I have been following Jane Boursaw‘s comments about movies and TV ever since I met her, and am so glad to have this treasure trove of entertainment knowledge join us on a regular basis at A Traveler’s Library. Although she does not mention it in the interview, Jane also teaches classes in blogging, and A Traveler’s Library may never have gotten off the ground without her knowledgeable and unselfish help when I took her class. Jane will normally be writing about movies that make you want to move (travel), but first she took the time to answer some questions so you could get to know her better.
A Traveler’s Library: What got you started writing about movies and TV?
|Courtesy of Jane Boursaw, From Picasa Collages|
Jane Boursaw: I’ve always just loved movies and TV, dating back to watching Charlie the Lonesome Cougar on The Wonderful World of Disney with my family every Sunday night. I was raised on a cherry farm in Michigan, so we worked hard but loved to relax at night watching TV–The Dick Van Dyke Show, My Favorite Martian, Star Trek, The Andy Griffith Show and many others. We also loved seeing movies at our downtown State Theatre here in Traverse City– everything from The Love Bug to Jaws. What a thrill that the theatre was recently restored and used as a home base for the Traverse City Film Festival. It’s like stepping back in time every time I see a movie there now.
I grew up to be a writer and decided about ten years ago to switch from general interest stories to entertainment stories. I’m so glad I did. Now I get paid to watch TV and go to the movies.
ATL: Have you formally studied movies?
JB: No, but I read a lot about the film and TV industries, and love reading biographies and autobiographies of entertainment folks. Right now, my to-read shelf includes books about Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Jerry Weintraub, Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett and Grace Kelly.
ATL: Your emphasis is on more wholesome entertainment appropriate for families. Did this come about because of your own family, or did you see a need out there that no one seemed to be filling. And how hard is it to find family appropriate films and TV these days?
JB: As mentioned, I have a long history of watching TV and movies dating back to when I was a kid — when “family” shows and movies actually WERE appropriate for kids. That line has gotten blurry over the years, as PG-13, PG and even G ratings include content that isn’t appropriate for the intended audience. I saw a need for comprehensive reviews with specific details on profanity, violence, innuendoes and more, written from a mom’s point of view (I have two kids, now teenagers). I know parents don’t have a lot of time to research these things before turning on the TV or taking their kids to the theater. I’m here to fill that void with my syndicated family movie and TV reviews, based at Reel Life With Jane and read by more than 20 million readers monthly.
ATL: What movie have you seen that seemed the most like your own life?
JB: Flipped (read my review here) is a great movie that reminds me a lot of my childhood growing up in the 1960s. As mentioned, I grew up on a farm in a small rural community, so my life was an idyllic mix of Mayberry and Walton’s Mountain.
ATL: You say you’re not a traveler. What’s the farthest trip you’ve taken from home?
JB: My husband whisked me off to the Virgin Islands some 30 years ago, and I still have fond memories of shopping at Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, exploring the ruins on St. John, and camping at Brewer’s Bay on Tortola. We hope to return sometime soon or maybe even spend winters there.
ATL: When you were a kid, did your family go on road trips, campouts, summer cabin stays?
JB: My mom was raised in the south (she and my dad met when they both attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in the 1940s), so our family trips usually consisted of visiting her relatives in Virginia, Washington D.C., North Carolina and Florida. It was very different from our farm life in Michigan, and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to see a lot of the sites, especially around Washington, D.C., like the Smithsonian, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery is still hauntingly beautiful to me, and I loved Colonial Williamsburg. My grandparents lived in Florida during the 1960s, so we visited Disney World and Busch Gardens down there.
ATL: What do you show visitors who travel to your town of Traverse City, Michigan?
JB: Oh gosh, there’s so much to love here, it’s a challenge when friends are passing through and only have a few hours. I love our quaint downtown Traverse City and, of course, our lovely Old Mission Peninsula, where I grew up. We have everything here – beautiful vistas, bays on both sides of us, vineyards and orchards, gorgeous trails, a historic lighthouse and 1880s log cabin, which my dad helped restore and move to its current location by the lighthouse. We also have a great drive-in theater in the next county over (The Cherry Bowl Drive-In) that we try to get out to at least once a summer. We took my 87-year-old mom there to see the final Harry Potter film this summer.
I’m just darn lucky that I was born in this place and am able to raise my own kids here. Folks who come here say it’s like stepping back in time.
The photos in this post all belong to Jane Boursaw. Please do not reuse without asking permision. Thanks, Jane, for helping the readers of A Traveler’s Library get better acquainted with you. Readers, feel free to chime in and ask Jane questions in the comment section. And by the way, could you identify all those classic TV shows in the collage at the top?