I distinctly remember the first movie that I saw in a theater. My sister and one of her girl friends took me to the Town & Country Cinema, not far from our house. It was a matinee and the movie was Bambi. (No, it wasn’t during its original release in 1942. It was during one of its numerous re-releases. I won’t say which one.)
Thinking back, Bambi might not have been the best choice for a first movie, considering how much I cried. (Denise, you could have warned me!) It’s amazing I ever went to the movies again.
But I did go back to the movies. The early years were filled with the expected Disney movies. Then, I made it to the big leagues: Star Wars, my first PG-rated movie. It was also the first time going to a drive-in. This was with the same sister who nearly scarred me for life with Bambi. (Fortunately, she was only joking when she said I had to hide in the trunk of the car when we drove in since was a PG-rated movie.)
Both the Town & Country Cinema and the Eastside Drive-In (where I saw Star Wars) are now gone. They were both built in the early 1960s and, although they were nice theaters in their time, they didn’t have the splendor of the movie theaters of the 1920s and 30s. I am glad to see a move to revitalize those classic theaters, either as entertainment spots (such as the Ohio Theatre in Columbus) or as shops, but keeping the original front and signage. (I love those old theater signs!)
Whether you’re watching in a splendid, revitalized theater or one that’s in a shopping mall, there’s still something neat about sitting down with your overpriced popcorn and watching the story unfold. Maybe it’s the cheer everyone lets out when the bad guy finally gets his or the collective groan when you all realize the movie was a dud. Or maybe it’s just the simple pleasure of sitting in a darkened theater and escaping for a couple of hours.
By the way, if you haven’t seen Bambi, I’ll say this. (Spoiler alert.) It doesn’t go well for Bambi’s mom. That’s all I’m going to say.
What are your movie memories? Do you remember your first trip to the movies? What was your favorite theater like? Did the speaker ever work when you went to the drive-in? Share your story below – and be sure to share it with your family, too!