I keep up with the news from my old hometown by reading the local paper on the internet. Even though it’s been over half a century since I lived there the place is still of great interest to me. One of the first things I check in the paper is the obituary column to see if any of my schoolmates have died. They are now passing at a pretty rapid clip.
The latest one to cross over the river was a guy who used to ride his horse into town to see the cowboy movies. This was even after the horse had disappeared as a common mode of transportation. He liked the cowboy movies and so did I. We had two movies in town and the one the kids liked was old and run-down but showed mainly cowboy and war movies with great serials like Superman, Captain Marvel, Flash Gordon or Nyoka the Jungle Girl. The newsreels and cartoons were also great. This theater was the home of the “B” movies but to me they were A plus. The other more upscale theater showed love stories, musicals and such that were pretty boring for a kid.
As a kid we didn’t use the term movie but called them picture shows. We never used the term theater; it was also simply called the picture show. We never knew the starting time of a feature. The times weren’t posted like they are today. We just paid nine cents for admission and would enter in the middle or end of a show. It didn’t seem to matter. I would just sit through the feature and may watch it a couple of times. It was always on a Saturday afternoon, so time didn’t matter. The other big bonus was that popcorn and a coke were a nickel each. All this was great entertainment. Stars like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Wild Bill Elliott and Johnny Mac Brown were my favorites. One time Wild Bill Elliott even came to our hometown and that was the thrill of a lifetime. To me he was much more important than the President and even our local sheriff.
I guess my grandkids will someday have a porch and think back about Harry Potter, explosions and all the great special effects. They are going to have a hard time topping my story of a schoolmate who rode his horse to the picture show.