I’m sitting here reading David Denby’s article about the future of Hollywood in the current The New Yorker. He wrote about the old downtown picture palaces with names like the Luxor, the Alhambra, the Roxy that were like cathedrals as opposed to the more casual neighborhood theatres where “sometimes we arrived in the middle of the movie and stayed on until it reached the same point in the next show.”

That’s what my mother did when I was a kid. Only when I was old enough to go to movies with other kids was I introduced to the concept of timing one’s arrival to coincide with the beginning of the movie.

In later years I had assumed that my mother’s approach was just one of her weirdnesses rather than something that was common behavior, but I recently checked around with friends and discovered that the parents of many in my generation did this.

Did you ever go to movies like that? Do they even let you do that nowadays?

Why would anybody want to start in the middle of a movie? Was the concept of plot totally alien to them? You go into the thriller when it’s three-quarters over and learn that the butler did it and pouf, there goes a great deal of the enjoyment of the first three quarters.

The answer, I suppose, is that they were going to the movies as an escape and that they gave not a fig about plot.

So strange now that it would have seemed so normal then.

How ’bout a yellow driveway around the corner on 21st Street:

yellow driveway

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