Nellie, Arthur J, Annie, Kathy, Bobby, and Orrie had just gotten comfortable in chairs in front of the big screen TV set at Grandma Maureen and Grandpa John’s house.
The “Can Dos” were having a sleep over. They were in their pajamas and excited about watching two Disney movies when the electricity went off. The kids all cried out at once, “Oh no!“
Grandpa John came in the living room with a couple of flashlights and a big lantern. “Looks like the storm knocked out our lights and the TV,” he said.
“But what about our movies, asked Bobby. “Well,” said their grandpa, “We will just have to figure out something else to do. I know, how about I tell you what movies were like when I was your age?”
The “Can Dos” really weren’t so interested in Grandpa John telling a story about movies in the olden days, but a story beat going to bed early, so they all agreed that grandpa’s story sounded like a good idea.
“Well,” began Grandpa John, when I was your age there was no TV.” The “Can Dos” looked at him, not able to believe what they were hearing! “Nope, if we wanted to see movies, there was a special day and a special time to see movies at our local movie theater.
Every Saturday morning from September to June would find us kids waiting in line in front of our local theater. It was the only chance we had all week to see out action heroes, Flash Gordon, Gene Autry and the Lone Ranger get out of dangerous situations and save people from harm. After the action serials came two movies that were just right for kids.
About 9:30 every Saturday morning, our moms would hand us a brown paper bag with a sandwich in it for lunch, a quarter, which included money for admission to the theater, a small drink and a very small candy bar.
We would line up in front of the theater, waiting for the doors to open. While we waited we’d be laughing, telling jokes and trading lunches with our friends. Once inside the theater, usherettes with flashlights would show us to our seats and keep close watch on us during the movies.
Trouble makers were put out of the theater. There weren’t many of those; no one wanted to miss what happened to the action heroes. Besides, where would you go, if you got kicked out? If you went home, your parents would know right away that you had gotten in trouble and you wouldn’t get to go the next Saturday as a punishment.
If you just walked around town, a grownup was sure to spot you and call your parents. Plus, it was just too much fun to be at the movies with all our friends to risk having to leave because of bad behavior.
Before the movies started, the theater manager would come on the stage and ask us to stand, face the flag, which stood in the left corner of the stage, and put our hands over our hearts. Then we sang the our National Anthem and said the Pledge of Allegiance.
For five hours, kids made there way to and from their seats, to the rest rooms and the candy counter.
At 3 PM, the movies were over for another week. We left the theater content that our action heroes had saved the day once again. Some of us had hoarse voices from cheering our action heroes on and laughing at the funny movies that followed the action heroes.”
Grandpa John got quiet. The “Can Dos” could see his thoughts were far away. Bobby asked,”What made the movies so special?” Grandpa smiled,”Why watching them with my friends made them special. Not only did we have fun while we were watching the movies, but we had stuff to talk about all week, such as what our heroes had done and what would happen in the next action movie.”
Just then the lights came back on and so did the TV. Grandma Maureen came into the living room and said it was getting late; there was not enough time to watch even one of the Disney Movies.
The “Can Dos” were getting ready to beg to stay up late and watch one of the movies, when Grandpa John said, “How about we all meet outside the living room door at 10:00 AM tomorrow morning. Pick up your brown bag lunch in the kitchen before you line up outside the living room door. Be sure to bring a quarter with you to get into the movies and buy a juice and a small candy bar. You will find quarters on the kitchen table when you pick up your brown bag lunch. Remember, take only one quarter.”
Arthur J wanted to know if their would be any short, action hero movies before the Disney movies. Grandpa John smiled that knowing smile that grownups get sometimes. “You’ll have to just wait and see. Now off to bed with you!”
Grandpa John waited until the “Can Dos” were safely tucked in bed. Then he went to his special storage cabinet in the bookcase in the living room , unlocked it, and took out two DVD’s that contained his favorite action hero movies from long ago.
Grandpa John couldn’t wait to share Flash Gordon and the Lone Ranger with the “Can Dos”. He was so excited to be going to a Saturday at the movies after all these years!