Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: It Wasn’t That Hard

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. While I remember going to movies before this with family, it is this one which represents my earliest independent memory of watching a film. That is, I went to see something which I alone wanted to watch — and entirely without parental or family involvement.


Theatre

The Huntington Park Warner Theatre:


Movie

Time

August 1964: my earliest movie memories were going to the drive-in with my mom and dad when I was a toddler. Later, my mother’s sisters and brother would take me during my childhood (I guess any kid sitting, no matter if it was in a dark theater with strangers all about, was a good thing). Even later, during that more innocent era, alone or with friends, we would strike out on our own to see movies situated 2-3 miles away. Usually, by walking or via bus.

But, it was a different period here in Los Angeles back then. We were living in the blue-collar suburb of South Gate. Typically, we’d head over to the rival city of Huntington Park to take in flicks at their theaters on Pacific boulevard (their commercial drag was way better, compared to S.G.’s). We’d watch the movies at the Park, the California, and the Warner theaters. The grand lady of them, though, was the Huntington Park Warner. It was one of the classic examples of the Art Deco movie palaces strewn about the country from 1925 through the 1940’s.

I still can recollect fondly taking the bus to the theatre and sitting in the darkened hall to watch this film. Although I’d heard songs on the radio by the Fab Four beforehand, it was this movie, A Hard Day’s Night (and song) that first struck and mesmerized me. And I’m still within its impact. Not only did that triumphant strum ofguitar, bass, and piano herald the opening of the film, it opened a pop era for me. My 10 (going on 11)-year old eyes and ears uncorked to the possibilities of what film and music could bring. This one cemented my admiration of the lads in ’64, and it’s lasted through to this day.


The entire TMT series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.

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19 Responses to “TMT: It Wasn’t That Hard”

  1. Naomi Johnson

    Ahhh. You knew you’d get me with this one. I didn’t get to see AHDN until it was on its second run. It never played at the theater where I might have been allowed to go on my own, so I had to wait until my older sister would take me. In the meantime SHE had seen the movie several times with her friends, meaning I wasn’t allowed to tag along. But at last I finally got to see it. And I begged to see it again. In those days you could stay in the theater and watch the movie a second time, so we did.

    Good memories. Great movie.

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    • le0pard13

      That’s a fantastic memory, Naomi! I think a film and a moment that AHDN brought with it had that affect on those exposed to the film at that point. I’m sure you, your sister, and I weren’t the only ones who felt this. I’m so glad you could share that, Naomi. Thank you very much.

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  2. Kevin (Col Mortimer)

    Wow, so cool, thanks for sharing, as someone who wasn’t born until 6 years after the release of Let it Be, I always love hearing story from the actual era.

    Funny enough, my Grandma worked concessions at an arena in Detroit when the Beatles toured and actually was slinging cokes to rowdy crowds during their performance, much to the embarassment of my aunts who attended the show. Of course my Lawrence Welk worshipping Grandma thought they were just all a bunch of noise!

    I saw A Hard Day’s Night theatrically about ten or so years ago, and it still invokes a powerful and ecstatic reaction.

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    • le0pard13

      I think that is awesome, Kevin. Your grandmother worked at a venue The Beatles played?!? Wow. Okay, that must mean she worked either (or both) the ’64 or ’66 tour stops in Detroit. I. Am. Envious. The Lads played play locally in ’64, ’65 (Hollywood Bowl), and ’66 (Dodger Stadium), and I didn’t attend any :-(.

      I’m really glad to hear you were able to take in AHDN in a theater and had a similar reaction to it. Thanks for adding to this.

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  3. rtm

    I love these ‘walking down memory lane’ posts! Again I admire your amazing memory, it’s cool that you include photos of them, too. Sorry I haven’t seen AHDN but my friend Vince posted a guest review of it a while ago. Btw, I think theaters back then are so much more artsy looking, I miss the day when there is a curtain and it’d open as the movie is playing. Now of course we’ve got all kinds of ads to watch whilst waiting for the movie to play.

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    • le0pard13

      Very kind of you to say, Ruth. AHDN remains one unique motion picture. It works as a story and a slice of music history, and I do recommend it. I’m with you regarding the old movie halls. I used to work as a projectionist during my college days and remember those days so well, along with drawing back those curtains. Great times. Thank you very much, Ruth.

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  4. Novroz

    Aaa…I can imagine the fun of seeing that movie in big screen with great sound system….I wished I could see that.

    I couldn’t remember the detail of the movie anymore but I remembered seeing it when I was in elementary. I love the Beatles since I was that young, my father introduced them to me.

    I have seen several Beatles movie in the past…but couldn’t remember them anymore 😦

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    • le0pard13

      A few years ago, I introduced AHDN and Help! to my children. Needless to say, they loved them. Thanks for adding your memories to this and for your readership, Novroz.

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  5. William

    The 1960s birthed all these genre movies, like the surfing films, that eventually died out before or during the 1970s.

    Were the ‘band’ genre films ever a popular thing? I know the Beatles did a few movies (yes?) but I am so uneducated (or too young. . .sorry) to remember if this was ever a sustainable genre.

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    • le0pard13

      Good point, Will. Yes, The Beatles did some: the influential AHDN and fun as hell Help!, and the later the Magical Mystical Tour (British TV film). Sonny & Cher and Herman’s Hermits even did a film each. Likely the only other film (by a band) that’s really worth seeing though is Ferry Cross The Mersey with Gerry and the Pacemakers, which arrived in 1965 on the U.S. shore. But, as you noted, it wasn’t a sustainable genre. Thanks for the comment, my friend.

      p.s., upon further research, even the Dave Clark Five got into the act with Catch Us if You Can (1965), directed by John Boorman.

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