Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Let's All Go to the Movies...

One of the most fun things I can remember as a child was going to the movies. The old Arcade theatre was downtown on Broadway and showed all sorts of Disney movies. I seem to remember the price for under twelve was something like fifty cents. Next door to the Arcade was the Columbia. My memory of that place was it was where grown-ups went to the movies. It eventually turned into a dual screen theater. I remember my friend Don Scillion taking Philip Anderson and I to see this new hot movie called “Star Wars” in 1977 there – Don was the first one of us to get his driver’s license. I also remember the theaters were right around the corner from Readmore Books. Half of the fun of going to the movies when I got older was going to that bookstore before the movie.

In the summer of 1977, Bruce Douglas got me a job in the concession stand at the Paducah Drive in. I worked that job through the summer of 1983 (when I got my first programmer’s job at General Electric). I loved working there. I had the best boss I ever had there – Richard Phillips. He insisted I bring my homework to do during the slow fall periods when we often only had one of us in the concession stand. I can also remember some super busy nights when there would be seven or eight of us back there – the movie Smokey and the Bandit stands out as a movie that was super busy. The wide open space was great for throwing a Frisbee before work. We also had a couple of bottle rocket wars after work around the Fourth of July – until the police came in and told us to stop. I had my first date with my wife there. I remember coming home from work in the summer of 1985 and seeing the screen in flames and wanting to cry. My mom had even gone to the first movie there (“Song of the South”) when it first opened in 1949. I have plenty of other fond memories and stories of that place that I’ll save for another time.

When Donna and I were dating, we used to go to the Twin Cinemas on Park Avenue (where Enterprise Car Rental is now). I had gone there occasionally before that. The theater regularly showed the Rocky Horror Picture Show every weekend and we would go to that and have a lot of fun throwing all the requisite items at specified points in the movie. They finally stopped showing that movie – probably because cleaning up the theater was so painful. Anyway, Donna and I saw a lot of movies there – a lot of terrible ones. I only say terrible in retrospect because I got to spend a lot of time with this beautiful girl and didn’t really notice how terrible a lot of the movies were.

Then, Cinemark opened their multiplex by the mall (in the area where Old Navy is now). That pretty much spelled the death-knell for the Arcade and Columbia and Twin Cinemas and they soon closed. I occasionally went to the Cinemark especially when Jonathan and Josh were old enough to go. We also made occasional trips to the Calvert City Drive In. I enjoyed the really good hamburgers they had there just about as much as the movies. I eventually reached the point where I rarely went to the theater. I had to get there early just to get seats I wanted. Plus it was easier a lot of times to just wait for the movie to be released to video (and going to the now defunct Blockbuster Video) or to now just watch it on Netflix.

However, when Josh moved to Madison Wisconsin, he talked me into going to several movies there. The experience there makes it more enjoyable to go there. First, they have the Coke soda machines were you can get whatever mixture soda you want. Also, you can get FREE refills. I even grab one as I exit. Also, several theaters have actual RECLINERS for all their seats. It’s a very comfortable way to watch a movie. The last time we talked about going to a movie, Josh mentioned a time and I said “We can’t go to that one, we don’t have time to get ready and get there in time for good seats”. Josh promptly got on his phone and got us RESERVED seats right where we wanted them. We didn’t have to be there until the previews were already going. I am to the point that I will go to the movies again but I’ll wait til I am in Madison.

Cinemark of Paducah, the ball’s in your court if you want me to start going there again :-)