For at least the past 10 years I have been trying to remember the name of a movie that I remember loving as a child. About all I could remember about it was that it involved some character that walks to a castle and finds a tree, some type of glass key and a glass dome of some sort. Who was the character? I didn’t know. Where was the castle? No idea. What was the tree? Your guess… Who had the key? Yo’ mama. Was the glass dome over the key or the tree? Oooh, good question!
So for the past 10 years I have been trying to remember what the movie was. I could play parts of the movie back in my mind over and over again, and I was constantly amazed at how amazing the film was. But I couldn’t remember how much of what I imagined was real and how much I was making up. I’ve asked several people over the years if they remember what the movie was, but the closest I got was when someone suggested that it might have been “The Dark Crystal.” Considering that I had some vague recollection of a glass key, I thought that perhaps I was remembering a crystal as a key. I was reminded earlier this week about my long-time search when I noticed that “The Dark Crystal” was playing at a local cult movie theater.
So, I didn’t watch Dark Crystal in the theater, but I did watch a trailer for it on my Apple TV. Nope, that wasn’t the movie.
I decided that 10 years was too long not to know what the movie was, so I started a Google search. My search term was: movie glass key tree. The first 10 results didn’t really yield anything, but then I stumbled upon a result with the title, “I can’t find the title of a movie I saw as a kid in the 80s.” YES! This sounds like it could have what I want. Here was the text of the post:
I’m pretty sure it’s live action, but cartoon is possible. It is fantasy, and involved a group of kids (maybe brother/sister) that encountered a palace of some kind, which I believe sat atop a stone peninsula (there is a scene where the kids are travelling along the side of a cliff toward the palace). I believe a witch or evil sorceress lived there. The palace housed a large glass dome, under which a tree bore ‘eternal youth’ fruit (apples or peaches, I think). The dome protects/preserves the tree and is locked with a big golden key. The climax of the film is when the kids get the key, and somehow break the glass. I don’t recall if you see the witch age rapidly, but it’s possible. The kids may or may not have been accompanied by friendly monsters (though I think this may be a mixed memory from ‘my favorite monster’). Any thoughts, comments and details are *greatly* appreciated.
Alright, so this sounds almost identical to what I remembered, save a few details, such as the brother/sister pair. I was very excited at this point, sure that I was going to discover the name of the 1980s gem. Well, I got the name, alright. The film was called “The Hugga Bunch,” and it featured both live action and puppets. The puppets were apparently toys that were popular in the 80s called Huggables, or some such thing. Now these characters live in a land of fantasy where all they do is hug each other and live happily ever after. (Note: I have absolutely zero recollection of these characters in the movie – but there they are.)
I discovered that someone had posted the movie (which seems to be only about 45 minutes long) on YouTube, so I decided to watch it. At first I was convinced that it was a completely different movie. Here was this little girl sad that her grandma was going to be moving away and talking to her dolls and they were talking back. That’s not at all what a I remembered. Then all of a sudden this girl goes through her bedroom mirror and ends up in the land of the hugging dolls! What is that all about? This isn’t the movie I remember.
I skipped ahead and discovered that this was, in fact, the movie I had seen as a child. There was the castle, there was the evil queen, there was the tree under a glass dome and there was that key – that key that had haunted my mind for so many year, the key that unlocked the dome and allowed access to the tree. And best of all, there was the scene where the girl is walking on a sideways sidewalk and she says, “it sure does make your tummy feel curious.” I almost cried when I heard that line. As a child this was one of my favorite things to say. I was constantly talking about how my tummy felt curious – and it was all thanks to this movie.
But, somehow, re-discovering the film was in no way satisfying. In fact, it was depressing. I had such fond memories of this movie from my childhood. I had such a glamorous memory of it, but it turned out to be a silly, simple, ridiculous film with characters that were wholly unbelievable. I partly want to convince myself that I still haven’t found the movie – that this was just some cheap imitation of the real thing – but I know deep down that this isn’t true. I have found that movie that I had loved as a child. It was a film that clearly made an impression on me, enough of an impression that I have been trying for at least the past 10 years to remember what it was. And yet, to see it again has almost caused that little bit of my childhood to die inside me. While I remembered enough of the film to find it via Google, it is still nothing at all like I remember it. One thing is for sure, though – this movie just isn’t what it used to be.