Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



All of My Friends

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Paltry Sum

A few days ago, Husby and I went to a movie. 

We enjoyed it.
And we got in for the price of $25.00 for the two of us.
And that included two drinks, and a bag of popcorn to share.
Bargain.
And as he was swiping his debit card, I was remembering another theatre experience.
In another time.
For the paltry sum of fifty cents . . .

Fifty cents used to be a lot of money.

And gave you the ability to do amazing things.
Let me explain . . .
Saturday.
That wonderful day of the week when one didn't have to dive frantically from their beds, feverishly dash through a morning routine, and drive frantically to catch the school bus.
No.
On Saturday, one could leisurely climb out of bed.
Enjoy a healthy breakfast.
And spend the morning . . . diverting.
Okay, well I don't know about the rest of the family (ie. Mom . . . and everyone else), but could.
And the best part of Saturday?
Talking Dad into taking me and my siblings into town for the movies.
Remember, we lived twenty miles away.
On sketchy 'gravelled' roads.
Sometimes, it took a great deal of talking.
On the days we were successful, he would pull up to the theatre, hand each of us fifty cents, and wave as we scrambled for the door.
The smell of freshly popped and popping corn would wash over me the instant I stepped inside. Clutching my money, I made a dash for the admissions counter and handed over half of my precious coins.
Then I took up a post in front of the all-important concession and eyed the limitless possibilities.
After several moments of tempting myself with mouth-watering indecision, I made my choice.
Inevitably, Grape Crush and a bag of popcorn.
With a nickle for a package of red licorice.
Then, clutching my booty and my ticket, I would approach that magical doorway to infinite worlds and possibilities.
The door-keeper would tear my precious ticket in half with a grin and an, “Enjoy the show!” and I was inside.
The curtains, deep green velvet, would be tightly closed, hiding the magic behind them.
Reverently, eyes glued to them, I would slowly make my way down the sloping, creaking wooden floor to my chosen seat.
Somewhere near the front.
Preferably in the first two rows.
Then, one hand stuffing popcorn into my mouth, and the other clutching my precious bottle of pop, I would settle back.
Waiting for the magic.
Waiting to be transported to another place and time.
Suddenly, the house lights would dim and a bright beam would shoot through the air and snare the green curtains in a noose of light.
They would slowly begin to part.
I should mention here that, for years, I thought that the thick, heavy curtains actually became opaque.
And that the beam of light was shining through them from the back.
Yeah. So, Einstein, I wasn't.
Moving on . . .
For the next two hours, I was somewhere else.
Watching the lives and/or exploits of someone else.
It was magic.
Occasionally, reality would intrude for precious seconds.
Especially if the projectionist was a bit slow in starting the second and/or third reels.
But mostly, my immersion was happy and complete.
Another world.
Another time.
Another life.
Complete with yummy snacks.
All opened to me for the paltry sum of fifty cents.

17 comments:

  1. Oh, how I wish prices were like that again!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My earliest movie memories are of the local drive-in theatre. Similar, but different! Parents in the front seat of the car, my brother and I in the back, in our pajamas. The food ads at the intermission between movies, with dancing and singing hot dogs and pop and paper cups of popcorn - who could resist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I SO remember those ads. They never changed from the time I was a little girl until the time they closed the last of the drive-ins here in Edmonton ten or so years ago. We took our kids once. Couldn't see the first half of the first movie and the last half of the last movie because of the notoriously short summer nights. What a great memory!

      Delete
  3. And some day your kids will be telling their kids that back in the day you could go to the movies for a mere $25.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, so true, Karen! And their kids will say, "Wow, I wish they had those prices today!"

      Delete
  4. Fro me it was $.25 cents; yup, I am that old. For my mother it was a dime. You described it all perfectly and the memories rolled on.
    Blessings and hugs for this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Daddy told me about paying a nickel for the 'Nickelodeon'. Ha! That's where the word came from!

      Delete
  5. A movie theater is a wonderful place! My parents used to take us to the drive in too - in our pj's and with sleeping bags in the back. I can't believe you can see a movie and have snacks for $25 where you live!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I miss the drive-in! We have to get a coupon from Costco, but yeah - $25.00! Check out your Costco!

      Delete
  6. Those were they day! Another great memory. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope it triggered memories for you, Mary!

      Delete
  7. When I first started going to the Saturday afternoon movies, we didn't have dollars and cents yet, so I would go with 2 shillings. Ignoring inflation, that is equal to about 20 cents. A ticket was one shilling and for that we got a newsreel, a movie, a cartoon, an episode of a serial, then a second movie. so we'd be out of our parents hair for an entire afternoon. The remaining shilling was spent on snacks, but soon enough the prices went up and we'd need an extra sixpence for the ticket and extra for snacks.
    Prices skyrocketed when we converted to dollars and cents.
    But I loved sitting there in the dark and watching the red velvet curtains opening, then pretending I was the heroine.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I haven't been to a movie in ages but you make it sound so magical again! I'm dying to see the new movie WILD. I read the book and became obsessed with hiking because of it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think a mathematician invented inflation - something to keep challenging our math skills by adding more and more digits!

    ReplyDelete

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