This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Recently, a colleague returned to contribute more of his fine writing online with a short post on a seminal sci-fi film. To celebrate his reappearance, I thought to jot down one more of these since it was he who inspired this very line of memory posts. And it was another piece of his that has bearing since it lead off with an image spotlight on a movie theater fewer and fewer of us seem to remember these days:
Images c/o Cinema Treasures & the Colonel’s sites
April, 1981: three years after the death of my mother, I got a chance to re-do the whole process with the other materfamilias in my life (in the same month of March, in fact). As I covered here, I’d lived in my grandmother’s house since age four due to mom’s health problems, and eventual hospitalization. The same person who reared my mum got to pretty much raise me, too.
Both my younger brother and I were placed with our abuelas for safekeeping while the parent with sole custody convalesced (our father just wasn’t around, or any good at the guardian-thing). He went with dad’s madre, and me with mom’s. The key difference between us siblings was the fact he returned to her side. My father’s mother only too happy to hand back her grandchild. I was not, and fought to stay put. To my chagrin.
About a month after her funeral, the malaise that had crept in with it began to dissipate. By now, I was living with she-whose-name-must-not-be-spoken (let’s just say neither head females would have approved). So, it was she who I took to the Mann Westwood 4. in Westwood Village. This relatively small cineplex (three auditoriums which eventually split into four) drew the smaller films released back then.
The big headline movies customarily went to the nearby Village, Bruin, or National theaters in this famed entertainment district by UCLA’s campus. It’s why Joe Dante’s clever little horror movie, The Howling, landed here. Like all great werewolf tales, the film shares a bit of Greek tragedy. It fit and somehow lifted my mood. While the theater is no longer there, the movie and the memory still are.