Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
When I was preschooler, my mother limited TV (bet yours did too) but I was allowed to watch The Lone Ranger, with Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, which my 4 year old self dearly loved. And, so when I saw that there was going to be a big screen version this summer of The Lone Ranger, with Johnny Depp (who I find to be an interesting actor) and Armie Hammer, I told Philip that we’d be going to see the movie on the big screen. Since he is more of a movie buff than I, he was game.
Then the reviews came out. And they were not great. But, I didn’t care—I was willing to go anyway, despite iffy reviews. After all, haven’t we all sit through more than one average or less than average movie and still had a good time? Not to mention, it is the Lone Ranger! And Tonto! And Silver!
So we went. And it was a fun revisiting of the old story. The movie obviously couldn’t have car chases, so it had a lot of horse and train chases. And, it offered a retelling of the old story but with the same basic themes. So, it was entertaining enough as it went along.
And then—-just as the heroes take on the most challenging part of the battle to defeat evil—the most action packed part of the movie—the background music swells into a bright and powerful played version of The William Tell Overture. My response was Pavlovian, based on dozens of days when that song announced something special was coming on TV. I sat up in my chair. I was anticipating what would happen next. I actually got goose bumps—and I laughed at myself because I recognized that the music was triggering all of these reactions. But, even as I was laughing at how easily I was being manipulated, I went with it. After all, hadn’t I come to the movies to relive a favorite story from when I was a child?
I had known I was going to see something from my childhood, and I was amused that I could recognize the visceral reaction to the music—but I liked it anyway.