Going to the movies always seems to be the default answer to the question, “what do you want to do?” and while movies might not always be worth the price of admission they are always there. You can debate the quality of the individual films you see but not the improvements to the motion pictures and the way we see them. Eighty five years ago sound was added and the changes to the movies have never stopped—color, wide screen, digital projection, 3-D, Dolby sound and cup holders.
All big changes but probably the biggest change has been with the movie patrons themselves. Now we scour the internet for movie listings, synopses, casts, reviews and show times and then drive to multiscreen facilities showing 10-15 movies where we may pay around $20 for two tickets (plus a surcharge if it is a 3-D feature) and another $20 for popcorn and drinks. Moviegoers used to just go see whatever happened to be playing at the local theater that week.
“What’s at the Mercury?”
“Some western and another movie, I can’t remember.”
Out the door and off to the movies because you didn’t have to check the time and maybe you didn’t even care what was playing.
“Two please” and in you would go. Give the ticket taker your ticket, step up to the refreshment stand for two boxes of popcorn (Absolutely no gum or drinks allowed in the theater—the mgmt.) and walk into the dark theater.
The second feature on the screen? Maybe. A cartoon on the screen? Maybe. A newsreel on the screen? Maybe. Coming attractions on the screen? Maybe. The main feature in progress on the screen? Maybe.
“Look out Bob, behind you” the leading lady screamed as the hero was about to be jumped by the bad guys. Oh, the main feature is playing and into the 10th row you would creep, “excuse me, sorry, excuse me”.
The movie plays on and you may or may not be able to figure out what is happening on the screen, then the second feature, the newsreel, the cartoon, the coming attractions before the main feature comes on again. You would sit there watching and watching until, “Look out Bob, behind you”. With that you would turn to each other and say, “I think this is where we came in” and get up. “Excuse me, sorry, excuse me” and you’re out the door and the story in the movie all made sense.
You had a pretty good idea when the last feature at the theater would start, you knew you had time to see everything and so you would just go to the show and jump into the movie at any point watching until the story came around again. Netflix and cable channels make a big deal about movies on demand like it’s something new. See movies when you want to see them. Now they do it with their TV, then they did it at the local theater. It made it pretty easy to decide the answer to the question, “what do you want to do?”—-wait, I think this is where we came in.