Hump Day Report: Then And Now
Rants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or what’s happening in the region. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly.
I’m not a big fan of looking back at my life — except when it comes to remembering movies I’ve loved over the decades — but this week’s special “Then and Now” edition of Atlantic City Weekly forced me to time travel back to my childhood. Turns out it was a wonderful trip, no LSD needed.
Right now I feel like I am plugged into the matrix of my early years, so here are a few stray thoughts and memories that didn’t make my stories.
Confession time: When I was young I had extremely petite hands. This made it easy for me to reach into the popcorn machine at the Margate Theater and get free popcorn. Just like candy dispensers, there were popcorn dispensers. You would grab a bag, place it under the chute, put a quarter (or maybe a dime) into the machine and a set portion of popped corn would fill your bag. Of course, as noted above, I could reach up into the chute and grab free popcorn. At the candy dispenser, I loved to hit the mystery slot. Instead of seeing the candy bar, there was a question mark, so you didn’t know what you would get. I was a gambler back then.
Beginning in the 1960s, when the Age of Aquarius brought liberation (i.e. nudity and bad language) to some of the most acclaimed films of the year, it was very frustrating to be a budding film buff under the age of 17. The movie ratings were so annoying. If I wanted to see an R-rated film, I had to beg my older brother or my parents to take me. However, on the day I turned 17, I did feel liberated. I took the bus to the Embassy or the Hollywood and went to see an R-rated film. I don’t even remember the movie but I remember how I felt when the ticket lady handed me that pass into adulthood.
A few years later when I was 19 and going to Stockton College, I got a job at the Frank’s Towne Twin Theatre (now the Towne 16) in Egg Harbor Township. I used to bother my friends when they came to the theater to see The Poseidon Adventure, which played there all summer. I would sneak behind them and recite Gene Hackman’s big speech, which I had memorized.
I also remember feeling extremely embarrassed when my neighborhood grocer and his wife came to the movies one night. I said something like, “having a nice movie night out,” when I realized they were going in to see the porno. Her face turned beet red.
Speaking of those X-rated films, even though I was the only usher who was actually over 18, the theater’s gentlemanly manager, Mr. Warner, always had the 16-year-old boys do the usher runs for the porno films.
Now it is time to snap back to reality. Thinking about all the great films of the 1970s, in comparison to what passes to fine entertainment these days, makes me sad.