Thank God for the IMDb
Thank God for the Internet Movie Database. What a resource! Is it perfect? No, it's only human, like you and me. Does it contain mistakes? Yes, occasionally. Do I have it permanently bookmarked and refer to it all the time? Absolutely! Is it a lifesaver when you can't quite name that actress with Lee Marvin in Prime Cut (1972), the one who wasn't in Carrie (1976) and wasn't in Playboy magazine; you know the one, the girl with the handful of nickels. She was the sister of the Playmate of the Month who starred in Gator Bait (1974), the sister whose shotgun murder needs avenging, remember?
I am not encyclopedic in my knowledge of movie history. You know those guys, right? At the film festival intermission, they stand in the lobby and wonder aloud, "Was it Viola Dana's chauffeur who was left-handed? You know the fellow I mean, right? He showed up at Cary Grant and Randy Scott's Halloween party dressed as a giant pineapple." Makes you wonder if the guy has ever in his life held down a meaningful full-time job. Lots of people amaze me with their knowledge of film history. But nothing amazes me like the Internet Movie Database, which is an accumulation of real credits and dates and things that a single human brain cannot store.
As I get older, I find that the old hard drive in my skull simply isn't as big as it used to be. It's like a clunky old desktop with a 20-Gig drive in a world full of lightning fast laptops with 160-Gig drives. It's not nearly as quick, and it holds much less data. So I have to conserve space on my drive by forgetting things. If I meet a new employee at work and remember his last name, I have to forget my sister's birthday. If I have to remember the new employee's first and last name and where he's from, well, I'll have to forget the capitol of Rhode Island and the conversion factor of centimeters to inches. The old brain bag just won't hold it all. And that's where the Internet Movie Database comes into play. I don't have to remember all those facts and dates. True, the "Trivia" sections are often trite. And, true, the "User Comments" range from truly learned to truly retarded. But what a resource! I can't imagine anyone writing a term paper on cinema without once referring to the IMDb. I never said it was perfect, but I'm certainly glad it's here.
If you're wondering about Viola Dana's chauffeur, I can't help you.
If you're wondering about the actress from Prime Cut and Gator Bait, well, it's Janit Baldwin and, interestingly, the Internet Movie Database DOESN'T seem to know her birth date.
And I don't either.
I had to forget it when I remembered a doctor's appointment last year.
(You can learn more about her here.)