Anything Is Possible In a Movie Theatre

When I was younger, we used to live in a small rural community with one old cinema called the Regal; which always used to remind me of a grand old lady much in need of a new frock. The once plush red velvet seats and drapes had become threadbare and moth-eaten and the gilt paint had peeled on the plaster cherubs decorating the balconies. No doubt at one time this picture house would have hosted children’s Saturday morning picture shows provided a haven for young courting couples and a hangout for bored teenagers. I saw some of my most favourite films in that particular picture house and sat there blissfully immersed in some magical kingdom where animals could speak and boys could fly. I shed tears over Bambi and gasped with amazement at the adventures of a castaway. To this day the smell of pine disinfectant reminds me of running up a sweeping staircase to a waiting fairy-tale world of dreams.

This particular cinema was a small family run affair and subsequently, the same man would sell us our sweets & tickets. He also showed us to our seats with the magic torch should we arrive late and the film had already started. And wouldn’t you know it the very same harassed man would pop up again during the interval to sell us ice-creams from a lit tray hanging from around his neck. I suspect he was also the projectionist.

As an awe-struck child I imagined his job must have been the best job in the world and I so wanted to be a cinema usherette when I grew up; having endless access to exciting films, a never-ending supply of ice-cream and not forgetting the magic torch. As I grew older my career plans changed somewhat and my plans to become an usherette sadly never did materialise.

However, when my nieces were younger we played “cinemas” many times. The children had fun drawing the posters, making and handing out the tickets and sweets. We’d all sit down to watch a DVD pretending we were in the Dyson Palais and would switch the film off midway so that the kids could “sell” us ice-creams.

I, of course, got to live my life-long dream with the magic torch in those moments and that my friends was the closest I ever got!

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.
Jim Henson

32 thoughts on “Anything Is Possible In a Movie Theatre

  1. A thing I really enjoy … is going to the movie … but with the prices today everywhere – it’s something I do less and less. As a child I never went to a cinema. First time I went to a cinema, real one … I was 16. In Sundays school the showed the same said Swedish movie about some orphans kids .. trying to escape their situation, cried my eyes out every time – no a good movie to show for 5-10 olds.

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  2. Small movie theaters are less and less common in my area. They have been steadily replaced by the huge multiplexes that house up to 20 rooms. The movie experience is a lot less personal than it used to be, with a constant turnover of young high school and college age employees. They have these new fancy theaters in the US where you can order food from your seat from a waitress/remote control during the movie. I found the experience to be overwhelming. Why would you order food during the movie? It’s disruptive to have someone serving you food while the movie is going on. If I want to order food, that’s why I go to a restaurant! Also the prices are so expensive now, especially with all the movies released in 3D (which personally give me a headache).

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  3. Oh, I can totally see the make-belief cinema play! I am in the process of watching all the classics with the glamorous movie-stars, such as Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day, Robert Mitchum, Bogart and Peter O’Toole
    In those days going to the cinema had some more magic than the experience of today, so I prefer to ‘relive’ it at home haha! Happy Sunday!

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  4. It’s been decades since I’ve been to a theater. I like my comfort at home, with the remote and without the rabble. But I do remember, ages ago (before VCRs and DVDs) the fun of going to the theater. However, I can definitely picture you as usherette. 🙂 Happy Holidays, Dallas! May all your dreams come true in the coming year.

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  5. I lived in northern Manitoba, Canada where the temperatures were about 40 below zero whether C or F. Our theater was called the Roxy. It could be Regal’s twin with the worn red velvet and popcorn mixed with disinfectant smell. I worked in the fast food take out restaurant across the street. One night around Christmas time, I was closing up shop when flames engulfed our precious theater. It was cold that night!!! We continued to serve coffee and hot chocolate until the wee hours of the morning. Our small community reacted quickly to save our main entertainment centre. Within a few weeks the Roxy, a little singed, opened to the community. There are always special memories attached to movies. Merry Christmas – all the very best of the season to you and yours…

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  6. Loved the cinema as a child and still do. In our current location we get to see original language movies maybe 6 times a year (you’ll know all about dubbing from Turkey, yeuuch) so we wallow in those chances. Movies on demand are a life safer but the distractions are too numerous and the immersion never deep enough. The sticky carpets, seats and ice creams from the League of Gentlemen stand-ins are woefully missing too!

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    • Some of those Turkish films are pretty appalling but Ahmed is mesmerized by them and not in the least disconcerted when I am rolling around the floor laughing. Sadly, I don’t go to the numerous multiplexes these days but I do miss the old Palais

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  7. That sounds like the same movie theater we had in our town when I was a kid.
    I don’t remember wanting to be an usher though. I probably wanted to be a cowboy or possibly a soldier trying to fight off Japanese movie monsters. 🙂

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  8. Haha Dallas, memories! I never wanted to be usherette but, guess – right again! Lol I was always the Star-I.e. female lead. Drove my Mom nuts at times, especially during Grace Kelly period (but before Monacco time!!!). We all have our dreams and harmless fantasies.

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  9. Oh Dallas you brought back such good memories of my early teen years and Saturday morning movies, cheering the goodies and booing the baddies and if we got too rowdy the film would be stopped and every one would stamp their feet till it started again. Then in mid teens going with the current boyfriend and sitting in the back row and “snogging” what a terrible word for a rather nice experience, if you liked the boy that is. We had a Regal and you could’ve been describing our cinema, but being in a city there were a number to choose from, but always went to the same one as it was were we met up with the “gang”. Back then gang only meant a group of kids, not the over tones of violence it has now.
    Thanks again for this post and hope you are having a happy Christmas

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  10. You brought back fond memories of the atmospheric old theatres that we used to have! Gorgeous colonial structures that should have been saved for their architecture alone. They have all been torn down, to put up multiplexes that have none of the magic 😦

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  11. Dallas, this is brilliant! You brought back so many awesome memories that I can’t even begin to recount, because if I start I will never stop. I LOVE movies & I LOVE the cinema. As a teenagers my sister & I worked in a video store and prided ourselves on knowing EVERYTHING about EVERY movie (OK fine, not ‘everything’ & not ‘every’ movie) but you get what I mean. Beautiful post. Thank you.

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  12. How fun to play going to the cinema. I would have never thought of that. Lucky kids! … There were five of us, and mom and dad couldn’t afford to take us -or send us- to the movies. But I was in the fifth grade when The Sound of Music was showing in a grand old theater downtown. It was a majestic theater like you describe, but still in wonderful condition. Our teacher took us to see the movie for a field trip. I’ll never forget that day; it was magic. Thanks for sharing your story, and reminding me of a wonderful memory. 🙂

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    • My sister insists that I only made the kids play cinemas so that I got to live my life-long dream of being an usherette – as if! Cinemas are full of magic and that magic stays with us long after we have left the building

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