I didn’t need to go to sleep to visit dreamland during my childhood. All I had to do was take a trip to the movies.
I had two choices: the stately Pantheon, with the grand appearance to match its name, which charged 15 cents and usually ran double features. Though old, its red velvet seats and brass fittings were still elegant.
My other choice was the less grand but younger New Moon, which charged 25 cents, with few double features.
When I walked in the door of either theater, the smell of popcorn made me swoon, but I opted for candy instead.
Before I wised up, I plunked down a nickel for a caramel Holloway sucker, but could never finish the sticky thing. Instead, I bought Dots, which went down easily, with leftovers for home.
Remember how an usher escorted you to your seat and shined a little flashlight along the way? I felt like a VIP.
All comfy in my seat and loaded with snacks, I was ready for the show to begin. First came the previews of coming attractions, which I loved. They helped me shop for upcoming visits.
Next was the serial with Lash LaRue or another cowboy, usually chasing a bandit or left hanging from a cliff at the end of an episode.
Unfortunately, the episodes never ran in order, so to this day, I wonder if the poor guy ever got off the cliff.
Cartoons came next. Tom and Jerry were favorites because I loved seeing that little mouse outsmart big old Jerry. Call it David and Goliath in cartoon form. Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd or Tweety and Sylvester also made me laugh, even though (or maybe because) most of them needed speech therapy.
In theater circles, they talk about “willing suspension of disbelief,” and my friends and I had it in spades. We’d cringe (or even scream) if things got scary and cry when the dog died. My friend Sherry, as a little girl, got booted from the theater once for firing her cap pistol at the “bad guys” on screen.
There in the dark is where I heard Thumper say, “If you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all” and I worried Dorothy wouldn’t make it home.
Movie-going at the Pantheon or New Moon is long gone. But while I enjoy watching a movie whenever I want, I miss the Old School days when a trip to the movies was an EVENT.
Reach Carol McEwen at email@example.com.