This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. My colleague Iba from I Luv Cinema, byway of his May 31st post, gets the credit, along with the upcoming Universal 100th Anniversary release of the remastered Blu-ray Disc of a landmark movie, for this memory download. The root reason the summer is now the studios’ box office money-making season, and why us movie patrons take for granted queuing for up for such things, is because of one Steven Spielberg film.
“I’m not going to waste my time arguing with a man who’s lining up to be a hot lunch.”
June 21, 1975: the ‘buzz’, among film critics and moviegoers, for this happening rivaled those of The Godfather and The Exorcist from years earlier. Everyone and their mother knew about this, whether they had read the top-selling novel or not (again, as with those other two). When it opened on this Friday date, 37 years ago today, you had people already lined up around the block, with SOLD OUT stuck next to some showtimes on theater marquees. This was especially true in this city’s showcase movie spots that were Hollywood and Westwood Village of the mid-70s.
Working part-time while attending college got me gas and movie date money back then. The last days of my first college girlfriend were coming to a close, but that still meant going to the flicks with her. Long-ago newspaper movie ads informed us that Century Plaza Cinemas had the film in widescreen 70mm splendor and Dolby sound. And since the area was not yet the draw like those mentioned, it’s where we ended up to meet the new reality of what became the summer blockbuster experience.
The two of us arrived on Saturday and immediately got into the ticket buying line for Jaws. That is, the one for purchasing tickets for the show after the one that was already sold out. We saw that audience start to file through the front door soon afterward. Like they had, we then fell into another line along the front of the complex on Avenue of the Stars. We proceeded to wait the two and half hours before we’d be ushered in to the movie cathedral for our worship service.
The ‘event’ nature of it all was giddily new, and it built a camaraderie, of sorts, among those there. Some of us struck up interim bonds to hold places while others broke away and brought back food and drink for those killing time till their call. And when we finally landed in our seats, faced the ocean and its new terror, we reconciled the new actuality now in place: wanting to do it all over again. Which I did, this time with my cousin, the very next day down at a theater in Lakewood.
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”