There were no black families living in Donelson when I was young.It was only my thrice weekly trips to downtown Nashville that let me view the world in black and white, and not just white.
So we were children and our world was small, narrowly circumscribed. It was several concerted accidents of history that made it all seem of-a-piece.What distinguishes Pleasantville, however, is the device used to show the transformation: the slow-ripple change from black-and-white film to color.It's one of the most ingenious visual devices ever conceived for a mainstream movie, and certainly makes for one of the most inviting preview trailers in a long while.In fact, everyone has that journey offered to them; each of us takes it to varying degrees. I hope it has resonance for a broader group than us aging Boomers. But I do so wish, given the wry ironies about Bud’s “colored girlfriend,” and the use of images that obviously emanate from civil rights marches and sit-ins, that there had been some actual black people in Pleasantville at the end.Try as I might, however, I couldn’t think of a way to do that without it seeming forced.It’s simpler only if you had no responsibilities to bear.Moreover, the suburbs themselves reflected a sort of nostalgic longing for something that never existed: the idealized remembrance of small town, rural America.If you have seen it, but need some reminders, there is a pretty good synopsis on the Wikipedia. My take differs, of course.]Old black-and-white sitcoms do tend to blur together in memory.I can locate the episode of “Father Knows Best” where Mr.Anderson gives Bud a a week allowance (quite a sum in those days) with the stipulation that Bud can only spend the money on himself.He soon finds that it alienates him from all his friends, so he goes back to doing chores for a smaller allowance that has no strings.