“It’s hard to explain the fun to be found in seeing the right kind of bad movie.”

Today is a lull from winter. The sun is bright against a blue sky and the temperature is already 42˚. But today is just a ruse: Mother Nature is chortling at our expense. Tomorrow will be 30˚ and winter will hold sway again.

January was always the dullest of months. We had no school holidays and nothing to celebrate. Our weekdays were filled with walking to school, sitting at our desks doing lessons all day then walking home. Day after day was endlessly cold. The afternoons were dark. The only bright spots every day were The Mickey Mouse Club and Superman. I think watching them was relief from tedium and kept us from killing each other. From Monday to Friday, we hungered for Saturday and the afternoon matinée, a wonderful, welcomed change in routine. We’d walk up town. The weather never mattered. We were going to the movies.

In winter every seat in the theater was filled for the matinée. Sometimes we were even allowed in the balcony, usually off-limits. My movie theater was kind of neat as it had a physical set-up which was different from most. The ticket booth was not a booth at all but was part of the side wall. After you bought your ticket you walked up an incline to the candy counter. It was the whole wall between the two aisles of seats so everyone had equal access. I remember the crowd was sometimes three deep in front of the candy counter, and everyone was trying to get the attention of the woman who manned the counter. She was Al’s wife and Al owned the theater. I can still see in my mind’s eye the counter in front, the mirror on the whole wall behind where Mrs. Al stood, and the glass popcorn machine on the left side of the counter. I loved to watch the kernels fly out of the popper to the bottom of the machine. That’s where the popcorn was scooped and put into the red and white boxes. The candy counter was glass with three shelves of candy inside. I always went for the candy which lasted the longest. Some of the guys went for candy which flew the farthest.

I forget when I grew too old for the matinée. It was probably around the eighth grade. I missed it at first as it had been so much a part of my growing up and my Saturdays, but there was a silver lining. I got to go to the movies at night.

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14 Comments on ““It’s hard to explain the fun to be found in seeing the right kind of bad movie.””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Well that post got me reminiscing. We had two theaters; The Princess Theatre on Princess St which had a beautiful interior, and the Wakefield Theatre on Main St which was nice but average. I usually went to the one on Main St. It was probably cheaper but I don’t remember.
    I can see the movie posters on the Water Street exterior wall. I can see the marquee with the banner that said it was 20º cooler inside. Not in January of course. The ticket booth was a booth and you walked past it up an incline to the main doors. Inside there was another wall of movie posters. You went to the right or the left. I usually went left. I still do. 🙂 There was a balcony but I was never up there that I recall.
    I can remember all this stuff but for the life of me I can’t remember where the candy and popcorn stand was located. There was one because I always bought a big box of Good N Plenty.

    No sun here. It’s raining. But it’s sort of warmish. The giant icicle that was hanging off one end of my porch roof has totally melted. Just making room for the ones to come, I suppose.

    Enjoy the sun and relative warmth while you have it.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Two theaters-a luxury to have a choice!

      I too remember the movie posters on the side walls once you got inside the glass doors which were right in front. The ticket part of the wall was to the left as you came in the door.

      I buy movie theater Good and Plenty from Peapod, two boxes every month. They are the large boxes of the movie theater now, not the small boxes we bought.

      I sometimes bought a Sugar Daddy as it took forever to eat or even Sugar babies. Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy was also a favorite, the vanilla, as it too took a while to eat. Popcorn was too dry and you needed a drink, but I only had enough money for one bar of candy.

      A little cloudy now but still some sun. The breeze has picked up quite a bit. I do have an errand later so maybe I will enjoy that sun.

      • Caryn Says:

        I haven’t thought about Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy for decades. Rex Trailer used to do a live advertisement for them on his show. Remember, he would talk about freezing them and then he would smack one into the palm of his hand so it would break into bite-sized pieces. I could never get mine to do that. I had to whack them many times on the countertop or the doorstep depending on where I was.

      • katry Says:

        I remember that on Rex Trailer, and I tried it with a bit more luck than you had. The taffy broke up into several pieces but I had to wait a while until it defrosted a bit before I could eat it. A hammer worked best!

  2. olof1 Says:

    s blowing like hell over here but it’s just beneath 32F at the moment. They said we wouldn’t get any snow but the less cold weather and strong winds says otherwise I’m afraid.

    I loved going to the matiné! I have to admit that I can’t remember the candy counter that well, we always brought our own candy since it was so much more expensive at the cinema.

    What I remember best though is the streetcars 🙂 They passed just outside both the cinema’s we had nearby and every time they did the entire cinema started to shake like we had an earthquake 🙂 and sometimes the rumble froim them fitted right in to what happened in the film 🙂 🙂 Thge first time I saw Starwars a streetcar passed just as we saw the first Imperial Cruiser pass at the beginning of the movie 🙂 Believe me, that was the best part of the entire movie soundwise 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      You have had a fairly snowless winter so I guess you are due for a storm. Our snow is melting today, but I am afraid it will freeze overnight when the temperature drops.

      I bring my own candy now to the cinema as it is so very expensive. When I was a kid, a nickel bar was the same at the movies or a store.

      My town didn’t have streetcars, only Boston did. We had busses, and they weren’t nearly as fun as the sound of streetcars.

      The coincidence of the timing is really neat!

  3. im6 Says:

    All this talk about movies make me think of that extraordinarily good popcorn they used to have at the movies. You couldn’t replicate it at home and all the microwave options available today don’t come close. Which is why I was so thrilled to discover (and to recommend now) my discovery of Mega-Pop packets. Kind of expensive and certainly not convenient since you can’t get it in a store, but it’s ooooh soooo good. I don’t think you can go wrong and it’s bound to add a star to any DVD movie you watch at home. (Think they’d use me as a spokesperson should they decide to start selling retail and advertise?!) http://www.amazon.com/Oz-Corn-Kit-36-Ct/dp/B000LNUML8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390854612&sr=8-1&keywords=mega-pop+popcorn

    • katry Says:

      What do you pop this in? I’d love to have some for my deck movie nights. It doesn’t seem all that expensive when you get 36 of them, that less than a dollar each.

      I remember a similar popcorn for at home when I was a kid. It had two sides: the butter side and the kernel side. We loved it! My mother would pop some of it for us while we watched TV.

      • im6 Says:

        Well, IDEALLY, you’d pop it in one of those poppers like they had a theaters, but I just use a pot on top the stove and shake it over the fire while it pops. I have the 8 oz. packs and I halve them and that makes about 3 quarts of popcorn — with very few unpopped kernels. I then eat half of the half (!) and save the leftovers for later. Store in a paper bag and reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. I guess it really isn’t that much more expensive in the long run, but I have some aversion to spending $30 on popcorn at one time! Psychologically it just seems a little excessive.

      • katry Says:

        That’s the way we made popcorn when I was a kid. We took turns shaking the pot as we got tired and not shaking meant burned kernels.

        You can put them in that paper bag then pop them in the microwave. It would be like air-popped corn.

        I buy crackers in bulk as I always use them when I have company. I find them cheaper that way.

  4. Birgit Says:

    Today 3 or 4 raindrops looked surprisingly white and fluffy. If I remember right, it is called snow. That’s enough winter for this year, spring can come.
    Our old movie theater also had live puppet show matinees for young kids. (Traditional Kasperle Theater, but I don’t know how to describe/translate it). I remember that I was allowed to see it with a friend’s family a few times. Hooray – I was allowed to have fun! Never mind. The friendship lasted longer than the cinema, which is a car repair shop now.

    • katry Says:

      No whining when you have only a few flakes of the white stuff.

      I looked up Traditional Kasperle Theater so I know what you’re talking about.

      My old theater is now a playhouse with live theater. It is where I go every year at Christmas to see a play with my sister. It is neat to be there though it has changed considerably. The non-profit theater group saved the building and kept the outside exactly the same, even the marquee.

  5. flyboybob Says:

    The term matinée has another meaning which is related to going to the movies during the day. The husband would send the kids to the movies so he and mom could have their own matinée 😉

    When I was a kid we lived on a street behind a 1950s strip shopping center which has a movie theater to this day. We could walk to the Saturday matinée for kids which included a double feature and at least six cartoons along with a couple of shorts. All Saturday we could eat popcorn and all that candy that made my dentist smile and me cry when I went for a checkup. Movie popcorn tastes wonderful because they use palm oil which can be heated to a high temperature without smoking and then slather it with the phony melted butter. It’s a wonderful treat even today. When I eat that stuff I can feel my arteries clogging.

    Today you only get one movie and the cartoons and shorts have been replaced with commercials for your ten dollars.

    Cold weather came this morning along with a strong north wind. Generally we are about ten degrees warmer than you are except when you are in the throes of an arctic whatever.

    • katry Says:

      My parents still had small kids home so no matinée for them. It was Dad doing his Saturday errands and chores.

      In Ghana we had palm oil, but theirs is red in color. It was used for frying as well and in soups. I like to pop my corn in peanut oil which also is good to a high temperature. I cooked with it in Ghana and got used to the taste.

      The movies today are definitely a rip-off. They show coming attractions that are months away. Before Christmas I saw trailers for movies coming in July. I won’t even mention the cost of food in the theaters. It is too exorbitant.

      Cold weather here too. From the 40’s yesterday to 20˚ today and down into the teens for tonight.

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