|Ahh, Sinbad. Nightmare inducer extraordinaire.|
Needless to say, I’m hooked on them.
And have been since . . . forever.
In Milk River, we got movies twice a week.
First run movies.
Which was a real scoop for a town of 499.
My Dad told me it was because there were a limited number of prints and that the theatre owner in Milk River had been around longer than the bigwig in Lethbridge, so had seniority.
Yes. I’m sure ‘seniority’ is the word he used.
I only knew that we got all the cool movies first.
For example, when ‘Lassie Come Home’ was released, everyone in Southern Alberta came to Milk River to see it. I remember the theatre owner setting up rows of folding chairs all down the aisles and across the front.
Fire regulations were obviously in the conceptual stage in the early 60’s.
But the theatre was crammed full and everyone cried together when Lassie finally came home.
Lassie came to Lethbridge several days later.
But I digress . . .
Every Bonanza Day (Milk River’s fair day) the theatre owner would offer a free movie to everyone in the town.
Usually, it was the hit flick, ‘Santa Clause Meets the Martians’, but sometimes, he would get creative and offer, ‘The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad’.
I don’t have to tell you which I enjoyed the most.
Or which one inevitably gave me nightmares.
I think it was the scene when Sinbad, my hero, had escaped from the giant Cyclops and had pressed himself back into a tiny crevasse in a stone wall.
The Cyclops, a little piqued that his lunch would have had the temerity to run, was hunting him.
Over and over, the giant hand would reach into the shallow cave, trying to grab Sinbad, who would press himself a bit tighter back against the wall.
This time, the creature would get him!
No. This time!
I was into it.
And it didn’t seem to matter how many times I saw the picture, I still gasped and grabbed my Mom’s arm every time the huge hand reached.
At the end, with Sinbad safe once more and kissing the pretty girl, I would shiver with delight.
And that night, I’d have another nightmare.
Now my nightmares never, ever starred a gorgeous, rippling muscled Sinbad.
That would have been . . . definitely not scary.
No, my dreams inevitably starred a huge gorilla.
And he was going to eat me.
Okay, yes, I know that they don’t eat little girls, but I was four.
And they had teeth.
My gorilla would chase me through our house and finally, corner me underneath the dining room table.
I would shrink back to the far side as that hairy, dark hand reached for me.
He would move around the table and bend over, looking at me. Then he would stretch out his arm again.
I would slide to the other side of the table and stay just out of reach.
This would go on until I finally awoke, dripping with sweat and whimpering.
And still, I was the first in line when the theatre showed ‘The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad’.
I think the term ‘Glutton for Punishment’ was coined by someone who knew me.
Maybe the Gorilla.