As a 10-year old, my dream job was to be a movie usher. I loved buying a ticket and being captive for two hours to a story that would transport me to another time and place. Ushering would put me as close as I could possibly get to celluloid, without moving to Hollywood, of course. I didn't let other people's availability affect my moviegoing habits. Since seeing "Raiders of the Lost Ark" on my own in 1981, I was more than accustomed to going to a show on my own.
I would typically go to Snyder Drug beforehand to get some candy to chew on during the movie; in most cases, it would be SweeTarts or Tart & Tinys. I made sure to get to the theatre a good half hour before showtime in order to ensure getting my favorite seat (located on the side in the back row). At the time, Winona's theatre consisted of 4 screens. To the right of the ticket counter, a poster for a movie that was yet to come was always posted. On many occasions, I would smile looking at it, usually a sequel that I wasn't aware was on its way.
I was never big on popcorn, so skipped the concession stand. Once in a great while, I would play Centipede. It never lasted long, though, as I wasn't very good at it. After going to the bathroom, I would pick up a brochure called Movie Facts, a publication still in existence; it was seeing it at the theatre last week that compelled this post.
Browsing it gave me something to do while waiting for the show to start. Reading the list of movies with short synopsis, I was apprised of what was on the horizon. Next, I looked at the celebrity profiles. Hopefully, by then, there were a number of people in the theatre. Back then, there was no before-show commercials, just silence which was gradually erased as more people arrived.
Sometimes I would be disappointed at the paucity of people who showed for an opening night presentation. On other evenings, the place was so crowded that I had to bear someone sitting next to me. Of course, when a relatively young woman sat at my side, I wasn't quite as bothered. I wouldn't start in on the candy until the movie started or, if I was itching for it, then the previews.
In the late 80's, two attractive girls in the class behind me worked at the ticket counter. One of the girls had sat in front of me in Algebra class. One afternoon, before class, sitting at my desk, she walked in and sang, "Hey Good Lookin, Whatcha got cookin, How about cooking something up for me...." I smiled, but always wondered if she'd been talking about me or some radical dude she'd met the night before.