Thursday, April 29, 2010

#170: Saturday Night At The Movies

The question I want to know is, what colour was the paint?  Incredible to think that such a racist ad could exist in South Australia, as late as November 1957 (this ad was scanned from the Sunday Mail).  Go for it, Sambo!!  Paint that wall.  See 'em burning crosses, see the flames, higher and higher.

Meanwhile, did anyone actually go to any of these flicks?  Alas the Regent is long gone now, and only the memories remain.  I saw many a good movie at the Hoyts Regent, in both locations (they had the main cinemas in the Regent Arcade and another cinema downstairs where JB Hi-Fi now lives), and I have very fond memories of seeing The Return Of The Jedi there.  I did see Star Wars and Empire down at the Elizabeth Cinemas, which was pulled down in the early 1980s, putting a cap on the entertainment deficiet that existed in the northern suburbs. 

According to the ad the movie HELP started on the Thursday, the 13th of January, 1966.  Five sessions daily and I expect that it'd have had a lot of little tenny boppers screaming at the screen.  You could almost send anyone back to see what true mania was - piss off Justin Beiber, 5,000 little girlies isn't anything on the amount of people who turned out to see the Beatles in Adelaide - BEFORE they'd sang a note.  An estimated 350,000 people out of a population of around 1,000,000.  Drag those kinds of crowds in Beiber and I'll be impressed.  Until then you'll just be the current generations David Cassidy at best, only with crappier songs.

Loads of movies were screening at the same time.  You could have caught HELP and then wandered down to Hindley Street to the State Theatre (also long gone) and seen The Pelvis wiggle and sing his way through this crap. According to the synopsis, "The original king of rock-n-roll (Elvis Presley) stars in this light comedy musical as a singing buck who finds employment at an all femme ranch & spa. After kissing the girls and making them cry, the stud-clad crooner is sent away, but soon comes back to rescue a pretty maiden from the hands of fortune-seeking baddies."

Call me silly but that could describe any number of Elvis movies.  Still it wasn't Clambake and this time he wasn't singing songs like "Dominic The Impotent Bull".

Compare those songs to what the Beatles had on offer.  If you saw HELP you heard the following; Help!, You're Going to Lose That Girl, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, Ticket to Ride and I Need You, amongst others.  Frankly You've Got To Hide Your Love Away is worth the price of admission alone.  Great stuff there.

What else could you have seen?  Irma La Douce was in it's last weeks.  It'd be replaced the following week by Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines, which was a bit of a steal of The Great Race, only not as good.  Damn, the pie fight in The Great Race was good.  They don't make movies like that anymore.  Spartacus was still screening at the Valleyline Drive In, Bedtime Story with David Niven and Marlon Brando was on at the Habourline.  And if you wanted some live action, there was a pantomime of Alice In Wonderland showing at Her Majestys.

You had more Elvis at the Seaton Park drive-in.  That movie was another of those where Elvis beat someone up, sang some shit songs and groped the girl.  Standard plot really.  Ten songs, none of them came close to be anywhere near as good as the worst effort that the Beatles movie offered.  Still there was some quality on offer with the second film, Tarzan Goes To India.  Brilliant!

Also at the drive-in, this time at Gilles Plains (up on Blacks Road) was the Billy Wilder classic, The Apartment, starring Jack Lemon and Shirley MacLaine.  This one had a stunner as the second film, a William Shatner movie called The Explosive Generation, a movie so forgettable that I can't recall it.

Drive-ins.  Remember those?  You'd pay a few bucks to see two movies.  One was generally crap and the other was good - an example was one of the first double bills that I saw at the drive-in down at Elizabeth - Rocky and Pirahna.  One was crap, the other good.  I'll leave it to you to decide which was which.  Generally you either smuggled people in via the boot (Leyland P76s were in high demand for this) or you jumped over the fence.  Either way you got in cheap and then went to work.  Up to the age of 16 I went to watch the movies and heave food at people for fun.  Once I turned 18 then I went to watch one movie, such as Commando, and went to work on the girl I was with during the next, such as Silverado.  Fights were the norm, and I'm sure there's a lot of people out there who were concieved at the drive-in.

All gone now.  Finito.  Replaced by car parks, housing developments, IKEA and ratshit hotels that block out the sun.  Such is the price of development.  Gone are the days when we could wander into the Hoyts Regent and see quality like Creepshow and witness a person throwing up on her boyfriends lap - mind you I'm not sure if the puke was due to the movie or the bonus that she got from the lap area seconds before.  I miss the cinema and the drive-in.  I know that cinemas are still with us, and some are classics - such as the Odeon (or the Windsor) down at Lockelys, but these days the bulk of the cinemas are large, lifeless conglomerates.

So, did anyone see these movies when they came out?  I saw Creepshow in it's first week, but I didn't see the others at the flickers - mainly because I wasn't born by that stage.

Oh, and what colour was that bloody paint?

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