Monday, November 10, 2008

In Dreams...

Stumbling about the web, I recently came across this picture; it's of the movie house, or at least the big surviving movie house, in my hometown. They say it's just been restored, but it's just how I remember it. I suppose an argument could be made that the fact that this place is a landmark in my childhood explains a lot.

My grandmother (herself a former silent-movie piano player and sometime Vaudevillian) took me to my first movie here, Mary Poppins (a reissue, darlings; I'm not quite that old). It's the first place I visited Oz and Tara, not to mention where I saw Dr. Doolittle, a film that only a child could love (I did).

Our local symphony took the stage sometime after movies abandoned our little downtown, and here I saw my first opera, a doubtless atrocious semi-staged Butterfly, and heard my first Beethoven Six and touring-mezzo-recital of songs old and new.

To your left, out the double doors and through a series of red-velvet vestibules, is the grand lobby, with a sweeping staircase up to the balcony. Grandmother took me right to the spot at the base of those stairs where, in 1934, she was introduced to Miss Lillian Gish, her lifelong idol, in town for the local screening of His Double Life (we were a small town, but we were on the trains, and people did come through).

I'm glad to know it's still there, even though most of what was once a thriving place isn't. Perhaps some boy is sitting down even now next to his grandmother (even though I bet he isn't wearing shorts with a brass-buttoned blue jacket and polished black shoes) to gawk, helpless, at some celluloid wonder...

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! How lucky you were to see them (Tara and Oz) on a big screen. I so wish our theater would do something similar, if it ever reopens.