Just before getting (literally) pulled up out of bed this morning, I flashed back to the time when I saw the movie Amadeus at the Millbrae Theater. I don’t know if it was the time of the year that it was showing — either near Thanksgiving or Christmas — or maybe it was the fact that the audience was packed with “old people”, the one single memory I took with me from that in-theater experience is the moment the house lights came on at the end of the film, the entire auditorium reeked like turkey farts. Too many years have passed for me to recall seeing a bunch of “blue hairs” sleeping off the effects of tryptophan on their systems. All I have left in my mind’s nostril is the soury sweet smell of flatulence.
Well, my friends, that little stroll down the lighted aisle got me thinking about other interesting and unusual experiences I have had while at the movie theater. Then I figured what good are those memories in my head when it would be so much more fun to share them right here with you all!
I hope you enjoy reading about these good times half as much as I did making them.
When I was a wee lad, my dad and I were at the Tanforan theater concession stand ordering popcorns and Dr Peppers when I told the lady helping us that my dad knew Dr Pepper when he was an intern. (It was one of his go-to phrases at the time). Anyway, she shot the future Italian Man Servant a look that said, “what the heck are you in teaching this kid, Mister?” as she handed over the snacks to us.
Then there was the time when Animal House had just come out and John and Judy decided to bring their nine year old son along with them to the show. You know that scene where Pinto is wrestling with what to do about/to/with his passed out Toga party date and the little angel and devil appear on his shoulder? Well, I neither saw nor heard much of it because while my dad covered my ears, my mom shielded my eyes. It wasn’t until the film came on HBO the next year that I got to experience the scene as Douglas C Neidermeyer, Daniel Simpson Day and Senator Blutarski intended it to be seen.
I’m pretty sure that my friends Matt and Erin and I were taking in a matinee showing of Take This Job and Shove It and being the obnoxious adolescents we were, we smuggled a Pip Squirt pen into the theater. For those of you scratching your head and wondering what the heck a Pip Squirt pen is, imagine if you will a functioning pen that also doubles as a kick ass water gun. Well, one miniature water pistol plus a darkened theater filled with unsuspecting marks equals an afternoon of muffled giggles for three suburban troublemakers. Unfortunately, our day at target practice was over quickly after Matt scored a direct hit to the back of some guy’s head. This man was so steamed at whomever blasted him in the back of the melon that he threw down his bucket of popcorn and stormed out of the theater never to return.
And then there was the time when Matt, Erin and I saw Creepshow and three-quarters of the way through it, Matt and I heard the telltale sound of rushing liquid entering a wax paper beverage cup. Apparently, the prospect of missing even one minute of this riveting flick was too much for Erin to bear so he brought the toilet to his chair by peeing in his empty soda cup.
Back in the mid-eighties when Rocky IV was released to a rabid and largely jingoistic American public, I attended a showing on opening night at the newly constructed Century Theater in South San Francisco. I remember being elbow to elbow in the lobby with hundreds of other Rocky Balboa fight fans chomping at the bit to get seated for the big showdown with the Soviet monster Ivan Drago. The movie itself did not disappoint any of us in attendance as spontaneous chants of USA, USA, USA filled the rafters when the Italian Stallion emerged victorious.
And then there was that time when we saw Raising Arizona and my friend Roger accidentally dropped an unopened bottle of Coors from his coat and it rolled all the way down to the screen. Several folks snickered and guffawed. Never one to waste a perfectly good beer, Roger simply walked himself to the front of the theater and retrieved his brewski. More than several people politely applauded his effort.
I could fill a thousand pages with stories about my merry misadventures at the Burlingame Drive-Ins but for the sake of brevity, I’ll limit it to only two. One evening, a high school letterman jacket wearing friend and I were trying our hardest to stave off early onset glaucoma (if you know what I mean). Anyway, after our fourth trip to the snackbar in two hours, the woman working behind the counter said to us, “I want some of whatever Potsie is smoking!” Needless to say our polluted minds were blown by her intuitive mind power until we realized that Potsie’s name was written on the back of his coat.
The less I talk about the time I drove my Camaro over the center dividing line bumps in front of at least four police cruisers while leaving those very same drive-ins, the less embarrassed I’ll feel.
One evening in 2007, Fehmeen and I couldn’t decide on a movie to see so we opted to check out separate shows. She went with Chris Brown’s This Christmas and I saw Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey’s Enchanted. (What can I say, I like what I like!?!). Once the lights went down and I felt less self-conscious about being one of the only single viewer in an auditorium full of families, I got to enjoy one of my favorite films of all-time.
And finally, for the occasion of our first date, I took the future Mrs Picetti to a romantic dinner at Chili’s followed by the 7:45 showing of the history of surfing documentary Riding Giants. I was shocked to find out several weeks later that she absolutely hated it. Oh, the things you do for love.
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