Monday, April 7, 2014

Part Twelve: Saturday Matinees or How I Learned to Love Dubbed Japanese Monster Movies (Phew)

As I stated in his first post, once weekly I plan to feature a guest writer, my husband. Since we have no children, he has been painstakingly writing down the stories of his childhood to share them with his then 9 year old niece. I wanted her to know what kind of childhood her beloved Uncle was able to enjoy. While enjoying them myself I thought these are so much fun to read, why not share them? So here are the short missives of his memories of growing up in wilds of Florida during the 1950's and 1960's. They're packed with misadventures, romance, and all the confusing things that can happen in our youth. Even though his hometown of Jacksonville is a big city with over a million residents now, during his childhood it was several small communities surrounded by countryside.

This is his story.

(Please note: None of the photos in this post are from our files. They are all from the internet.)

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Saturday Matinees or How I Learned to Love Dubbed Japanese Monster Movies (Phew)
by Steven R. Hudson

There is only so much fun that three boys can have on hot summer days. The Mealer boys and I had picked the last of the season's Blackberries. We had caught Water Snakes and tadpoles down at the creek and gone skinny dipping with the other neighborhood boys at the forest pond. A new drainage canal had being dug through the woods behind Center Park and we had rolled down the giant earth mounds left by the excavation machines as we played "King of the Mountain",  coming home so dirty that I was made to strip off my shorts and wash down with a garden hose before being allowed inside. We needed a new activity and our moms came through for us.

I guess moms need a break from the tedium of housework and child care and what better way than to drop off your kids at the Arlington Theater for a Saturday matinee triple feature. While the kids enjoy the movies, mom can shop to her heart's content at Woolworths without having to listen to the whinings of bored children.

So Saturday became movie day that summer. Our moms would drop us off at the little theater on Arlington Road, a dollar bill in our pockets. Admission was only 25 cents which left enough for a large Coke, popcorn and a candy bar. Ike was president and things were cheap in 1959 and '60. Corny science fiction and cheesy monster movies were the common fare at these kid centered matinees with a weekly serial western thrown in to keep you coming back for more. The marquee showed the day's exciting lineup. "Mole People", "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms", "Earth Versus Flying Saucers", "The Blob", but my favorites were the Japanese flicks like "Mothra", "Rodan" and "Godzilla". The dubbing in the Asian movies was always entertaining in itself, the mix of Japanese names and dubbed American voices and slang, "Wow Ichimura, that was a close call man".

The matinee I best remember is the one we never got to see, the one I named the "Raisinets Incident". The incident started innocently enough. We paid our
admission and headed straight for the snack bar as we always did. We had each bought a box of chocolate covered raisins called Raisinets along with our staples, Cokes and popcorn. It was not long into the first feature when one of us said something (can't remember who) funny and that started us giggling which, strangely enough led to us tossing Raisinets at one another. Suddenly a low voice behind us said, "You three boys come with me." Busted! We were thrown out on the street and into the summer heat. It would be many hours before our moms would be by to pick us up. We wandered up and down the sidewalk, gazed into store fronts and killed the time as best we could. After a time that seemed like eternity our moms finally came to take us home. "How was the movie" they asked. "It was pretty good" we answered.

2 comments:

Carol B. said...

Another great story.... I love it. It brings back several of my own memories about Sat. afternoon matinee. However, being a bunch of girls, we never got kicked out. We were just told to quiet the giggling, which was brought on by the cute boys sitting a couple rows behind us. Fun times.

Blackberry Lane said...

John has similar memories of going to the movies with his brothers growing up in Detroit. My little town did not have a theater! So cute about getting busted throwing the candy. Woolworth's was my mom's fav place to shop also when we would travel to Atlanta!