The word ‘timeless’ is thrown around a lot when speaking about 1962’s To Kill a Mocking Bird, but the film truly hasn’t seemed to age. Logically, of course, in a way it doesn’t. When the film is on, Atticus Finch always looks like a forty-six-year-old Gregory Peck, Scout Finch always looks like a ten-year- old Mary Badham, and those bright summer days always seem to fly by.
“I have a vivid memory of watching it in my living room with my parents,” People reported Celia Keenan-Bolger, the award-winning actress, telling a large audience. Near tears, Keenan-Bolger’s nostalgic tale drives home at what all stories strive for: emotional core.
However, by their nature emotions aren’t rational. They drive right past logic and stay with us in the back of our minds. Celia Keenan-Bolger told the awaiting audience how there was a “profound impact that Mary Badham’s performance as Scout Finch had on my life”. That’s not hyperbole, that’s emotional impact.
There is a reason why we remember this story. After reaching fame as a child actress, Mary Badham told the Telegraph how, “I always called him Atticus and [Gregory Peck] still called me Scout right up to the end”. Since Mr. Peck’s death, Mary Badham has kept busy. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, she visited the Episcopal School in Knoxville, Tennessee and spread the message of Harper Lee’s novel and its film adaptation, telling them how “[e]ducation is the key to freedom.”
When Aaron Sorkin underwent the challenge and now his adaptation of To Kill A Mocking Bird has hit Broadway. In what seems to be out of a fairy-tale, Celia Keenan-Bolger, teary eyed, faced the audience and told them how Mary Badham’s performance as Scout became “an enduring icon to me and to young girls for many generations, so you can imagine what it felt like to find out that she is here today.”
Afterwards Mary Badham was welcomed to the show with a sea of applause and, for one moment, people came closer together. Perhaps this is why we see stage adaptations of old favorites. The new mediums gives the story a new light, the actors a new inflection, and, despite the differences, we still find the same thing we found before.
Featured Image Via NY T imes