Childhood memories – do you still believe in magic?


I believe we all have our childhood memories, which link us to a sense of wonder and magic, to a world, where everything still seemed possible!
I loved to watch the TV series Pantau, a tschech-german co-production, produced in the 70ties and airing only on the east german channels. Pantau was a magician, wearing a bowler hat, a suit and an umbrella. He never talked and had a very kind facial expression. With his magic, he mainly helped children, making their wishes come true. He’d tip with his finger a few times on the bowler hat, circled it once and voila! Something appeared, which had not been there before. He also could shrink himself into a doll. It was a wonderful, absurd program full of humor and phantasy!
I’ll attach the first part of the very first episode at the end of this blog, so that you can see what I mean. There is hardly any language, so you’ll be able to understand.

When it come to fairy tale films, it seemed to be a speciality of the formerly communist, east european countries, Poland, Rumania, Russia, the German Democratic Republic, etc. to produce the most magical ones. They were utterly different to Hollywood productions. These films were original and enchanting at the same time. Me and my grandma watched a many on the east german TV channel. We both just loved them and could easily get lost in these magic worlds.

My grandparents, the ones on my father’s side, came originally from East Germany and just had managed to escape before the wall, dividing the country, had been built. They had quite a few adventurous stories to tell, like hiding underneath the coals in the basement, while soviet soldiers were searching the house for them.
I believe, watching these films on the east german TV channel created a sense of belonging with the place my grandma originally had come from.
Some of the films got quite well known later. “Three Nuts for Cinderalla” is probably the one, everyone in Germany knows nowadays. It has become a cult film, still being aired on many TV channels during the christmas time. Like Pantau, it has been a tschech- east german coproduction, produced 1973.
The Cindarella in this film is very different to how she usually has been portrayed. She is sharp witted, a tom boy and doesn’t really need rescuing. The prince on the other hand is naive, a bit full of himself, but of course lovely all the same. The gist of the story remains the same, but is told with a quirky sense of humor, bringing a fresh perspective to an old mythical theme. This gives the film a special quality, an enchanting lightness, a sense of childhood wonder. In the end it portrayed a world in which there were challenges as well as infinite possibilities. That was the magic!

I well remember, how as a kid, I was enthralled by all magic stories and things. For me the special thing about this is, that kids still believe in the possibility of magic, unless they already have been talked out of it. I remember a book in which a boy had found accidentally a magic potion, which transformed him into a black cat for a couple of hours at a time. Of course he had many adventures, while being the cat. I believed in the possibility of such a magic potion and started to collect bits and pieces of plants out of the garden, which I could put into my own magic potion.
What if it was possible? What would it feel like to be transformed into a cat? It was an exciting thought.
What if …

When I was 7 or 8 years old I wanted to test God, coming from a household with no beliefs whatsoever. I even haven’t been baptized. It was a Sunday and I wanted to have chewing gum, Wrigleys, the green package. Of course all the shops were closed and I thought, if there was a God, it must be possible for him, to manifest some chewing gum in the palm of my hand. So I stood there, closed my eyes, stretched my hand out and imagined a green package of Wrigleys in my hand. I tried for a couple of minutes and than opened my eyes again. I was incredibly disappointed when I realized it had not worked. The spell of magic had been broken. Maybe I didn’t wait long enough. My belief, that everything can be possible, that there might be a God, had gotten a serious crack.

There is only magic, as long as we believe it can be possible. I would love to be able to manifest things out of nothing, being able to transform myself into other things, like a cat.

Maybe I go and search for Pantau, asking him whether I can be his apprentice!

Pantau emerges, you have to watch this!

Do you have magic childhood memories? What were they? Do you still believe in magic or has the spell been broken long time ago?

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11 thoughts on “Childhood memories – do you still believe in magic?

  1. Kevin I am completely awe struck! You know when I look at the themes and ideas, I feel really inspired and it feels to me that you are a writer at heart. I haven’t watched Bladerunner, but I think you inspired me, to watch that film sometime soon, since I’ve heard a lot about it. I love the theme of your story, empathy. It is such an important subject and so is intolerance and discrimination, which is another theme of one of your stories. I believe stories are a great way to bring important values and messages across. I am totally intrigued with L.J. Quackenbush! I already love the title. I would like to invite you to write a guest post on my blog with an exert of your story. Also Kevin I wanted to say that I believe a writer is someone, who writes and has many ideas. By the sounds of it you do both. There are many people, who play with the idea of writing, but don’t do it. It is the action, which makes us an expert and that’s why I don’t think I am much more of an expert than you are yourself. Watch the space, you never know what your so called hobby might turn into, if you let it … I would feel honored if you wrote a guest blog, sharing something about L.J. Quackenbush! Let me know what you think!

      1. That’s great Kevin! I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve figured it out myself. It’s a premiere for me as well, but I do have an idea of how it works. I think I need to add you as an author and send you the link. Bear with me I’ll sort it out tomorrow!

    1. The honor would be all mine, but you would have to tell me how to post. Are you sure you don’t want to read it first. l’d hate to ruin your great blog site 🙂

      1. Kevin you can save it as a draft before you publish the post and if you want me to have a look at it, before it’s published I will. Also, I thought it would be great to have a photo with it. For example you as Quackenbush! Just an idea 🙂 I post every wednesday in english and thursday in german. So, basically you tell me, when suits you. Do you think Melanie might translate your post into german? Would be great to have it in both languages, but it’s not a must. This will be exciting I am very much looking forward to it! Yeah! 🙂

        1. I’ll ask her she’s pretty busy at school but if it’s short enough. Maybe follow up with German Translation a little later, let’s see if you like the English version first. Need to tell me how much of a cut you’d like (number of words). Let me submit next Tuesday so you can take a look at it as I have pieces ready to go. Do you want it in story sequence in other words the top half of chapter 1 or a selected scene, like on the back cover of a book or a movie trailer.

          1. Okay great let’s do that! Next tuesday is fine! I think it would be lovely to have an extract of a chapter, like for example first talking about the challenges of midlife or what inspired you to write the story and than having an extract from the story, if you know what I mean. Don’t worry about the number of words. It needs to feel right, I mean everything you wanted to say needs to be said.

          2. Kevin I have added you as an author and you should have been send a password. So, you can start writing whenever you like. Exciting this is!

  2. Do I have magic childhood memories? Sure, but maybe not magic, more like super science. The beginning of Pantau reminds me of what I grew up with. Rockets, exploring space, visiting new worlds, aliens, but you get the picture…SciFi. What was one of those memories? I still can remember watching a moon shot at my grandparents house all of us huddled around their “high tech” color TV, my parents only had black and white, watching the rocket blast off an rise higher-and-higher until it looked to me as a pencil in the sky with a small flame trailing behind it. I remember watching old SciFi classics like Forbidden Planet, 2001, and of course Star Wars.

    I had pictures of astronauts and a moon globe in my room. So what was magical to me was to travel into space and I still do, but the reality is I can’t and that’s the spell that was broken a long time ago. However, no worries with today’s technology I can see so much not just through my own telescope, but through all the telescopes linked to us via the internet, deep space probes as well, landers on Mars and I can still imagine what it would be like to go there myself. So I’m still imagining of going faster than light and warping time and landing on alien worlds, just now I have to write them into my scifi stories 🙂

    1. Lovely and intriguing memories Kevin! I do understand how the idea to travel in space and discover things we have not seen before feels very magical! I totally get it, also how reality breaks the spell. I didn’t know you had a telescope! Do you often watch the night skies? Isn’t our imagination such a great thing, allowing us to travel anywhere we want to? Where restrictions, space and time don’t exist? Tell me more about your scifi stories and the alien worlds. Who gets to read your stories? Since when do you write them?

      1. I don’t look at the stars as much as I’d like to, but when I do it’s usually planets, my favorite is Jupiter just like Galileo. Our imaginations our great, interestingly in the book Dune, the “Guild” who are the ones that move the royalty through space using their “spice” induced intellect to warp space and in series by Melissa Scott, the main character is a pilot that through the manipulation of the mind and the natural harmonies of space, navigates starships, so it’s an interesting concept.

        I write as a hobby, I have a ton of ideas, for the whole genera SciFi/Fantasy/Horror and some Fiction. I don’t usually share my work, but when I do I make that person promise to give tough/fair critique, because I believe that’s how an author hones their art.

        Right now I’m actually working on the sequel to Blade Runner, my favorite Sci-Fi movie and my second favorite Sci-Fi novel. The original novel by Philp Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, is the story that Ridley Scott based his movie Blade Runner on (loosely based). So to fully understand my story, one should read Philp Dick’s story, then watched the movie Blade Runner, and then read my story if one was interested in the backstory of the selected characters, but it stands alone if not.
        I pretty much got my story all worked out, its called Retirement, just have to start filling in the gaps in the plot which is obviously to get Deckard and Rachael off Earth to the colonies where Androids (Replicates) are legal, but the theme is “empathy” similar to the first story, but reflects on the current lack of empathy we experience routinely.

        Another story I’m want to write was inspired from my favorite author Robert Heinlein. This is a loose continuation of Podkayne of Mars using Podkayne, who 10 year later is struggling to become the first female Martian starship captain and a new character Martin, who is the son of Manual “Mannie Garcia O’Kelly-Davis, from the Moon is a Harsh Mistress (my all-time favorite SciFi story). The overarching plot is Martin helps Podkayne figure out who assassinated her Uncle, Tom Fries, during a life time achievement award presented by the Venus Corporate government. You’d have to read Podkayne of Mars for it to make some little political sense, but my focus isn’t politics, the theme will be intolerance/discrimination (there’s more now than we want to believe). The first and last chapters are done however I haven’t worked out how to get from point A to B.

        I guess the other story I’m slowly writing is purely mine and it’s my “9th Symphony,” because I feel it’s been in my head as long a time as Beethoven supposedly had been thinking of his final symphony. Melanie calls it semi-autobiographical, but maybe it’s just me imagining a middle aged guy living in the future. Anyway its called L.J. Quackenbush. He’s agent in the Bureau of Spaceways and Transportation’s Trafficking Division. It’s really a story of becoming middle aged, regret, generational change, etc.

        Other ideas swirling around in my head and I already have titles for are by genera:

        SciFi: Victory Earth (simply the US Army vs. Aliens – good old fashion save the Earth stuff), OurBook (A Social Site that is bent on creating a world-wide Borg-like society), and Besides Myself (Man who travels time to try to change his present by manipulating the past)

        Horror: The Forces of Neutral (The balance of good and evil is controlled by the forces of Neutral, a story about fear), Antimony (NATO against terrorists in Brazil (anti-chemical/biological weapon story), The Last Halloween (Another Zombie Apocalypse Story with a twist)

        Fantasy: The Last Knight (based on the The Knights’ Revolt of 1522 led by Franz von Sickingen, against the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Emperor. The revolt was short-lived but would inspire the bloody German Peasants’ War of 1524-1526.)

        Fiction: Student Loan (a student who attempts to fund school through illegal means, but really a comical story of unfair advantages of wealth)

        Historical Fiction: Obersalzberg (An OSS Agent in Germany or a story of the common man and war)

        If you’re interested in reading some of what I do have written, yet incomplete, I would be honored to let you have whatever you’d like. Since you have far superior skills in art than I will ever obtain it would be helpful…even if it’s just my hobby 🙂

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