Poem: Matinee at the Castor

Updated on February 8, 2018
Philly kids clowning on the steps right before going to the movies.
Philly kids clowning on the steps right before going to the movies. | Source

Saturday Matinees in the Sixties

Going to movies in the sixties was a whole new ballgame. It was a lot cheaper back then. The movie houses had one screen and were located in our neighborhoods, and not in big shopping malls like they are now. Unsupervised kids flocked into the local movie houses. Today, parents take their children to the movies and usually approve or monitor what they see.

I have fond memories of going to the movies with my friends. I enjoyed the freedom to be able to get into mischief, of which we displayed on a regular basis. When kids are left unsupervised, they could get into trouble and engage in the unruly behavior. But as a kid, I remember that there were limits to what we did, and we were capable of setting those limits by ourselves. We got it all out of our system back then. We didn't have to wait until college to let loose.

Mostly, I remember the black and white horror films that are hokey now, but back then they scared the pants off of us. We screamed because we felt personally threatened, and the louder we all yelled, the more fun it was.

Matinee at the Castor

We saw the Village of the Damned,

eating popcorn, Goobers

launching spitballs,

sliding down the silver screen,

as the confused ushers

chased misbehaving children.

We hooted, hollered and screamed

when the white-haired British kids

flashed their fiery eyes,

setting fire to quaint little English towns.

They rose from the graves of affluent families,

put their mommies into a deep sleep,

melted their poor daddies

into pools of Silly Putty.

As a kid, I wished I had their power

to reduce bullies into pint-size meals,

feel the wrath of a little boy.

Although the film gave me nightmares,

I didn't care.

I wanted to hoot, holler

and toss popcorn everywhere.

I wanted the English kids to win,

that's how I wanted the movie to end.

But I should have known better,

the kids' reign of power ended much too soon.

I cast the last Pixie Stick onto my tongue,

a handful of red licorice stained my palm.

It wasn't just another Saturday matinee,

flipping our enemies the bird,

teasing the kids in the front row.

It was something much more--

it made our lives fun and thrilling,

made us imagine we were more than just children.

Matinee at the Castor (Read by Mark Tulin)


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