Life at the Movies

When Henry Smith introduced me to Judy Garland, Bert Lahr and the Munchkins at his Texas Theater in downtown McGregor, it began a life-long love affair with the movies. I could not have been older than five as I remember being a little confused–thinking the opening black and white part was real, but the color part in “The Wizard of Oz” was the make-believe. Nancy Smith was my best friend and thus my movie ticket for the Texas Theater. Not understanding the dynamics of race in a small Texas town, we sneaked upstairs to the “Negro balcony” to watch.

In the later 50’s, who knows what my mother was thinking, as she dropped me and my brother off at the Saturday horror matinees in Columbia, SC. We cringed under the seats as giant tarantulas and scooting brains wrecked havoc on the screen. Weekly movies such as “South Pacific” and “Psycho” were shown on a wall at the recreation hall on Fort Kamehameha. No matter it being shown on a wall, “Psycho” still kept us scared in the shower for months. Then came necking at the drive-in–so don’t even ask what was showing. In the meantime, I am watching all the old movies on late night television…“Sunset Blvd,” “Frankenstein” and Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula.”

In Austin, in my twenties, I had a friend with a free pass to any movie theater in town. See how I choose my friends? When I was nine months pregnant, we went to the midnight showing of the “Exorcist.” We huddled in bed that night, waking to every noise and clinging to each other.

I took my 12 year-old son to movies like “Conan the Barbarian” and “The Emerald Forest.” The later for which he is eternally grateful for the many nubile bared breasts. I sat in “Titanic” and There’s Something About Mary” with my stepdaughter. Continuing the tradition, I have seen every kid-friendly move for the last 15 years with my grandchildren. Thankfully, the older they get, the more they like horror and sci-fi, two of my favorite genres.

Now, with Netflix, I can keep up with only an occasional trek to the theater, because there are some movies, like the “English Patient” or “Master and Commander,“ you have to see on the big screen.

I would love to hear about the movies that moved you the most.

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4 Responses to Life at the Movies

  1. Seth says:

    I remember staying home from school sick growing up. We had cable intermittently but we did have one VCR tape and I watched it over and over again. The Princess Bride – I can quote the whole movie from memory and can still watch it today. I think that movie really solidified True Love for me. Great cast and great all around movie. Thanks for the shout out on Twitter. If you want to know more about the equipment we use, email me.

    Seth 🙂

  2. victorlanda says:

    First movie I ever went to see by myself was Chisum, with John Wayne. It was a Saturday morning and my mom couldn’t take me, but I must have bugged her so much that she said I could go if my brother (older) went with me. He refused…
    So I kept pestering until mom said I could go by myself; she probably thought I would chicken out. The theater, the Plaza, was downtown and I had to take a long bus ride.
    So I took money from my piggy bank and walked to the corner to wait for the bus.
    I think the movie was good, but the experience of doing all that on my own was he best. I was all of nine years old.

  3. marylauracarter says:

    Great memory! Thanks.

  4. Natalie says:

    “The Big Country” with Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons was such a great movie! The character played by Gregory Peck was such a gentleman. I wish all boys were required to watch that movie when they are young so they could understand what being a gentleman was really about.

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