I remember how much I love the movies. All those off-afternoons spent in the Regency Cinema on Broadway (where Ollie's is now), watching festivals with Charles Laughton, Myrna Loy, Basil Rathbone. Silent film festivals. Noir festivals. I didn't care too much for musicals, but I went to see those, too. I avoided the first-run films (those hit the Regency a few weeks late) though I did see some bad ones -- such as Fletch and Fletch Returns. I was not working those days and I liked the New Orleans scenery.
On a hot Sunday, I could spend hours at the Regency. I saw Ghostbusters II there and bumped into my hairdresser and her son who thought it was all just too silly. The bathrooms were upstairs and the popcorn was fresh and it was one of the last single-screen theatres to survive. While I am not a big fan of nostalgia, I do miss the Regency and I miss the days that went along with it.
My love of the movies goes back far beyond the days of the Regency, back to the Hi-Way and Colony Theatres on the Southwest Side of Chicago. The Hi-Way was near the store that sold Florsheim shoes for kids and the Colony was next door to Gertie's ice cream parlor. (In its last days, the Hi-Way became a porno theater and the Colony was closed down. I thought it was very cool that my grade school drama teacher had an apartment above the colony, on a corner with a rounded bay and next to Dr. Ramesh Prakash dentist, open all the time.)
All the kids in the neighborhood went to the Saturday matinees and ate gooey candy that ruined my teeth and ripped out a filling or two. (Charleston Chews were the worst. There was also a candy called 7-Up that had seven kinds of fillings in seven different compartments in one dark chocolate bar.) I saw Hard Day's Night at the Colony and later, The Way We Were. At the Hi-Way, I saw moody films such as Mary, Mary and the Trouble with Roses and was happy to see that Patricia Neal triumphed over her stroke and returned to the screen. The Hi-Way had a long, dark lobby and a long glass refreshment counter. It had more sophisticated films than the Colony, but the audiences were sparse. I guess people preferred to go to the Evergreen Cinema in the shopping center farther south. That theatre was new, bright, big and every Thursday night (for a while) they showed the complete run of Eugene O'Neill plays on film.
I need to get out more to the movies now!