It’s Saturday … Let’s Go To A Matinee!I

Capitol Theater

In the 50’s, my hometown’s movie theater had regular Saturday afternoon matinees. These matinees were for the town’s kids, and parents were glad let their children walk to the Capitol Theater. In fact, some parents were so happy to have time alone that they frequently drove their kids there.

Most, if not all of these matinees, were westerns, starring heroes like, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans, Gene Autrey, Hopalong Cassidy, the Cisco Kid (Duncan Renaldo) and the Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore). Each had his special horse. To be socially accurate, Dale Evans had her own special horse. Remember “Trigger,” “Topper,” “Champion,” “Buttermilk,” and “Silver?” Can you match those horses to their respective owners?

There were other sidekicks who regularly showed up in these movies. Of all these, “Tonto,” (Jay Silverheels) was probably the most famous, kemosabe! Remember “Gabby” Hayes? He drove a jeep named, “Nellybelle.” What about “Smiley” Burnette,” and “Pancho” (Leo Carillo)?

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Before the featured western, the kids learned the news, courtesy of Universal City Studios. Twice a week, the Universal Newsreel was released. Each Newsreel contained six or seven short stories, usually one to two minutes in length, covering world events, politics, sports, fashion, and whatever else might entertain the movie audience. It was the time when motion pictures defined our culture and were a primary source of visual news reporting.

Newsreel

One of the big highlights of the matinee always was the cartoon. Our cartoons would probably be deemed unacceptable in today’s environment, but they were certainly funny when we watched them.l_thatsallfolksne-LG

When the matinee ended, it was time to go back outside and be blinded by the sunny day.

As an aside, in 2013, Disney Movies brought out a Lone Ranger sequel. That movie had some big Hollywood talent.  It was a complete bomb and rated poorly by nearly everyone.  The reviewers obviously hadn’t been fortunate enough, like we were, to have seen the original Lone Ranger movies.  I will admit, the movie has its boring moments, but when this new Lone Ranger saves the day, just like he used to in the good old days, while the William Tell Overture played loudly, I was laughing so hard that I had tears in my eyes.  It’s a must see, in my opinion!!!!!

6 thoughts on “It’s Saturday … Let’s Go To A Matinee!I

  1. What about my personal favorite —Lash Larue??? That’s from Pete! Enjoying all your updates & learning all about my past—And really remembering lots of good things!
    Keep up the good work
    Barb

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  2. How I remember those days. Standing in line waiting to pay my dime to get in to the matinee. I remember working at the theater for several years, taking tickets, changing the marquee. Days long gone, but never forgotten.

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  3. Every week one of the Riverside Rat moms would take a gang of us to the matinee and we would need 50 cents to get through the afternoon. We paid 10 cents for a ticket, 20 cents at the concession stand, 10 cents for a comic book after the show and then 10 cents for a Coke at the drug store. We had a code to let the mom in charge to get ready to come for us and that we were going in for our Cokes and the code was to call, let the phone ring three times and then hang up to have the dime for the Coke.

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  4. We also were given a little ticket as we entered the theater. Then during the news there would be a raffle or a race onscreen. If you had the winning number you won a prize. And always double features. And the movie theaters were really huge and beautiful. So few are left anywhere, but notably here in NYC we have The Ziegfeld, at least for the moment.

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