Slim Randles' Home Country
Movie theater days
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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 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 4 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.
We seem to just go rent
those tapes and disks now and stay home and watch the newer films
when we feel like it, and that might be because we now appreciate
being able to stop the action for an occasional bathroom break.
Attendance 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
[to top of second
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
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