Jon Cassie is an educator, writer, podcaster and game designer based in Southern California. See his work at Game Level LearnIlinx and SchoolNEXT.

Top 5! - Memorable (Though Not Necessarily Auspicious) Beginnings

I'm sure I'm not the only one who can think of events and experiences in life that started in a particularly memorable way. Often these starts are memorable enough to color the perception of the whole. Here are 5 beginnings that do that.

5 - "Gregor Samsa awoke one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect."
Okay...this is not going to be like other stories...the now famous first line of Franz Kafka's short story "The Metamorphosis" paints a picture so visceral and horrifying that, every time I've taught this story, I have had to spend a significant amount of time right here, at the story's doorway, because students do not want to suspend disbelief.

4 - The opening 4 minutes of "Charade" (1963).
It's not enough, though it is something, that Charade's title sequence is still one of the most audacious, memorable and catchy examples of the genre from any era. Roll out of that into a mountain chateau with the devastating Audrey Hepburn and the dashing Cary Grant? That's a sure sign that the next 120 minutes are going to be perfect.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiMGMD_4G6A&fs=1&hl=en_US]

3 - "Emissary" - Deep Space Nine, episode 1.
By far and away the best of the Star Trek television pilots, Emissary's opening scene, in which the main character's ship is destroyed and his wife killed by the Jean-Luc Picard led Borg (directly relating DS9 to the TNG franchise), sets the tone for the whole series. DS9 was not to be an conventional Trek. Darker, edgier, brooding, it would become the most compelling of the Trek series' because of its commitment to long-form stories and big, multi-season sweeping arcs. "Emissary" is also full of excellent scenes of characters meeting for the first time. Sisko and Kira, Kira and Bashir. Brilliant!

2 - The opening riffs to New Order's "Blue Monday." (1983)
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyoDbX1EkPQ&fs=1&hl=en_US]

1 - George H.W. Bush introduces his choice for Vice President, Senator J. Danforth Quayle, to the nation (1988).
The least auspicious induction into national politics in contemporary memory, Senator Quayle's performance on the stump was notoriously juvenile (he was said to have scampered about); his performance in press conferences and on television erratic, incoherent and sometimes loopy. His election is emphatic proof that the vice president selection can not torpedo a campaign.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW2K0-VItAk&fs=1&hl=en_US]

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