Movie Night

From Sue’s Reminisces:

I don’t remember the formal entertainment in the original Main House, when I was really little, probably because it was past my bed-time, but I do remember “movie nights” on those hot summer nights quite vividly. One night each week, weather permitting, a large white sheet was hung up on the patio. My father would work this battered, brown movie projector that had two large reels suspended by collapsible arms. Everyone would jockey the chairs for a good seat, the light would go on, the image would be projected onto the “screen” and, to me, it was magic. In some ways, all the movies, regardless of genre, were reminiscent of Rodin, or some other Japanese creature feature, because the shadowy images of the mosquitoes and moths were caught in the projector’s light as unwelcome co-stars. I don’t remember the movie titles, but I loved them all.

Under the star-filled sky, I would sit on my father’s lap and nestle in, hoping the reel would not tear or jump. It inevitably would, and I still have that sensory memory of the sound that would emanate from the projector. The jumping was accompanied by a fluttering, stuttering sound of the film being stuck, and the tear created this repeated swishing sound of the film whirling unfettered against the projector. Three things always seemed to happen simultaneously as a result. The crowd would heave a collective moan, my father would jump up to make the necessary adjustments, and this woman named Francis would stand and begin singing, in what I recall was a shrill soprano voice. It seemed to really put pressure on my dad to get the repair done ASAP.

Later, after a building dubbed “The Casino” was built, the movies were shown on a similar screen, hung across the stage. The wooden folding chairs were set up in rows, and the crowd still jockeyed for the best seats. No bugs on the screen, and the film breaks and jumps happened less often. The magic of the star filled sky, and my father’s arms around me were lost to progress.

One Response to “Movie Night”

  1. Tobi Kibel Piatek says:

    I remember this well, especially the terrifying Hitchcock thrillers (The Birds and the flying bugs)

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