Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Movie Experience

A retired airline pilot friend wrote me today about seeing "Sully." In his email, he wrote about his granddaughters:

They would have preferred watching something else but it was the only 11:30  flick and they couldn’t resist the movie routine of pop corn,  electric reclining seats and extending footrests ( a far cry from the Spartan  RKO I knew 60+ years ago  on  230th  St.  and Broadway in Riverdale where a mean lady in a white dress patrolled with  a flashlight  and kept us in line ). The kids said they  preferred another theater  which had a button at every seat to summon  an attendant for  snacks but we told them they’d just have to rough it. 
and I responded with my own movie memories which I'll share... anything like yours?

I'm glad you saw it in such a plush theater. I had almost forgotten about the mean old ladies, and I remember them well. We called them "matrons" and basically our greatest sin was not having our two feet on the floor where they belong. I know I had the flashlight turned on me a few times, but I don't think the matron really had any power... never remember a kid being thrown out. When we would go to our cousins in Wisconsin in  the summer, they often had "35 cartoons!" as the feature which I thought was heaven. 

One of my favorite old lady stories to tell is how my father would give my sister and me a dollar to go to the movies. It was 35 cents each to get in which left us 30 cents. We would each buy one candy of our choice for ten cents leaving one last dime. We took that last dime and negotiated a candy to be shared. I can still picture my sister and me standing in front of the candy counter going back and forth on that third candy. 

Certain things make me feel old and the movie experience is one of them... sometimes I think I actually saw the newsreels which now seem so campy... and why can't we get a cartoon any more?And I date myself when I use the term "coming attractions." Can still smell the Oyster Bay theater where we went... every so often I smell that smell  and it's glorious... sort of a damp musty smell mixed with popcorn smell.  

Also, in those days, you just dropped the empty popcorn container and candy wrappings on the floor. Now you'd be arrested no doubt for that!  

I just dregged up another memory... there was an ancient ticket taker, an old man, sort of decrepit, in that Oyster Bay theater... and he would take your ticket and rip it in half... and he had these horrid long yellow fingernails which must have been on purpose to help him tear the tickets. And, of course, my parents sat in smoking, with us along, but the smoking section seats were bigger and plusher so we didn't mind. Velvet seats that I loved.



Mary said...

I remember the 35 cent hours of cartoons, with newsreels - we loved those. We especially liked the air conditioning which wasn't as common as it is today. We definitely didn't have air conditioning. I don't remember anyone ever checking on us, with or without a flashlight. We also would not have thrown trash on the floor.

Melissa said...

Smoking in a movie theater!!! loved reading these posts.. I
reclining seats with foot rests? Buttons to summon an attendant? We don't have theaters like that where I live :).