Dear Mr. Wilder,
I've been meaning to send you this letter since 1984. Thinking you would probably never get to read it, I just never found the courage to sit down and write it — you know, sit down, take a deep breath and hopefully do a good job. But this morning I woke up and I said to myself, "Write the damn letter. This is getting ridiculous." So here I am, a 45-year-old college professor sitting at his desk at 6:53 A.M. thinking where to start and not waste your time. Mr. Wilder, you have been a positive influence on my life, and the aim of this letter of mine is to thank you for that, even if I'm as much a stranger to you as you are to me.
My name is Blue, and this may come as a surprise to you: I'm not really a big fan of your work. I like it, but I don't love it (please don't stop reading), except for one very special movie. Depressing as it may sound, when I was a fourteen-year-old kid back in 1984 waiting in line at our local movie theater, I had never even heard of you. "Gene Wilder? Who is he?" Let's say I was a sad and clueless pimpleface with a bad haircut when my cousins took me to the premiere of The Woman in Red. I didn't like myself, I didn't like the world, and I was always, always, low-spirited. Not because I was a teenager — that didn't help — but somehow I had been sad for many years. It happens. Anyway, I sat down staring at my ticket, not expecting very much, and then the lights went out. Little did I know I was in for a treat.
To cut a long story short, I fell in love with your movie. I thought it was sheer perfection on many levels. I remember sitting there hearing the first couple of seconds of Stevie Wonder's mesmerizing It's You. When I heard that beautiful tune and the movie started, I knew instantly that this one was going to be different, and I was right. How in the world I managed to identify with a fifty-year-old man, being fourteen myself, still beats me though. I guess you did that good a job, and I will forever be grateful for it. What I do know for a fact is that this movie made me smile again. The sad teen cracked his face. Dial 9-1-1! It's hard to describe what actually happened to me watching The Woman in Red, but the change in me was profound and it was permanent, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I experienced a sense of hope that I had never felt before, I wanted to fall in love even if the girl of my dreams was to show me the true meaning of unattainable love, and basically... I wanted to be a kind person like you. I know I don't know you. I also knew I was watching a movie. I was fully aware Teddy Pierce did not exist in the real world (whatever that meant), but your kindness and humanity was obvious. It transpired and touched my heart.
So here I am, feeling silly telling you all this like I'm in church confessing. I don't need anything from you. I don't expect a reply. I just wanted you to know how much your movie has meant to me. It came at the right time. I saw it just when I needed it. And strange as it may sound, whenever I'm sad again, I switch on my television, press play and transport myself to that old movie theater back in 1984 where I, too, fell in love with a woman called Charlotte. Thank you for changing my life, sir; thank you for soothing me with your wonderful voice. I wish you all the best. I hope this letter reaches you.
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