convinced the main role has been played by Gregory Peck. He couldn't be argued to change his wrong idea.

I loved Peck's role in Moby Dick, but nowadays I don't want to see even the fake whales killed.

The movie scores from these two films: Johnny Guitar and The 3rd Man" were also immensely popular.

 Other films showing at the time:

Of course, I loved animated films. Disney's Peter Pan was among my favourites:

Short Disney's funnies were also a treat.

Not a bad western, but not great either:

Brando was a rising star.

A very good war-antiwar movie

The Tom and Jerry and Disney's cartoons were often showing on the main square in the evening.

The books I loved (this one is by Rachew):

At first, this style was too weird for me, but I've learnt to appreciate it:

The Beaver Valley was the first TV show I saw in 1957. It was at the neighbour's apartment. My family bought our first TV set sometime in 1965 or 1966, a year of two after the great flood.