If you asked me to name the film or stage show that had the greatest impact on me as a young person, I'd have to say South Pacific. I first saw the adaptation of James Michener's tale performed on the large outdoor stage at St. Louis's Municipal ("Muny") Opera.as a kid, in the intense humid midwestern summertime, in the middle of the civil rights struggles of the '60s, at a moment when I was having my consciousness raised about racial bigotry. I'd just seen Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, [clip] whose impact on me was also profound, and would soon read my baseball hero Bob Gibson's ghosted memoir From Ghetto to Glory. Dr. King had been shot the previous summer. (I may in fact have seen this show at the Muny as early as 1963, but it was the '69 performance that I'm pretty sure I'm recalling.)
Michener caught a lot of snark from lit critics who thought his approach ham-handed or unsubtle or something, but he was a very good man. His "This I Believe" essay aired yesterday.