At this point of my movie knowledge I had no idea which movies these even were. I just allowed the images to speak for themselves and I selected three. Here they sort of are --
At this point of my movie knowledge -- hundreds of movies later, mind you -- it occurs to me I still have no idea which movies these are, and so I decided to find the answers and make my best effort to see these films.
Harold Lloyd (on the right) was the easiest film to find. That is an iconic career image for the silent film star. Although the short film SAFETY LAST! is a merely showcase for some building climbing stuntwork, the image itself easily speaks broader. Lloyd literally clings to time like we all do -- for our very existance. Without time, we're finished.
The only Lloyd film I'd seen ever was SPEEDY, which I was lucky enough to see at Royce Hall with a live orchestra and an introduction by Dustin Hoffman no less. I had already seen many Chaplin classics and so poor Mr. Lloyd had his work cut out for him. My wife and I were impressed. Here's the complete piece --
Firstly, if you look at the image below on the left, what really makes it ready for a Google search? It was nearly impossible to find until I searched for 'sad Buster Keaton' and then boom all sorts of images arrived. As you can see, though, a second image (on the right) emerged with it which... wait a minute... appears to be the same image.
What I can only suspect is that some smart person realized this image could be broader if you eliminated the name of the boat. With 'Love Nest' visible you'd presume poor Keaton has lost a love. Or wishes he had one. With it completely gone, anything could be upsetting him. You the viewer see his sadness and relate it to whatever might make you sad.
It turns out the film associated with this piece is entitled THE LOVE NEST --
Two posters down. Next up is the Marilyn Monroe poster. This image was hardest to find -- since there are only a million pictures of Marilyn Monroe on the net. I've seen many of her movies, but they didn't lead me to my childhood poster.
What I recalled about the Marilyn poster was this -- black and white, in an office (?) by a door, Marilyn looks 'normal' instead of sultry, sweet instead of sexy, it's only her and a wool jacket, a white shirt maybe, and a perhaps a secretary's notebook.
I Googled my brains out and got nowhere and so I decided to enlist help. I posted my question on Marilyn's official page on Facebook (that merely 8 million people have liked worldwide) and got no response for days. Finally a kind soul alerted me to a smaller but more knowledge Marilyn Facebook group called IMMORTAL MARILYN.
I offered them this mockup of the Marilyn poster as I best recalled it --
But I wanted to be sure and so I resorted to something desperate. I called home. No, I'm not the type of son who never calls home unless he needs something. Quite the opposite. But I didn't want to send my mother off to an attic digging through items from my room which were removed within the last years to make way for my Dad's home office.
Much to my surprise, the poster still hangs where I left it. Now all I needed was a tech savvy visitor to snap a picture and text it my way. All hail my nice niece who made that happen within a day. Here's what I showed the online Marilyn types --
I had seen NIAGARA but this moment in a bus station never leaped out at me during the viewing.
We see sadness on the left, hope in the middle, and time running out on the right. Knowing myself a little better now, I know Buster speaks of the isolation writers can experience, Marilyn speaks of an entertaining way of ditching that isolation AND/OR of the beauty an artist wishes to create, and Harold represents the anxiety of doing so before it's too late.
Perhaps a message my contemplative adult self sent back to my teen self those many decades ago.