“Let’s go to the movies.  Let’s go see the stars.  Fred and Ginger spinning madly……Anything you can imagine….Songs and romance.  Life is the dance.  Sitting in the darkness, popcorn on your knee!  Give the maid the night off!  Turn the kitchen light off!   Let's go to the movies, Annie, you and me!”  (Lyrics from the song, “Let’s Go to the Movies” from the movie, “Annie.”  Really?  You didn’t recognize it?  You don’t get out much, do you?)

This is the song that was going through my head as I considered a trip to our local theater.  It’s an old theater, built in 1910, and it is A theater.  They show one movie a week on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 8:00 PM.  That’s it.  Take it or leave it.

Today, we decided to take it.  I mean, why not?  We haven’t had much time to see our sweet little town, and I decided that tonight was as good as any.   I talked it over with Mr. E, and we decided we would take the kids to see “Despicable Me 2.”  Family entertainment at its best.

Our High Springs movie-going experience started with a trip to town earlier today to get the tickets.  The Beetle went with me.  I’m pretty sure we passed Marty McFly in his DeLorean on our way into town. (If you don’t get THAT movie reference, it might be time to get out a little more.)  I had to go to a hardware store on Main Street.  I was not alive in the 1950s, but I would imagine this was what stores looked like back then.  I would also imagine this store had not been cleaned since then.

The Beetle and I walked in, and as he admired the deer heads hanging on the wall, I walked toward the register area where there were 4 people staring at me.  I asked for tickets to the movie.  The matter-of-fact woman behind the cash register said, “How many?”  I asked for 4, and she said it would be $20.  I pulled out my Visa debit card, and she raised an eyebrow.  “We don’t take credit cards.  We take cash or checks.”  Yes, indeed, 1956.  Miracle of miracles, I had just put $20 in my wallet yesterday, so I gave it to her.  It’s a good thing I had put money in there, because my checkbook has been missing in action since we moved in April.  Does anyone actually write checks anymore?  Apparently they do, and they live in High Springs, Florida.

The cashier gave me our tickets, and I almost started laughing.  I managed to hold it in until I got outside.  I don’t know what I was expecting for a movie theater ticket, but this was not it.

So, the Beetle and I headed home so I could finish working before time for the movie.  The family decided to make an evening of it, so we headed out to have supper at our favorite burger joint.  This place only has outdoor dining, and they aren’t what I would call friendly.  We made it there at 6:58, not realizing that they closed at 7:00.  We were the last in line before they started sending everyone else away with, “We’re closed.”  They didn’t even apologize.  Apparently, they have not heard the rule that everyone in High Springs is friendly.

After our burgers, we headed over to the theater to get our seats.  We got there at 7:30 for an 8:00 show.  The Beetle was laughing at me for getting us there that early, because he said there would probably be only 3 people in the whole theater.  Boy, was he wrong!  The place was already hopping, and we were at risk of not getting good seats.  We walked into the lobby and saw this:

Mr. E patiently waited to get a photo for me, but these people just wouldn't move!
I was excited.  This looked like a cool old building, and the actual theater should be just as interesting.  It turned out to be interesting, but not necessarily in a good way.

The theater had apparently not been fully restored yet.  It had 2’x 4’ frames holding up the lights and speakers.  Surround sound was definitely not an option.  Besides that, we quickly discovered that the theory about Americans getting fatter and fatter was true.  I think we are getting taller too.  The little girl in front of us moved the wrong way, and her arm rest fell onto the floor.  I’m pretty sure the website had described the theater as, “Charming.”

As we walked through the archway to enter the theater, I felt like I was going to hit my head on the ceiling.  Men taller than Mr. E had to duck to get through.  It felt like the walls were closing in on us.  We got into the theater and found seats together.  We sat down, and the Beetle immediately turned around and looked back.  “What?”  I asked.  “Where is the head rest?” he said.  “About 50 years in the future,” was my answer.

After we waited for a while, Mr. E and I went to get drinks and popcorn.  When we came back, I handed the Beetle his popcorn as I stepped over him to sit down.  He insisted on having the aisle seat, so I made sure to step on his foot as I went. (We’ll call that “learning by natural consequence.”)  As I sat down, I noticed that the Beetle was looking all around his seat and underneath.  I asked him what he was looking for.  “Where are the cup holders?”  he said.  “With the head rests.”  This movie was getting better and better by the minute.

For the hour and 40 minute movie, I sat straight up and down, unable to cross my legs, unable to stretch my legs, unable to lean my head back, unable to move.  I had my purse on my lap and my bottled water on my lap and the popcorn on my lap.  It was so comfortable.  About half way into the movie, my legs and rear end went numb, so it was a little better.  About 15 minutes into the movie, the Beetle declared that he could not feel his feet.  He is such a good sport and is not one to complain.

Very quickly as the movie started, I realized that I did not have the same sense of humor as the town of High Springs.  Kids and grown ups were laughing hysterically at things that brought possibly a small grin to my face.  They must not get out much.  I’ll bet they had never heard of Marty McFly either.

The one line in the entire movie that made me laugh was apparently lost on everyone else, because I laughed loudly, and I was the only one who did.  Mr. Everything just looked at me.  I shrugged.  

I'm not saying the movie was bad.  It was a kids' movie.  It was typical.  I knew what I was getting myself into, and I was right.  I would recommend it, if you have kids.

The lady behind us did not have kids with her, and she thought the entire movie was hilarious.  In fact, she thought it was so funny that she had apparently seen it several times.  That way, she could tell her friend what was coming next.  “Oh, look, this is the good part…” she would say, and then she would talk along with the characters.  Each line was followed with a laugh that was indescribable.  The best way  I can explain it is that it was a, “hehehehehe, HA HA!”  Over and over and over.

Now, keep in mind that, before the movie had started, the Beetle was just about done.  He had no cup holder.  He had no head rest.  He was sitting much too close to me for comfort.  The child needs his personal space, you know.  So, when the lady started with her laughing and quoting, he was ready to go.  Each time she would laugh or talk, he would jerk his head in my direction and just stare at me with a smile on his face.  From this, I got tickled, and we both would end up laughing.  Mr. E thought we were really enjoying the movie.  We were, but not for the reasons he thought.

As though this was not bad enough, there was a character in the movie who reminded the Beetle and me of a family member.  I can’t say which character or which family member, because someone would end up not speaking to us.  Each time this character would appear on screen, the Beetle and I would start laughing again.  Then the lady behind us would quote something, and we would laugh louder.  We had a good time, even if it wasn’t because of the movie.

So, all in all, our first family trip to the local theater was a success.  I’m pretty sure I could say, “First and Last,” though, because the Beetle has already vowed, “Never again!”  He started saying that as soon as he finished unfolding his legs and prying himself out of the seat.  The Goose had a great time, because she was not by the Beetle.  Maybe this theater can be a daddy and daughter date place in the future.  Meanwhile, the Beetle and I will stay home and enjoy our soft, cushy couch and the end tables to hold our cups.   -Al



Your Father
08/05/2013 5:39am

Good story kiddo. Reminds me of an old theatre in Greenville where they would hand you 3 sticks when you bought your ticket. "What are the 3 sticks for" you would ask. Well, one is to hold up your seat, one is to kill the rats, and the other is to beat back the wino's that show up. Except in your case, it could have been to beat back the locals.
One thing you can be thankful of is that I wasn't there to enjoy the lady behind you. You know how I love commentary from other folks during a movie. I can just see the Beetle losing it.

08/05/2013 4:40pm

I'm pretty sure you would've had to break a 45 record of "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To" over her head.

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06/26/2016 8:11am

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Of course, eating popcorn in the movie theater is something many enjoy. The smell of the food, the sounds from the arcade, the sweet taste of a cold soda, the greasy feeling of butter on one's popcorn, and the movie itself are just a few of the things that will manipulate one's senses. The lines may irk a person, but once they are inside it is well worth it. The theater is a happening place to be for people of all ages. Enjoy and have a good night!

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