The Nostalgia Factor

I love revisiting childhood favorites. It doesn’t much matter what it is: favorite movies, favorite tv shows, favorite books. There’s something magical about putting yourself back into a world you loved as a kid and seeing it in a whole new way as an adult. It’s particularly amazing to go for years without seeing or hearing something and then to remember every detail vividly the second you become immersed in it again.With very few exceptions, the things I loved as a child are things I still love, not because they are inherently good, but because of their initial significance. Even if I no longer appreciate a story in the same way I once did, I can still appreciate the role it played for me growing up.

This morning, I watched the 1995 Disney TV remake of Escape to Witch Mountain. I used to watch this movie every time it came on tv when I was little, and then I couldn’t find it for years. I was so excited to stumble on it on YouTube recently. I know everyone says the original is better, and I know there has been a newer remake since then, but there’s something about this movie that is particularly special to me because it is the one I saw first. I loved a lot of other Disney Channel Original movies from that same time period and hope to re-watch them, too. There are also a ton of 90s Disney and Nickelodeon shows that I love to revisit. So Weird and Are You Afraid of the Dark? are two particular favorites, and it’s interesting that my childhood taste so strongly trended toward the paranormal since it now is just the opposite.

It’s unfortunate that so few of these movies or tv shows are available on DVD, but I’m thankful for places like YouTube that make them available to enjoy all over again. This is probably a slippery slope to be getting myself into; I certainly don’t need more tv to watch, but no matter how much I enjoy finding new things to watch, the old ones will always retain something a little extra special.

What were some of your favorite childhood books, movies, and tv shows? Have you revisited them as an adult? How was the experience similar or different? If you have kids, have you shared any of your childhood favorites with them?


10 Responses to "The Nostalgia Factor"

  • My show, when I was a kid, was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My brother and I were allowed to watch it every day before we started our homework. I bought a DVD of the first season a few years ago and had a good time watching it! For movies, I loved the Disney classics. Sleeping Beauty and Robin Hood were my favorites, and I own both now and watch them from time to time.

    The books I remember best from childhood are my favorite picture books and the stories my mother read to us kids: Joan Lowry Nixon’s Orphan Train Quartet and Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls come to mind. I’ve never gone back and reread childhood favorites, though I probably should. I own several series I was especially fond of in middle school.

    You can be sure my kids (when/if I have any) will be introduced to the books, at lease!

    1 Erin said this (October 24, 2010 at 5:10 PM)

  • Aaahhh yes! I know just what you’re talking about. I loved all the Nickelodeon shows, especially Pete and Pete, which I now own on DVD (the first two seasons only). Every Halloween since I got them about five years ago, I watch the Halloween episode. This show has only gotten better with age, since I now understand a lot more of the jokes than I did when I was younger.

    I also found a site a few months ago called Children of the Nineties, which is just fantastic and SO TRUE. It’s at if you’re interested.

    2 Tahleen said this (October 24, 2010 at 5:46 PM)

  • Erin, I didn’t watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles much, but I played the video game all the time. It was fantastic. I don’t think I’ve read your favorite childhood books. So excited to get titles from other people and go back and read the books other people loves as kids.

    Tahleen, thanks for the site! Totally added it to my blog reader 🙂 I watched Pete and Pete a lot, too. Gave the DVDs to a friend for her birthday a couple years ago and we watched the first season again. It is amazing how many adult jokes a lot of those shows had, and I agree, they make so much more sense now. I was watching The Wonder Years online recently, too, and the cultural context and music are so much more enjoyable now than they ever were when I watched them originally.

    3 Melanie said this (October 24, 2010 at 5:53 PM)

  • One of my favorite topics: childhood!! Well, you know most of my favorite childhood books from the Twitter chat the other day. Favorite tv shows is another great topic– pretty much everything on Nickelodeon. Loved Hey Dude, Clarissa Explains it all, Salute your shorts, Pete and Pete, The Wonder Years, Double Dare, Rugrats, Doug, All That, Fraggle Rock, Eureka’s Castle, Alex Mack, Dinosaurs, etc. etc. the list could go on!! I want to watch all these shows again!!

    4 Jamie said this (October 25, 2010 at 8:21 AM)

  • Those were pretty much all my favorite shows, too. (Though I don’t think I ever saw Fraggle Rock.)

    5 Melanie said this (October 25, 2010 at 8:29 AM)

  • Well, here’s where I give away my advanced age.

    My favorite childhood TV show was I Love Lucy. It was actually mostly on before I was born, but of course it was in constant rerun. Still is. And yes, I watch it as an adult. In fact, I bought the full DVD set. But then I burned out on every episode (give me a year, it’ll fade) and so now I often watch the old Dick Van Dyke show with Mary Tyler Moore on Netflix.

    The Wizard of Oz is a movie I loved as a kid and like to revisit as an adult. That and Walt Disney’s Fantasia (I don’t think I was a kid-kid when it came out, because I’m pretty sure I was loaded when I first saw it in a theater, but that’s another story for another day).

    Books. Dr. Seuss and the old original Winnie the Pooh series by A.A. Milne. Every few years I like to rediscover them.

    6 Catherine Hyde said this (October 25, 2010 at 12:44 PM)

  • Actually, most of those were my childhood favorites, too…but I watched them on Nick at Night 🙂

    I’ve seen every single episode of I Love Lucy, most of them multiple times. I’ve watched most of the Dick van Dyke show in Netflix, and I own the first four seasons of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I also loved Bewitched, Taxi, Happy Days, Leave it to Beaver, and all sorts of other shows from that time period. My parents couldn’t get me to sleep as a kid because I’d stay up watching all the old shows all night.

    The Wizard of Oz is of course amazing. I never quite got into Fantasia; I think it was a little scary for me as a kid.

    I love Winnie the Pooh and Dr. Seuss. Those are pretty timeless. I even have an Eeyore that rides around in my car with me.

    7 Melanie said this (October 25, 2010 at 12:49 PM)

  • One of my favorites was Norton Juster’s Phantom Tollbooth. After we were dating, my husband told me it was one of his childhood favorites as well. And now my 11yo son loves it–and it is one of his standard birthday gifts to give to his friends. We all highly recommend it!

    8 LifetimeReader said this (October 25, 2010 at 5:16 PM)

  • I LOVE Phantom Tollbooth! Such an amazing book.

    9 Melanie said this (October 25, 2010 at 5:18 PM)

  • Oh great topic! I have so many, I don’t think I could name them all.

    When I was very young I watched Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (cartoons and the movies), Tiny Toons, Rescue Rangers, X-Men, etc. Like most children in the 90s, I was obsessed with Disney films (I worshipped Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Goofy Movie). During those early tween years I was an avid Nickelodeon and TGIF watcher. I also watched those movies they used to show on tv like Susie Q, Freaky Friday, and Wish Upon a Star.

    I’ve revisited the Disney films and Nickelodeon cartoons and they gave me an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and happiness (is that dorky?). You know, a time when things were so carefree. It is a little different watching my childhood tv shows/movies as an adult because I look at them and think it’s different than what’s popular these days.

    I don’t have any children but I do have a younger sister. My older brother and I pretty much had the same taste in old tv cartoons and when we tried to “educate” our sister with those cartoons she’s unimpressed or she makes fun of them. Then there are my classic teen shows like Buffy and Dawson’s which make her roll her eyes. So yeah, it’s been interesting to see the generation gap. I think one of the few things that connect to her as much as me are Disney films and 90s sitcoms like Fresh Prince, Full House, Boy Meets World, Saved By the Bell, etc.

    10 Edna said this (October 25, 2010 at 5:30 PM)