Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Steve and I went to the movie theater a couple of weeks ago and before the movie started they did their little pre-show ads and such. Part of the pre-show was a series of pictures of old theaters in the St. Louis area and it made me think of my old neighborhood theater – The Granada. It was torn down a number of years ago but you know they can’t take away your memories. If you saw the lot where it was you would think it must have been really tiny – but my memories make it almost as grand as The Fox.
Going to the movies was a lot different for me when I was a kid. We didn’t really pick out a picture to go see – we just found out what was showing that week at one of our ‘walking distance’ theaters. For me, that usually meant the Granada and once in awhile the Avalon.
I’m not even sure if my siblings had the same ‘movie experiences’ I had, but I first remember going with my parents and probably Jimmy on Monday nights. I’m guessing Tuesday was my dad’s day off so he didn’t have to worry about getting up at 4AM to get down to Soulard to pick up the produce for Flotkens. It seems that most of the movies were either cowboy or war movies – I can remember mama saying that if there weren’t any females in the movie then she didn’t want to go. I really don’t recall any of those movies - just a vague memory of us walking to and from the theater and Jimmy and I wanting to sit by ourselves – so we could feel so grown-up. A big difference back then (besides the price) was that you actually saw two movies and cartoons in between. If I remember correctly we didn’t always stay for the second feature.
Then, in the summertime, when I was old enough to go down there with some neighborhood kids (it was only 3-4 blocks away) we use to go to Thursday matinees. I remember more of these movies – “The Blob”, “House on Haunted Hill” (the original), and “The Alligator People” to name a few. I remember mostly horror flicks and I think they only showed one feature for the summer matinees and the cartoons came before the movie.
Then around 6th, 7th or 8th grade I could go with my school friends on Friday nights. It was more of a social get together than anything. The movies were all those Annette Funciello beach movies or Elvis movies but we were so busy visiting and walking around the theater to check out the guys that we only saw bits and pieces of the movie. The Granada even had a balcony but we usually only went up there if we were really wanted to see the movie. That was where the ‘old people’ sat to get away from us kids. They still showed a double feature with cartoons in between and I think the admission was only 25 or 35 cents. – ah, the good old days!
Of course, you have seen some of those old movies so you know they don’t compare to the expense or quality of what you can see now. But we only had 3 TV channels to choose from - so the movies at the theater were pretty exciting for us!