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Before television there were the movies

By Staff | Mar 11, 2011

It looks like spring is about to spring. Wake up, my friends. The long hibernation is over.

The Oscar show came and went, and I must say, I was happy with the winner, “The King’s Speech.” Of course, out of all those movies, it’s the only one I have seen.

I started going to movies even before I started school. The first movie I saw was a movie called “Bambi.” It was an animated movie by Disney that came out in 1942. I saw the movie in 1947 when I was five. Even today the movie still turns up every now and then.

My mother took me to movies at least every other week. She loved movies and was fond of an actress named Judy Holliday. She saw “Born Yesterday” at lest four times because Holliday was in it. She also liked William Holden.

As time moved on, I started to go to the Saturday matinees, which usually started with coming attractions.

There would be a serial, which was a movie that was divided into chapters, usually 13 to 16 chapters which meant it took 13 to 16 weeks to see the whole movie. A good example of this is 1951’s “Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere.” This movie was a look at the future of space travel.

Next would come the cartoon. The two that were shown the most were Bugs Bunny and my favorite, the Road Runner. The Coyote could never quite catch the very fast Road Runner.

Then there would be a break so that you could refill the popcorn box or buy another Coke. Then the main feature would start.

Of course, it was a western. It starred Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys, and his horse Trigger, or Gene Autry and his famous horse Champion. Some weeks it was Hopalong Cassidy and his horse Topper. The second movie was also a western starring cowboy actors such as Johnny Mack Brown and Buster Crabbe.

I remember that the first CinemaScope movie was called “The Robe” and was about Romans who became part of the Christian movement. CinemaScope lasted from 1953 to 1967, when VistaVision took over how movies were shot.

Back in the 1950s the 3-D movies started to come out. “It Came from Outer Space” was one of the best films of the sci-fi era. You needed 3-D glasses to see the movie. The glasses had a red and a blue lenses.

A couple of other science-fiction movies that I liked that were not 3-D were “Tarantula” and “It Came from Beneath the Sea.”

The use of 3-D in film did not last but it never disappeared entirely. Today’s technology has far surpassed that of the 1950s, and many 3-D movies are now shown on huge screens at a number of IMAX theaters.

These days I wait for movies to hit the DVD circuit. I then wait until they go on sale, and then I buy a movie I want to see.

It’s fun. I nuke my own popcorn, and I drink a Diet Coke with no caffeine. All together movie popcorn and Coke cost about $6 or less.

It still doesn’t beat the price I paid to see my first movie, “Bambi” – 15 cents for the ticket, 10 cents for the popcorn and 5 cents for a cup of Coke full of ice.

Those were the days.