Saturday 7 August 2010

The Forgotten Cinema

I gave them a lot of good times over the years. I gave them laughs, I gave them tears, I gave them hope. When I first opened my doors, people would wear their best suits, they would save them for the cinema. People would come from all over to see me. They'd sit down in the comfortable chairs with hundreds of their closest friends and I would invite Jimmy Stewart and Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn and many others over to tell them all stories. Reel after reel of wonderful stories, night after night.

I'd like to think I gave them hope, I'd make them dream. I'd take them on a brief encounter, I'd take them on the road to Bali, we'd visit Casablanca, get stories from Philadelphia and sometimes from as near as the shop around the corner.

As the years passed, it became less like an event and more like fun. It was hard to adapt but eventually I did. Popcorn was eaten, girls were kissed and sharks attacked. The new audience was younger, harder to please, and louder - but I loved them and they loved me. We went on a Space Odyssey, had Close Encounters and various other crimes & misdemeanors. Everyone knew me and everyone wanted to spend time with me. I always had a full house in the evenings, that's why I never got lonely and why everyone always had beaming smiles.

And then someone in the blackest suit I've ever seen said "why only show one film when you could show three?" He made plans to chop me up into three. Then he made plans to chop me up into seven. I stayed strong, no way; this is just me, on my own, with my friends.. my friends who have been with me since the beginning.

But then my friends started wanting more. More types of popcorn, more movies, bigger movies, bigger sound. I chased after my friends, trying to do what they wanted. Instead they got in their new cars and flew down the road to meet shiny new friends, who watched films on shiny new screens. Before I knew it, everyone had left me.

The nights were quiet. Occasionally old friends would visit. I tried taking them back to Casablanca, I tried giving them all the new pulp fiction but they didn't come anymore. Nobody wanted me.

And then more men in even darker suits came by and said maybe they would cut me up and reshape me and change who I am. They talked and talked and eventually they left and didn't come back anymore. Nobody came back anymore. I tried and I tried. I did everything I knew how to do -- I gave them funny people and gangsters and beautiful women and aliens, but nobody wanted my stories anymore.

I closed my doors, long before I wanted to. We locked up and bolted down. Nobody came by, nobody asked for me.

And now, some men with big smiling faces and tiny shiny devices they talk into have an idea about turning me into a supermarket or row of housing. I looked around one last time in the hope that someone would remember me. Maybe someone would rescue me. They didn't.

Stories were told, dreams were fed and life was lived, but that was a long, long time ago. The world has changed, as have the people.

Care to share?


  1. that theater sounds great. when you talked about them cutting you into seven pieces, i couldn't help but think of harry potter. and voldemort haha.

  2. Hi adri, I don't get the Potter reference-- why does it remind you of them? intriguing..

  3. Didn't Gone With the Wind run for a year? Talk about taking up theater space. I wonder how many times people saw it?

    Finding out your readers' formative theater/theatre experiences could be interesting.

  4. Thank you for a great post.

    When I was a kid there were at least four cinemas along the main street in my town. Now there are none.

    It's not that I blame them. New technology causes a need for new equipment and other design of the actual room. And it was biiig rooms, never to be filled anymore.

    I don't like going to the cinema anymore. Those old cinemas was special, I liked those, but still I want that sound, that good image, and a good view of it in a modern comfortable chair.

    But those new cinemas they tend to be filled with people spilling their soft drinks on the floor, leaving popcorn and garbage everywhere and while watching they think it is okay to have their cellphones on.

    The last movie I saw was "Return of the King" and behind me was a mother translating the movie for her child. I heard every word she said.