Today youngsters can quickly rattle off the names of movies they have seen. Sometimes I think there is a long list of hundreds of titles in their heads with a box beside each one. Once you see a movie, you put a check in the box and move to the next. If you ask a child about a movie they will say something to the tune of…..” It was awesome! So cool! The graphics were amazing!…. And so forth.
So let’s skip back to another time and look at movies in a different way. First of all, Walt Disney had already made some movies when I was a child. I saw part of Bambi and I was done with animal movies. Movies were expensive in the 1950’s. Even Saturday matinees where children could go for a reduced rate. In those days, the audience could view a trailer with upcoming movies, generally a news clip about something and a NEW cartoon. Then the real film would start. The theater in Marietta had a lighted marquee where the name of the film was displayed in lights. You stopped at the ticket office to purchase a ticket and then handed the ticket to the uniformed usher. Then you entered the theater lobby. The refreshment bar had ornate golden arches and mirrors. You could get popcorn or candy and coca-colas. The burgundy Persian carpet was soft. A staircase led to the upstairs bathrooms and THE balcony where the couples sat. The whole theater reeked of popcorn with real butter. It was so glamorous to all of us kids.
The earliest movie that I can remember seeing was Walt Disney’s The Parent Trap with Hayley Mills. I loved it. I still have two copies of it: one is tape and plays in my ancient VCR. The other is a DVD. I can not tell you how many times I saw it. And my children and grandchildren still enjoy it to this day. I still laugh out loud when I see it.
You will be surprised about the other movie I remember. It was The Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was so scary. And I got to see it at The Fox Theater in Atlanta. It was the first time I had been to The Fox. It was the most fabulous theater I had ever had the chance to visit. The ceiling looked like the sky complete with stars and clouds. 4000 people could sit there. It had an elaborate pipe organ and they played it before the curtains parted and the movie began. Everything looked like it had just been flown in from Morocco on a magic carpet. My dad and I went together one Saturday afternoon. We had a wonderful time watching the movie and then we ate at The Varsity. The Varsity is an Atlanta traditional. It is across the highway from Georgia Tech and served the best burgers, deep fried onion rings and these yummy fried peach pies. Hundreds of people ate there daily. You could actually watch TV and eat. Diners heard “What ya have?” “what ya have?” From the men behind the counters.
The final movie that I can remember was really due to a lie I told my mother. Sorry Mom! One of my friends decided to have a movie party for her birthday. And she planned to go to see “Blue Hawaii” with Elvis Presley. I knew my parents would not allow me to see Elvis. So I told my mother I didn’t know what movie we would see. Liar liar pants on fire! So that is how I saw my first Elvis movie. I thought Elvis was the most handsome man with the most gorgeous voice. I wanted to GO to Hawaii. I wanted to see the beach. I wanted Elvis to sing to me. I wanted a fragrant lei around my neck. Years later when I did go to Hawaii, I fell in love with it. I went to the beach. I had an exquisite lei around my neck and Elvis was still singing “Falling in Love with You”. Ahhhh-it’s nice when things don’t change!!!