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Death Of The Cinema

dvdI remember as a child, the whole fam damly (as it was sometimes described) being shuffled into the station wagon, and off to the movies!  Usually, a drive in theater.  They were ubiquitous, and readily available in the Arizona weather.  Much of the time, they were an extension of the TV-as-babysitter, translation:  put the boy in from of a moving picture and he’ll go out like a light!

Then later in my youth, being dropped off at a Saturday afternoon matinee, with a friend or two, and funds for goodies – what a way to get them out of the house and from under foot.  The only rule was call when the movie let out (translation:  make certain you had a dime left from that fiver!)

Being a self-described child of TV, when gadget-addict friend Bob P. (one of the many Bobs) announced he had a videotape player/recorder, I knew something was beginning to change.  This Magnavox machine took VHS tapes, but no standard had yet to be decided upon, and tapes made upon it wouldn’t play on later standardized VHS machines!  It also had vacuum tubes as part of it’s construction, weighed a ton, and cost about $1000 (in 1975 dollars)!

Thus began the slow decline as technology continued to develop, and people began renting Beta and VHS tapes, (remember Laserdiscs?) then DIVX, then DVD, and now can see many movies/TV shows via the Internet and BlueRay.

And the audience figured out that while the kids used to hang out in the back of the Vista Cruiser in their jammies, and the adults dressed up to go to the theater, it was just more convenient for all to stay in the living room in their jammies.  (Or boxer shorts, in the case of my Dad.)

And cheaper.

And you didn’t have to trudge across a gravel-laden parking lot in the dark to a grimy snack bar restroom, either.

And while the drive ins have mostly faded away, now the indoor theaters are as well.  Few want to pay $15+ each for a seat, plus another $20 for drinks and snacks, when they can watch Netflix or Amazon at home in their skivvies.

Another childhood dream of a secret agent meeting place in an nearly empty theater is going away.

And teenaged fantasies of making out (or more) in Dad’s station wagon now have to be redirected.

Declining Theater Attendance @ a 20 Year Low

h/t Flavorwire

(FTC – Magnavox, Amazon and Netflix have given me nothing!)


About guffaw1952

I'm a child of the 50's. libertarian, now medically-retired. I've been a certified firearms trainer, a private investigator, and worked for a major credit card company for almost 22 years. I am a proud NRA Life Member. I am a limited-government, free-market capitalist, who believes in the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law.


8 thoughts on “Death Of The Cinema

  1. The Saturday afternoon matinees were a special thing, hanging out with friends your own age. And while yes, it is easier to stay home & watch a Blu-Ray in the living room, there was something special about those outings.

    But times change, and “traditions” can be quite fleeting. Sigh …

    Posted by Rev. Paul | March 17, 2015, 8:36 am
  2. Yeah, I don’t go to see movies much myself anymore. (so many of them suck!) If you get a chance to go to one of the theaters that have the recliners and serve food, (AMC dine-in 24th St & Camelback) I highly recommend it!
    Boneless hot wings w/blue cheese, a cold beer and a closed caption device so I can actually understand the whispers and female voices make a great option. Pricey, but we only go about twice a year anyway.

    Posted by KM | March 17, 2015, 12:05 pm
  3. Yeah, I used to love going to the movies. Once in a very rare while I still go, but it’s too darned expensive even with the Old Fart discount and too many movies just aren’t worth it anymore. I have a 42 inch flat screen and a laptop and they generally suffice.

    Posted by ProudHillbilly | March 17, 2015, 5:15 pm
    • We, as well.
      Although, there are some movies that just don’t have the punch unless they’re in wide screen/Dolby!
      Star Wars comes to mind.
      (my then girlfriend brought in a duffel-bag-sized purse Filled with fresh buttered popcorn and cold beer! Had to wait for the loud parts to open the pop tops! Those were the days…:-))

      Posted by guffaw1952 | March 17, 2015, 6:19 pm
  4. Rev is right. And the theaters when we were growing up were ORNATE! Many had been built in the 30’s and 40’s and only had one screen. Fleeting memories, and yeah, netflix… sigh

    Posted by Old NFO | March 17, 2015, 6:16 pm

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