Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Friday, September 29, 2006


Movie Theaters

When we wanted to see a movie, we had to go to a movie theater. We could only choose from a few movies that were playing at the time.

There were two theaters near our house. They were named "The Varsity" and "The Tivoli." Some kids went to see a movie program every Saturday afternoon. Sometimes kids had birthday parties at the movie theater. Even Evelyn once had a movie birthday party, so this was a custom that lasted a long time.

The inside of the neighborhood movie theaters was pretty plain. The lobby had a big faded carpet, and a few glass cases of very expensive snacks. There was a big popcorn machine that tossed the popcorn around, and a soft-drink dispenser, but it wasn't fancy at all. Some kids liked popcorn, but my favorite snack at the movies was Junior Mints.

Downtown theaters showed new movies. These theaters were very, very fancy. The outsides sometimes had spotlights playing on the front. The marquee, which gave the name of the movie was also very impressive. To get to these theaters you had to take a long car ride or bus ride, so we hardly ever went to them.

Inside, the downtown theaters were like palaces. They had glass chandeliers and plush velvet seats. The lobbies where you entered had enormous staircases to go up to the balcony of the theater.
The railings were painted gold. The theater that I remember best had a small fish pond at the bottom of the stairs. Lenny reminded me that it was called "The Ambassador." It was alredy an old theater when I was a little girl. The two old postcards show the Ambassador.

Aunt Sadie took me, my cousin Marcia, Elaine, and other children to that theater to see Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland when it was a new movie. There were big cardboard cutouts of the characters standing in the lobby, but it was the fish pond that impressed me the most. Besides candy and popcorn, they sold toys and things to do with the movie. Aunt Sadie bought us each a record of some of the songs from Alice. Instead of being black, these records were bright yellow, and we played them often after we came home.

The Fox Theater in St. Louis has been restored, and this is a photo of what it now looks like inside.

I will talk about the movies that we saw another time.

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