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Saturday, June 28, 2008

"My First Visit to the Movies", by Johnnyuma

Johnnyuma, Johnnyuma's StumbleUpon Blog (and PCL contributor!)

"1966 – “Dracula – Prince of Darkness” – Colony Theatre – White Plains, New York

Talk about traumatic? God damn you Sebastian for resurrecting the demons that surround this experience! You will rot in hell and I’ll send you a bill for the therapy that is bound to ensue after recounting the tale of my first cinema experience.

Must have been the spring or summer of 1966. As I remember it, my father was taking a breather from his regular Saturday routine of slamming Ballantyne Ales, watching the Wide World of Sports and devouring jars of pickled hot peppers. Probably was weary of the demolition derby repeats. It’s my guess that selling life insurance five days a week to a bunch of suburban drones would have that effect on any self-respecting dad.
In any case, he decided that this Saturday afternoon he would break the mold. Branch out and take little Johnny to the movies. I can picture him know perusing the local newspaper and seeing the listings. Born Free, The Singing Nun, A Man for All Seasons or

Dracula: Prince of Darkness!!!

“This is a no-brainer”, I would imagine him thinking to himself. Leave the puff flicks to Mom and my little sister.
Shit, I’m game! Just turned 9 and dad is gonna take his only son to the movies. Quality time with the old man! I’m in all my glory. I’d been bugging his ass to take me to the movies for over a year to no avail.

We jump into the 1961 Chevy Impala and head off to the Colony Theatre in downtown White Plains. I’m jacked up. Dad and a “mongster” flick (always had a problem with the monster pronunciation). Dracula at that! Visions of Bela Lugosi dancing in my head messing with some unsuspecting twerp in a castle in Transylvania and coming back from the grave.

We enter the Colony. Jaysus! This place is huge. The velvet red curtains. The ornate ceiling design. The ushers in frickin tuxes. The smell of fresh popcorn and real butter.

I distinctly remember the feeling of sitting my skinny ass into that plush velvet seat and watching the curtains unfold as the movie was about to start. Better than any subsequent chemically induced rush. Magic.

Music rolls, lights dim and credits roll. “Christopher Lee as Dracula”. Wait a second. Where the fuck is Bela Lugosi? What is this shit?

Right out of the gate I know I’m in a deep night terror shitbox.

Ninety minutes later I’m a fucking mess. Spikes driven into the hearts of Dracula’s ever-increasing harem. Technicolor blood spurting from gaping wounds to the heart! Live burials. Limbs severed. No Bela!

The fight that ensued upon arriving home was epic. Mom was hysterical and supremely pissed off. Her only son was refusing to go to the bathroom without a string of garlic around his neck and insisting that every door in the home be opened in five-minute intervals to check for Chris Lee’s presence. I don’t believe I slept for a week.

It was only a matter of time before Dad flew the coop. Gone. In my naïve mind it was the Hammer Films blood fest that was the root cause. In reality it was most likely the blond at the local pharmacy but I didn’t figure that shit out until much later in life.

In any event, I will now commence to digest massive quantities of alcohol and drugs to forget this shit. The therapy bill is forthcoming, Sebastian. Thanks for the memories"


Note: Click label: "My First Visit to the Movies", to read more first-movie-stories.