Stop the Movie Madness!

Dad and I went to the movies recently, and as usual for us, we left early enough to grab our favorite seats, which are in the row behind the handicapped seats. That particular row has the advantage of having a railing in front of the seats, which double as a foot rest. Little did we know that times have changed again. While we still were able to choose our seats, now it had to be done outside the theater in the scorching Carolina heat.

We wondered why the line was moving so slowly, and it was not until we got close to the ticket booth that the reason became apparent. Along with being asked which film we wanted to view, how many tickets we were purchasing, whether or not we were a Regal Cinema member, and what was our mothers’ maiden names and places of birth, we also had to choose our seats.

I admit there are benefits to this, but not at the ticket counter. If you have small children and want to arrive at the last possible minute because you know they are unable to sit through all the pre-movie dreck, then it is worth the minor additional fee to purchase your tickets in advance while in the comfort of your home and reserve your seats at that time. The same would hold true if bringing an elderly friend or relative, whose body cannot endure too long in one seat. For everyone else, either reserve at home or take your chances on a seat once you are inside the theater. Guess what, Regal Cinema? Reverting back to choosing inside will reduce your lines!

Moving on… When I was a kid, I recall that prior to the start of the feature film, we saw cartoons. Grandma told me that when she went to the movies, she would see newsreels of whatever was newsworthy at the time. This was particularly welcomed before there were televisions in every home.

Here is one for locals living in South Carolina:  Dead A-Bomb Hits US Town

If memory serves me correctly, when you went to the movies during your childhood, the feature films were preceded by coming attractions or trivia. Now, before the coming attractions, we must sit through at least fifteen minutes of advertisements for life insurance or job openings at the theater in addition to previews of shows out on cable.

No, no, no! Give me the trivia or upcoming movie previews, but no more Geico commercials!

I guess I just need to watch my flicks at home!


The Million-Dollar Movie and So Much More

Once upon a time, before the availability of an abundance of movie-viewing options via cable television, video streaming, Red Box, and our neighborhood video stores, the only means of watching movies at home was on the handful of stations which existed back in the day. In the dark ages of my New Jersey youth, we had only seven stations: 2 (CBS), 4 (NBC), 5 (WNEW), 7 (ABC), 9 (WOR), and 11 (WPIX).

I recall coming home after school to watch movies, which aired each day at 4:30. In the beginning, we could sit down for two hours with your after-school cookies and milk, and then within less than two years, the time was reduced to 90 minutes. The decrease in time was a result of the expansion of Eyewitness News by an additional thirty minutes, which clearly resulted in major portions of films ending up on the editing-room floor.

Usually the weeks were themed: Planet of the Apes Week, Elvis Week, or Beach Movie Week.

I particularly liked the beach movies, many of which had a particular emphasis on bikinis: How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, Beach Blanket Bingo, and Bikini Beach—all starring the former Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello.

Teenage girls learned about romance via the Gidget series: Gidget, Gidget Goes to Rome, Gidget Goes Hawaiian, and finally, Gidget Gets Married.

In addition to the afterschool movies, we had evening movies, which eventually aired every day of the week. Dad reminded me of the “Million Dollar Movie” which aired on WOR-channel 9. In the beginning, the same film could be viewed twice each night for the entire week, so you really had to go out of your way to miss a showing of a favorite flick.

Of course, for those nights when you just couldn’t get to sleep, we had the CBS Late-Night movies which were shown in the Seventies until sometime in the Nineties when the David Letterman show replaced it. For anyone around to watch those films, I guarantee you will remember the opening theme song:

  So don’t tell anyone of my generation that there is nothing to watch.