Friday, May 21, 2010
When I was a small girl, (not that I'm much taller now), I lived alone with my Dad. Thursdays were paydays and coincidentally Thursdays were also "Ranch" nights at the local B grade cinema. This meant a double feature of two cowboy movies. Plus of course a newsreel and cartoons. Dad loved westerns, especially if Audie Murphy or John Wayne was in them. So every Thursday night at 5pm, we'd set off walking into town for our weekly outing. First stop was the fish'n'chip shop where we'd sit in the cafe section and have dinner. Dad would always get a "mixed grill" plate, which had steak, sausages, chips, grilled tomato and a fried egg. I'd get the fish'n'chips, junior sized meal. Then we'd walk around town a bit, window shopping, choosing what we'd buy if we could have anything we wanted, until it was almost 7.30. Time to head for the cinema. Dad would buy Maltesers for me and Fruchocs for himself, then we'd choose our seats. Not so close to the front that I couldn't see the screen without cricking my neck, not so far into the back rows where the couples would be cuddling. We always chose aisle seats. The excitement when the lights went off and the cartoons began stayed with me for all the years that we kept this routine. I enjoyed the westerns as much as dad, but the newsreels I found boring. When the cinema closed down we discovered that westerns would only be shown occasionally on the Saturday afternoon matinee program at the big Hoyts cinema in the middle of town. This meant I was able to go by myself or with friends, (friends? Hah! I was a shy loner), while dad went to the soccer instead. Life was never quite the same once the old Austral theatre closed forever.