Before moving on, I do want to pause a moment to acknowledge all the Veterans across the country. Thank you for your service! In the past, I’ve blogged about all the members of my family who have been in the military and you can read that post HERE if you’d care to. I wrote it in 2016.
Those of us of a certain age have fond memories of the theaters of our youth where we spent hours watching our favorites on the big screen while we munched on popcorn and candy. When I read Slim Randles offering today, I thought of the one I used to go to a few blocks from my house. My mother, sister, and I went as often as we could scrap together the three quarters needed to buy a ticket, along with a nickel each for popcorn.
I also thought of this book that my son, Mike, wrote with an associate at the Austin History Center, Susan Rittereiser, Historic Movie Houses of Austin.
Now here’s Slim. Enjoy…
Mickey Baker has owned The Strand – our local movie theater – since the new releases starred Virginia Mayo. The Strand, naturally, is an icon here. More than a few of our long-lasting marriages in the area began with a first date there. Most of us have consumed more than our share of Raisinettes and Jujubes while watching Duke Wayne whip the bad guys.
We know every inch of The Strand. We know where the rips are in the used-to-be blood-red carpet, which of the seats don’t fold all the way down, which seats are most secluded in case it’s a smooching date.
It was ol’ Dud, back when he was about four feet tall, who discovered how to combine chewing gum and the lock on the back door to provide five-finger discounts for friends wanting to watch Victor Mature run around in a loincloth.
The Strand, in other words, is a vital part of our past, if not of our lives today. Now ‘a days we just go rent those tapes and disks and stay home and watch the newer films when we feel like it.
That might be because we now appreciate being able to stop the action for an occasional bathroom break now and then.
Attendance at The Strand dropped dramatically when home entertainment really hit a lick. But Mickey fought back. He tried the free popcorn route for a while. All he charged for was the butter. Attendance didn’t really pick up, and the popcorn bill was … well, appreciable if not staggering.
Mickey now thinks he has the answer. He bought a disk player thingie that works on a big screen. Then he bought some old movies and lowered the price.
The first night he did this was a triple header, and we all turned out to see our old heroes vanquish Nazis, solve the bank robbery in Cactus Gulch, and find out who really killed the big-city mayor.
We paid too much for popcorn, but who cares?
The Strand lives on, even if there is more gray hair there than at a Percheron horse show. Besides, when was the last time you saw The Duke standing 15-feet tall?
Brought to you by A Cowboy’s Guide to Growing Up Right.
In addition to hosting a radio show, Slim Randles writes the nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 380 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here on the blog, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It features some of the best of the columns he has shared with us, as well as the 4 million readers of the newspapers where his columns appear.
That’s all for today, folks. I do hope you enjoy this mid-week boost. Whether it’s humor or philosophy, Slim always has a good uplifting message. Be safe. Be well.
Tags: family, guest blog, guest blogger, Historic Movie Houses of Austin, Home Country, maryann miller, Mike Miller, movie houses, Slim Randles, Susan Rittereiser, Theaters, Veterans Day, wednesday's guest, writing