HAPPY IN THE DARK – BY GEORGE KAPLAN

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Touring Broadway’s Last Great Movie Palace: the Los Angeles – Curbed Inside – Curbed LA.

Greetings, Beguiling Hollywoodians,
I love movies.
Surprising I know! I remember being taken as a child to see various things and it was always a treat. Sitting there, in the dark, as a different world came into flickering life on the screen. Be it E.T. The Extra Terrestrial or Pinnochio (“a real live boy”) it was a perfectly pleasurable experience, and as I grew older (I won’t say “grew up”!) it mostly remained so. As a child it almost didn’t matter how good the movie was, there was a magic just being in the theater, as I aged and my tastes refined the magic remained but I became almost *hungry* to experience as many different kinds of movies as possible, and, of course, quite apart from the cinema, there was television. Perhaps some of you are similar to me, many of my favorite movies were first encountered as a teenager and adult on t.v., video, and dvd. The magic of a good or great movie is always there wherever you first see it. Yet there’s a particular kind of happiness in seeing movies on the big screen in the dark of an auditorium. (for the younger among you there was a time when there were still a few cinemas around that were less like battery farms, it’s true!) I recall when I was fifteen years-old and not so happy that going to the movies was as much of a lifeline as reading or music or watching movies at home. Then one day I was coming home with a friend from seeing Sneakers starring Robert Redford, Mary McDonnell, and Sidney Poitier (a fairly entertaining trifle) when I was mugged, needless to say that refuge, that haven, was ripped away from me for a time. Happiness in the dark would return but I never again saw as many movies in the cinema as I did in my early teenage years. I still love movies although I haven’t seen any in the cinema for years for various reasons (sad but, alas, boring tales!) and the onslaught of slop that besmirches the screen is disheartening, there are still good movies out there. I still believe in the magic of Cinema. Do you?

12 comments

  1. Sorry to hear you were mugged, George, let alone having it done post watching a movie at a theater. A terrible thing. Glad you still head out to theaters, even though not as much as you once did. And I, too, still believe in the magic of Cinema.

    • George Kaplan

      Thank you, Le0pard13, and I apologize to you and everyone else for the tardiness of my response buy I’ve been feeling unwell. Yes, the Magic of Cinema is great, isn’t it?!
      P. S. I’ve seen your comments at your friend John Kenneth Muir’s site and at a few other weblogs and you always have something interesting to say.

  2. Heather in Arles

    My goodness, Mr. K. I am also so sorry to hear that you were mugged. Bisous.
    Going to the movies is probably what I miss most about my life in the States. I went once a week in NYC, yes, even if I had to eat instant noodles to do so (and I did). Here, the prevalance for American films is to dub them in French. And as a former actress myself, I have all respect for what the voice communicates and so have zero interest in listening to the “French version” of say, Meryl Streep. And as my honey is not so interested in seeing French movies on the big screen either, well, I do sadly think about that wonderful moment when the lights go down and there is a whole world in front of you to discover…

    • George Kaplan

      Oh, Heather, you are, as ever, lovely and fascinating! Yes, the lights went down and a new world flickered into being…
      Ha. A dubbed Ms Streep! Not so good. Ah, for subtitles!

      • George Kaplan

        Gallivanta, how fabulous you are! I feel privileged to hear those reminiscenses. The story of the train rattling past is like something from an Ealing comedy!
        Warm wishes, George K

  3. George you have sent my mind back to some wonderful, and some hilarious, cinema experiences. In my very young days, we had to stand for God Save the Queen, before the movie began. In another life, the cinema was a dilapidated wooden building next to a railway line and, inevitably, a train rattled past at a vital moment in the film and one was left wondering forever after what was said in that particular scene. It was all fun and the movies were great.

  4. Dearest George
    How very true these words are.
    I remember queueing for E.T. and then having a ‘banquette’, one of those strange near sofas that cinemas seem no longer to have that I am sure were intended for evening canoodling but served during the matinee to sit four squeezed in infants with too much chocolate between them.
    Happy days.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  5. Most magical movie experience — on a University quad in the middle of a balmy summer night perched on a blanket watching “Singing in the Rain” on a colossal screen as it flickered and echoed out over a thousand upturned faces.

    • George Kaplan

      Ah, exquisite, beautiful, evocative… I would expect no less from you divine Ms V… It’s like being there. Thank you!

  6. George,thanks for the memories and sorry for a late response.Thankfully I have a break from work and can catch up on all sorts of things.
    You wrote very evocatively about the cinema and your obvious love for it shines through.
    I was lucky being brought up in Brighton and spoiled rotten for cinemas,bookshops,antique and junk shops and a pretty wonderful museum to say nothing of lovely buildings.

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