Going to the Lane Theatre and the Dixie Drive-In with my friends, when I was a teenager, was so much fun, and one of my favorite past-times. I have many fond memories at both places.
I’ve written about the theaters before, which are both closed and have been for years, but there’s a memory that popped into my head this morning that made me chuckle, and I decided to share it with you.
I am not real proud of the fact, but when I was young, like most people that age, I was a fan of horror movies.
This goes back to the year of 1982, when the popular slasher film Friday the 13th, Part III in 3-D was released. Having already seen the first two horror flicks in that series, I wanted to see what was next.
Friday the 13th, Part III was filmed to give an illusion of three-dimensional solidity and was so popular that it unseated the movie E.T., about the little green extra-terrestrial, from the number one box office spot.
Now, usually, I was with a friend or family member or two when I went to the movies, but for some reason, this particular night, I went by myself.
Arriving at the Lane a little early, I purchased my ticket, bought a bag of popcorn and a soft drink, then picked a spot about halfway down the aisle on the right side of the theatre to settle down to watch the movie.
Let me say the experience of watching a horror movie, or any movie for that matter, at the Lane Theatre, was unique in that sporadically, a live bat or two, which resided at the Lane, would fly around above everyone’s heads.
With my wild imagination, I could just envision being attacked by one of those bats, while being engrossed in the horror movie. So, occasionally, I would glance up around at the leak-stained ceiling to see if I could see where the bats were located.
Sometimes I would see someone flick popcorn in the air. I was never sure if the movie goers were simply trying to feed the bats or if they were trying to shew them away by throwing popcorn at them.
The theatre filled up quickly, and finally, it was time for the show, the lights dimmed and the commercials came on the big screen announcing the great tasting treats that were available for sale at the concession stand.
A couple came in and sat down behind me. The movie started.
As usual, the creators wasted no time in getting to the gory stuff, and I, along with many others, watched in wide-eyed disbelief as everything unfolded on the big screen.
Occasionally rhythmic, tension building music gradually increased to warn watchers that an intense scene was getting ready to be revealed.
However, there was one scene in the movie where there was no music building up to a body crashing through the window. The action took me by complete surprise. My own brain and body reacted to being startled by jumping in my seat and involuntarily throwing my hands straight up into the air. In doing so, my popcorn and drink went out of my hands and came back down, completely drenching the couple sitting behind me.
When I realized what happened, I reluctantly turned to look at the damage my actions had caused. I was never so embarrassed in all my life.
The gentleman, who took the brunt of the unintentional attack, sat there with my soda dripping off his face and hair, my popcorn laying all over his shoulders and lap, and he looked stunned for a moment. Then he realized what had happened.
I began quickly stammering to apologize to the couple. (I really just wanted to crawl under the seats and hide.)
After a few seconds, the shock wore off, and the man’s face broadened into a kind smile and he said, “Hey, I knew it was going to be a 3-D movie, but I never realized how real the experience would be!” Wow! What a great sense of humor he had.
We all laughed out loud, and I felt such a sigh of relief. All was well. He wasn’t going to beat me up for soaking him with sticky pop.
I am so glad that couple wasn’t like some people would be if that same thing happened today.
It doesn’t take much anymore for people to get upset enough to fight over, or worse.
I am so grateful for a stranger’s kindness and forgiveness that day.