Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Bates Motel

Remember the old Alfred Hitchcock movie "Psycho?" The dark and brooding image of the Bates Motel silhouetted on a hill in the nighttime sky was one of the stars of that movie. I was reminded of the spookiness of the Bates Motel while doing my rounds last night at my place of toil for pay in Lewes, Delaware. Ah yes, I was working again last night. I thought I finished my six week run of temporary full time employment with my Sunday nighttime duties. Alas, it was not to be. The gentleman who took my hours on Monday night called in about an hour before work to inform the assistant manager that he threw his back out (always a convenient excuse) and would be unable to come into work. The assistant manager thus made a call to me asking me if I would mind coming in. It is not in my nature to refuse to help (probably my downfall too.) So, in for one more go round. It wasn't busy last night, the hotel only having one guest. It was a quiet night. Much too quiet. The hours dragged by. To break up the monotony I did my "rounds" of checking the grounds outside the building. That's when I came upon this image of the Inn at night. It reminded me of a book I just finished, "Anthony Perkins, A Split Image." Anthony Perkins, as most of you know was a movie star back in the Sixties. His greatest role was as Norman Bates in "Psycho." That role defined him and he was never able to cast off that character of the twitchy faced Norman. What I remember most about the movie was it was the first time I ever saw the star murdered in the first few minutes of the movie. I remember how puzzled I was when Janet Leigh was taking the slashing in the shower. All I could think of was "she's going to be a mess the rest of the movie with all those stab wounds!" It's funny but I remember exactly when I saw the movie and where I saw it. I was stationed at Ft. Devens in Ayre, Massachusetts. It was April of 1960. I even remember the movie house I saw it. It was the main movie theater near the Service Club. It was a long walk from my barracks in A Company at the other side of the base. What is interesting that I would remember exactly where I was because there are few other times I remember where I was when I witnessed a momentous event in the history of this country in the world. One of the other times was when I heard the news that John F. Kennedy was shot (I was at work at Lipsett Steel Products in Coatesville, PA and it was a Friday afternoon.) Another time was when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald. It was a rainy Sunday morning and I was in my apartment at 388 Madison Street in Coatesville, PA ironing my shirts for the upcoming work week. I couldn't believe what I saw when Jack Ruby pulled out his gun and shot Lee Harvey Oswald as Oswald was being transported from the hospital to the police station.. I think that is the common thread in all these Moments in History. I couldn't believe what I heard or saw. Another time was when the stock market took a dramatic drop like it did in October of 1987. I was working at Fidelity Bank in Philadelphia, PA. My unit was next to the investment management department of the trust department. Normally the men and women working in the investment management department were a noisy lot. Not that day. They were all huddled around a ticker tape type machine, mumbling in soft undertones. Ah yes, Moments in History. The stock market took another tumble yesterday. Today isn't looking any better. The presidential campaign was sunk to the gutter since McCain and Palin have starting slinging the mud at Obama. Hopefully, in the future I will look back on this time as one of positive change. The time when the likes of John McCain and Sarah Palin and the discredited Republican Party are repudiated and this country can again move forward. However, I have my doubts after seeing that haunting image of the Bates Motel last night.

1 comment:

  1. Ron,

    Yes, I can see some of the resemblance in your photo. You know, I saw the actual "Psycho House". It was in 1986. I was attending a conference in Los Angeles for a week. Except for a reception Sunday night, the conference only ran from Monday through noon on Wednesday, but flight costs were lower if you went for a week, so I had several days of free time all on the expense account. I used the time to take some tours. One was to the Universal Studios. It was fascinating. At one point, the tram took we tourists up onto a back lot in the hills and there were streets with homes. The homes looked real, but were mostly fake, just facades for shooting suburbia scenes. But up a little drive off one of the streets was a low rise and there was the "Psycho House". There was no Bates Motel near it. The motel and grounds were all added in through movie magic. I think the house was another facade, that is, I don't believe it had any real finished interior. I think the interior scenes, with that great staircase and root cellar, were filmed in a studio. Not totally positive since it was 22 years ago and I can't remember everything we were told on the tour.

    I think there must be more photos of that trip somewhere, but I haven't come across them to scan into the computer yet. I can't believe I wouldn't have taken a shot of that house. I know I took pix on the Universal Tour because i have one in the computer of the Jaws set.



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