I remember the carpet running down the aisle between the rich, velvety seats. Buttery popcorn wafted through the air. Heavy drapes in the front. The excitement – I felt a little ill from it. An arm around me – Mom’s? Dad’s? I couldn’t say now.
This memory blends with others, distorted through the eyes of a four year old, and through the years. But those things I’m sure of. It was the first time I saw a movie, I think, and I’m pretty sure it was Peter Pan. Images from the theater, confusion as to what was real and what was movie, and my thoughts all jumbled together to turn up again and again in my dreams as a child, and still are recognizable now and then even today.
The theatre was dark; they’d not turned on the house lights between shows. Nobody else was there yet, it was just the four of us. The scent of popcorn wafted, as Leif and Kate headed to find seats, while I convinced Cameron to stay put instead of darting back out the door. “Wait. Let your eyes get used to it. See? Chairs. There’s the screen. It’s okay.” Popcorn crunched underfoot, a few kernels, on the patterned carpet. Cameron’s seat, when we got there, squeaked as he sat down. The bass next door throbbed, unsettling Cameron a bit. Then, excitement! Ads! A new Madagascar movie is coming! Finally, Tin Tin started. Cameron didn’t know what to do, but his eyes were glued to the screen.
I’m scared Mama, he wailed above the dialogue and music, grabbing at me.
Well, what do you think is going to happen?
The bad guys! They’re gonna get Tin Tin!
Yes, you’re right, they probably will. But Tin Tin is the main character. He’s the important guy here. Don’t you think he’ll get away okay? See, here they are, you’re right. Ooop, yup, ouch. They got him alright. It’s okay, watch and see, I wonder how he’ll get away from them. Ooh, they have him in a cage. This’ll be tricky. But he’ll get away, I just know it.
There were scary parts for him indeed. But overall, there was enough of his favourite things to keep him quite happy.
Floating airplanes, pirate ships, canons, motorcycles, treasure hunts! Even a tank! But he’s still asking me why all the glass broke when the lady was singing.
Themes and scenes from Tin Tin are sneaking into his dreams, from what he’s told me, and into his play. I have to wonder if he’ll still be dreaming about it as an adult. I love the idea that this experience might stay with him!
So, is anyone reading? Still have me in your feed? If so, what was your first movie that you remember seeing? What was the experience like?