Public Square

The Last Picture Show – Tamarac 5

Too frequently we go about our lives mesmerized by our “to do list”, and do not stop to take note of the moment, in front of us. How often do we not realize that we are either a witness to history or experiencing “the last time”?

I am not sure who first told me about The Last Picture Show, in fact I think when we first started going it was just called Tamarac 5, or the dollar theater. Yes, you could go to the movies in the 21st Century for a dollar, a couple more if it was not a Tuesday; and the price did go up a bit, over time.

Mostly, the theater showed “art” or foreign films; and the audience so often consisted of people from a time when you went to the movies every week. The theater was charming, and the concession stand actually popped popcorn.

One night in 2018, I went to the theater and left thinking, I wish I could photograph this place. Within a couple of weeks, I went back with camera in tow, and watched 1945.

Afterwards, the general manager / owner, Morris, Morrie, Zryl, of the theater had asked what we thought of movie, telling us how much it had reminded him of his own story, as his father lost everything because of the war; and had nothing to go back to. He was happy that we had appreciated the film, and I happy that he had spoken with us, went on to tell him how much we loved his theater and all of its memorabilia.

I had determined to be bold, and encouraged by our chat with Morrie, and I asked the woman at the counter, if I could take some pictures of the lobby. Much to my surprise, she said yes. I am so glad I did.

Last night we went to see Those Who Remained, which I am not quite sure I can recommend. We were suspicious before we arrived, as the website listing the times of showings, mentioned Reserved Seating and Recliners; that was not an option at our little theater. As soon as we stepped into the lobby, we knew our theater was gone.

The woman behind the counter was nice enough, a bit irritated at our dismay. You had to pick out a seat, and sit where we picked, oh my. Finally, as we would not drop the subject, she admitted the owner had passed away, oh my indeed. We went on to the theater a little sad, and grew sadder as we saw the changes, which I suppose someone thought were improvements.

After we sat down, Kate asked if she should go get nachos, that was kind of our thing there; we would buy one order of nachos, and extra cheese, which they would put in a water cup, so we could each dip away. The nachos were in a hermetically sealed bag, and the cheese sauce was in a nice little plastic container, also sealed at a factory someplace; it was not the same.

But at least that one night, two years ago, in a fairly empty theater, I quickly took a few pictures. I can hold on to the fact that at one time, we would go up to the pool, and everyone would talk about what was playing at the dollar theater, and what was worth watching.




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