“Hakuna Matata”

I’m sorry, I couldn’t stomach listening to Hakuna Matata again.

When: June 1994
Where: Pacific Theaters Hastings Ranch (closed)
Who: My mother and grandma
Weather: Sunny

In 1994, my whole life got an upgrade. My Dad got a new car, and my mom got the old one. Before that, she had a wonderfully unsafe WV van without a radio. We got a deck, a patio, and a new backdoor, and I got a real bedroom. What was my bedroom was now the TV room, with a wall of 8-foot tall bookshelves from IKEA. And in the center? A brand new 24″ Zenith with, wonder of wonders, a Magnavox VCR!

The speed with which I accrued tapes was amazing. My neighbors were closer than most of my family and gave me tons of their kids’ old stuff. But that spring, a juggernaut struck: Disney.

The first movie I remember watching was Beauty and the Beast. Not the worst place to start, if a little dark, but children need to be terrified; it’s good for the brain. Watching the previews got me onto a new movie, Aladdin, and an old one, Pinocchio. Among the trailers for those videos? The Lion King, the first movie I ever saw in theaters, much to my parents’ credit, who would never take a screaming baby to Last of the Mohicans. People today should stop trying to pull that bullshit.

Whatever positive experience the movies had on me must have been tough on my parents. No more KROQ on the old stereo. For what felt like the longest time but was only about a year, it was kiddie music only. “Hakuna Matata” remains as a legacy to that mind-expanding time.

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