When Mom and Dad said no...
June 02, 2014
Greetings, all. I’ve been a fan of this website since about 2005/2006, but this is my first article. After spending some years now reading articles here, I feel I can share some truly original stories and perhaps even restore a bit of what some of you feel this website has lost over time. I promise nothing, but I will certainly do my best. So without further ado, allow me to kick off this article. It’s about all things I wasn’t allowed to do when I was kid. It’s not a sad article, in fact I’m sure most of you will find it extremely humorous. It begins with the following confession: My name is Brian, I was born in 1983, and I had a very sheltered childhood.
I’m not upset about this, but after spending so much time reading other articles here, I can’t help but feel a little envious. See, after reading some of your stories, I’ve realized that I really wasn’t allowed to do a LOT. Sure, there were the parental norms like no R-rated movies, established bedtimes, and what-have-you, but my parents went a lot further than that. Allow me to set the scene. I was raised in a Christian household. My parents loved me very much and I know that any time they said no was because they were honestly just trying to look out for me and my sister and honor God with their decisions. I do the same with my life now, but I’m a lot more lenient with my own child then my folks were with my sister and I. (No offense if you’re reading this mom and dad.)
Let’s start with the movie thing. While R-rated films were a given, my sister and I were barely allowed PG-13 as well. At times, even PG films were questioned. It should be noted right now, however, that my parents practiced what they preached. If we didn’t watch it, neither did they. The only exception would be if they were viewing it to see if it was suitable for the kids. Needless to say, the majority of our theater-going experiences were Disney-related fare. This wasn’t bad. The late 80’s to mid 90’s was a high point in both Disney’s animated and live-action films. I remember going to see Aladdin, the Lion King, Toy Story(Which remains one of my favorite films to this day), and I loved them all. We always looked forward to everything we saw and I have many fond memories of these family outings.

I may not have been allowed to see much else, but these films sure were good company

I think aside from graphic violence and sex, my parents really tried to protect us from language. Seriously, even if a movie only had words like “damn” and “hell,” it could be an issue. I’m sure you’re wondering at this point with such a strict criteria just what we did watch when we saw movies. Well, my parents watched a lot of old movies, and as a result my sister and I watched a lot of old movies. So while other kids knew about actors like Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, and Sylvester Stallone, I knew Don Knotts, Carey Grant, and Fred Astaire. If we rented a movie that had language in it, it got stopped and we took it back. I remember my dad stopping Flight of the Navigator when we rented it. I also remember staying with some friends of ours and they put on The Goonies and after about 15 minutes my folks asked me to leave the room until the movie was over. (I wouldn’t see it all the way through until I was grown and married. I own it now.)Most of you got to love this as children. I'm a little jealous... I understand where my parents were coming from, and I don’t begrudge them any of these things, but I did wonder sometimes if they thought anything they said got through to me. They told me cursing was bad, and just because I heard it in a movie didn’t mean I was going to do it in real life.
Now keep in mind, this was the age of the video store. And before DVD’s wound their way to shelves, video stores had a TON of more options. Classic films could be easily found in any Blockbuster or Hollywood video store. We rented the 60’s Batman movie a lot, and I would check out old Looney Tunes and Hannah-Barbara collections. (When you were a kid, did you know who Yippy, Yappy, and Yahooy were? Didn’t think so. ;)

The cat here represents half of a duo called Ruff and Reddy. This scene is from a VHS tape I remember renting a lot.
I think I may have rented just about every Godzilla movie known to man at the time. I also used to borrow Journey to the Center of the Earth, the one with James Mason, from my grandparents a lot, along with the Bing Crosby and Bob Hope’s “Road” films. If you’ve never seen Road to Morocco, you should. It’s funny.

Films like these were rented all the time by family when I was growing up.
My parents would rent old black and white movies and I would always ask if they were funny. I didn’t like “sad movies” when I was kid. I also watched a lot of older Disney live action films. Blackbeard’s Ghost, The North Avenue Irregulars, and Condorman found their way into our VCR quite a bit back then. I’m grateful to have experienced these films but as one can imagine, this made for some awkward moments at school. It was either somewhere around 3rd or 4th grade and we were asked to vote on a movie to watch in class. One option I remember was a girl who wanted to bring in Ferngully. I think another one may have been All Dogs Go to Heaven and a handful of other popular cartoons at the time. Somehow, in ways that mystify me to his very day, I managed to convince enough of these children to pick my suggestion. When the day came, we sat in our classroom, dimmed the lights, and enjoyed Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. I am not joking.
I wonder to this day if any of those kids remember that time in the early 90’s when a young boy brought in a black white movie filled with outdated monsters and actors they’d never heard of. Maybe I even made some enemies. Who knows. What I do know, is that as odd it sounds I wouldn’t trade it. I don’t many people who were born in 1983 and had an appreciation for the 3 stooges before age 10. I’m proud of that. Looking back, I don’t think my parents remember everything they were trying to protect my sister and I from. I remember being denied Star Wars for a number of years and when I asked why as an adult, my dad said he couldn’t remember the reason. Oh well.

Video games were a slightly different matter. During the SNES/Genesis and PS1/N64 eras, there wasn’t a whole lot of objectionable content in video games. There was no really strong language, no sex and nudity, and even the most graphic violence paled next to what is offered these days. The biggest offender was fighting games. I wasn’t allowed to play Mortal Kombat for obvious reasons. But I also wasn’t allowed to play Street Fighter. Why? Well, my parents never liked the idea that the sole purpose of the genre was to beat up somebody else, but Street Fighter (and just about every other fighting game) was off limits to me because it had a girl in it. Mom and Dad were not gonna allow me beat up on a woman, even if she was nothing more than a collection of arranged pixels. That’s very chivalrous, I suppose, but it was frustrating. My father had always taught to treat a lady better than myself. I’m not stupid and wasn’t about to go and dragon punch any girls at my school because Ryu and Ken were doing it. I think the only fighting game I was allowed to play was the TMNT Tournament Fighters. (This is surprising on its own but I’ll explain why later.) Even silly fare like Clay Fighter was iffy at first, but I managed to talk them out of that one. Now like most of you, I had friends who were allowed to play games that I couldn’t. I remember the first time I saw a Mortal Kombat fatality at my next door neighbor’s house. I was actually kinda nervous and kept thinking to myself “he’s gonna punch his head off, he’s gonna punch his head off” and thinking that when I came home, my mom was going to know that I had just witnessed a murder of some sort. But when I finally saw it done, I felt somewhat underwhelmed. I was expecting something horribly graphic that was going to scar me for life, but the whole thing was just so cartoonish I was almost disappointed.

I will never forget the first time I saw this. "That was it? This is what we are all freaked out about?"
Television had limits too. I didn’t have any type of cable or satellite so I was limited to local channels. I grew up in Southern California and I watched KCAL 9 quite a bit. That’s the channel that the Disney Afternoon would air on, but just before it started there was a cartoon called COPS that I was never allowed to watch. If any of you remember this show, leave a comment about it because I always thought it looked cool. Me and my sister would always look forward to TGIF every week. The one channel I did not have was channel 11. In my area, this was FOX, and this is where X-Men, the Nintendo cartoons, and The Simpsons would air. I was never allowed to watch The Simpsons anyway, so I guess it doesn’t matter. But X-Men always looked cool. The kid who lived to the right of us had a tape of the show and that’s the closest I came. I suppose I didn’t lose too much though. I got my fair share of both Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons, and all the Ducktales and Rescue Rangers I could ask for. I also watched a lot of PBS shows like Carmen SanDiego. Oddly enough, I wasn’t allowed to watch Darkwing Duck when it first came on. To this day, I have no idea why.

I was actually not allowed to watch any of these when I was kid, if you can believe it.
If there is one thing I was denied that really sucked though, it had to be, get ready for it, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Yes, that’s right. The defining action figure and cartoon of a generation of young boys was kept firmly out of my grasp. Yeah, I had GI Joe’s and vehicles to put them in, but I wanted turtles. My cousin Brent had what seemed like every Ninja Turtle action figure and play set known to man, and I even though I was never allowed to play with them, my aunt and uncle respected my parent’s wishes, I always looked on them with a certain sort of depressed admiration. But even though they were off limits to me technically, so great was my desire for them that I followed them from a distance. Not knowing anything about them from firsthand experience, I picked a favorite turtle based on the following factors; color and weapons. Leonardo wore blue and he had swords. Blue is my favorite color and swords are, well, swords. He won. Based on these factors, Donatello, who wore purple and carried what I considered to be nothing more than a big stick, didn’t garner much respect from me for a long time. When I found out Leo was the leader of the bunch, I was very proud of myself. My neighbor to the left had quite a bit of Turtles figures as well and the few times I went over there, we would watch TV and I’d see the f.h.e turtles videotapes on his movie shelf and couldn’t help but feel a little sad.

I swear I felt like the only kid in the country who didn't have some of these tapes...
Why you ask? Why did my folks deny me something that seemingly every other boy in America was enjoying? I know my mom didn’t like that they lived in a sewer, and I also know they some of their enemies were kinda gross-looking. I don’t know the other factors, but my parents never budged on it. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Now I’ll admit that to this day I’ve never seen a single episode of any of the cartoon series from back then to now, but what I did manage to do was play all the video games. Yeah, my folks were against this at first but they let it slide in time. In fact, all of my childhood Turtle memories stem from the games. TMNT 3: The Manhattan project for the NES is still my favorite. Ultimately, though my childhood has come and gone, the turtles portion of this story has a happy ending. My wife and I went to go see the TMNT CGI movie in theaters when it was released. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, and I don’t how much of you are aware of this, Playmates released a classic Turtles toy line exclusively through Toys R Us last year. It included the 4 turtles, Splinter, Shredder, and the turtle van. For Christmas 2013, courtesy of my lovely wife, I unwrapped my first Leonardo action figure, straight from 1980’s toy line. He may not fight the foot clan, in fact he spends most of his play time protecting my daughter’s Lalaloopsies and Monster High dolls, but he’s here nonetheless. They’re not in store anymore, but I do believe you can still get the 4 turtles online at the Toys R Us website.

Took my a decade or two, but I finally got him!!
And that’s that. I know compared to most of you it may seem like a strange upbringing, but to tell the truth, I’m thankful for it. I’ve been exposed to things I would not have been otherwise and most of it I’m glad about. Looking back, I think my parents may not remember what it is they were denying us from on some things, but I know they loved me and my sister and wanted only to protect us any way they could. I love them both very much. I have a few more stories I could tell, such as my sister not being allowed to see Titanic. (I wanted to Tomorrow Never Dies at the time, but as you can probably guess, James Bond was out of the question.) I hope this article has entertained you. I have many more stories to tell and I want to be a fresh voice to this website, as it’s come to mean a lot to me over the years. I don’t want to give you opinions or top 10 lists, just stories about my life I hope you all can enjoy and relate to in some way. Leave a comment below, and I look forward to seeing you all again. Later.
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