Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, April 28, 2012

And at the movies ...

I've always loved the movies.  Always.  Can't remember when I didn't.

Chief Theater in Enid
In Enid, Oklahoma, where I grew up, there were four theaters downtown (the Chief, the Sooner, the Cherokee, the Esquire) and two drive-ins (the Trail, the Enid).  All are gone now.  Downtown, the buildings stand but are used for other things; the last time I was in Enid (oh, a half-dozen years ago), the Trail was disintegrating, neglected, waiting for a Shelley to arrive and give it some lines to elevate it to the significance of Ozymandias.  (Ain't gonna happen.)

Saturday mornings were for the movies downtown.  Our parents would drive us down--or we would hop on the bus across from my grandparents' house (10 cents), and off we'd go.

For a while, one of the theaters had a special: free admission for two Royal Crown bottle caps, so my friends and I would check the ground outside the local J & J Grocery for them.  People often just popped off the cap, let it lie where it fell.

The Saturday morning movie-trip was no minor thing.  For those two bottle caps (or, if no special, for 10 cents), we would see the filmed news highlights, a bunch of cartoons, many previews, a serial (Don Winslow of the Coast Guard is one I remember; Flash Gordon, of course), then a double-feature.  By the time we emerged, it was afternoon and hot and so bright our poor eyes struggled mightily to restore the visual purple (see, I paid attention in science class one day).

By the way, there were no commercials before the movies--not like now.  No product placements that I can recall.  I mean, I don't think Hopalong Cassidy was wearing Nikes--or drinking Diet Pepsi.  (No diet drinks when I was a kid!)

I loved the front row, the sticky floor, the box of popcorn and Coke.  Even the headache afterwards caused by leaning back for four hundred consecutive hours.  Over the exit was an illuminated clock with an ad for an insurance agency.

I first fell in love at the movies.  I was in elementary school.  And the object of my ... desire? ... was not a classmate or some older girl.  It was an actress.  The lovely ... Mona Freeman--not a name with much resonance today.  But, oh!  Mona!

It was probably The Lady from Texas (1951) that won my heart.  I now have it on DVD, thanks to my waggish older brother, who remembers everything I wish he didn't.  (And, no, I don't watch it over and over and over ... just, you know, now and then?)

It was not long before I broke up with Mona.  She--I don't know--just didn't seemed interested in me.  She kept falling for other guys up there on the screen.  So I figured I'd better move on.

And by then I was starting to notice another woman on the screen, one I thought was really hot.

Tinker Bell.  Now her I had a chance with!

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