Movies – 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History
October 25th, 2011 by Jessica

Week #12 – Movies: Did (or do you still) see many movies? Describe your favorites. Where did you see these films? Is the theater still there, or is there something else in its place?

I’ve been going to movies in the theater since I was quite young.  My DaD took me a couple of times before I could drive.  We usually went to the Quad Theater in Saginaw, Michigan during the 1980’s and the early 1990’s.  As the name implies, there were four theaters to choose from.  They usually played about 8-10 different movies at a time throughout the day. I believe the Quad is still functioning today.  It’s located at 3250 Kabobel, Saginaw, MI 48604.  According to my earliest ticket stubs in 1991, a matinee movie cost $3.00 and an evening show was $5.50.

Movie theaters are very different today where we live in Gilbert, Arizona.  Twenty years later in 2011, movie tickets are $9.50 for an evening show and $12-$14 for an IMAX or 3D experience.  Within a five mile radius of our house, we have over 100 theaters available.  Popular movies today start every 10-20 minutes, and you can go anytime you want.  There aren’t any lines.  You just walk up and use the ticket machine like an ATM to purchase your tickets or buy them online at home before you go.  I predict in our future, movie theaters will die out like the DVD is.  Most of our entertainment will be viewed at home in “the cloud” at the push of a button.  Many people now are getting 3D televisions for their home, so it is no longer a requirement to see movies in the theater.  Going to the theater will someday become a special event like it was in the 1930’s.

I have four scrapbooks that I created to store and present the ticket stubs I have collected over my lifetime.  I love looking through them to see all the fun things I have been privileged to do.  One of them is for Movie tickets, while the others are for Concerts, Sports and Arts & Theater.  The first page of the Movie ticket scrapbook has the earliest movies I attended.  My DaD used to drop me off at the Quad so I could hang out with my friends.  He would pick me up a few hours later, or I would hitch a ride with my friends’ parents.  Keep in mind this was still a decade before the cell phone was introduced.  These were the days of waiting on the curbside for someone to show up, not knowing where they were or if they forgot about you.

My earliest movie ticket stubs are:

  • Beauty and the Beast (1/2/1991)
  • Fried Green Tomatoes (2/21/1991)
  • Hot Shots (5/26/1991)
  • Drop Dead Fred (6/5/1991)
  • The Rocketeer (7/12/1991)
  • Child’s Play 3 (9/1/1991)
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (9/2/1991)
  • Father of the Bride (12/22/1991)

Here are some of the most memorable movie theater moments in my life.

Poltergeist II: The Other Side
Poltergeist II: The Other Side

Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) – Although I don’t have the ticket stub for it, I remember seeing Poltergeist II in the theater with my DaD.  This movie had the abduction of a young girl, ghosts, dead people and a possessed chainsaw viciously sawing apart the family’s car while they were trying to escape the Beast.  How is this PG-13?  I was nine years old and absolutely TERRIFIED.

Drop Dead Fred (1991) – Listed in the ticket stubs above, I saw Drop Dead Fred after my 8th grade graduation from Bridgeport Middle School.  A group of my friends got together and rented a limousine, splitting the cost 8 ways. I think it was about $20 per person.  The limo picked us up from school on the last day of 8th grade and took us to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza and games.  Then it drove us over to the Quad Theater so we could watch Drop Dead Fred.  I think the 8 of us were the only people in the theater although that may have been because of how we were acting.  We made a big, noisy giant mess.  The movie was terrible.  We threw popcorn and laughed obnoxiously, making fun of the movie the entire time.

Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) – I am not a Star Wars fan.  This movie is not memorable because I enjoyed the movie itself.  (I only went because Andrew wanted to go.)  Instead, this one is a perfect indication of how movie stubs can be a value method of outlining your personal history.  When looking through my Movie ticket stubs you will notice that I saw Star Wars: Episode I on May 19, 1999 just after graduation from Arizona State University with Andrew.  The theater was Harkins Arcadia 8 Cinemas (matinees were $3.75, evening shows were $6.00) in Phoenix, Arizona.  The very next movie stub I have is Star Wars: Episode I again.  This time, the theater was the Burlington 10 (matinees $5.00, evening shows $8.00) in Burlington, Massachusetts on May 26, 1999.  The viewings were only one week apart, but this tiny observation has much bigger implications than just going to a movie.  Between these movie showings, I moved across the country!  Without the dates on these stubs, I’m not sure if I could have remembered exactly when I moved when recalling my life years later.  I also find it fascinating to see the cost of the price difference between the two theaters.  This is very indicative to the major difference in cost of living between Phoenix and Boston in 1999.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter Series -While not exactly during my childhood, I felt like a kid again every time I went to see Harry Potter in the theater.  I saw the first one in the theater and instantly fell in love with Harry, Hermione and Ron.  I liked it so much, in fact, that I went out and read the book.  Gasp!  I READ A BOOK because of a movie.  I had never done that in my entire life.

My favorite Harry Potter movie is the Prisoner of Azkaban.  I enjoyed the time turner sequence, and when Harry helps Sirius to escape his fate on Buckbeat.  The humor cracks me up, like when Hermione and Harry are hiding from themselves and Hermione says, “Is that really what my hair looks like from the back?”  I loved it.

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

I recently saw Harry Potter the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 while in Fort Wayne, Indiana on a genealogy research trip with my friend Sarah.  It was merely coincidence that we were together during the opening of the final Harry Potter.  She is one of the biggest HP fans I know.  We planned the trip, then realized the release date was the same weekend on July 15, 2011.  We watched the film together on Friday night the day it opened worldwide.  I got chills up and down my spine when it started.  My favorite part is when Professor McGonagall gives Neville a directive to blow up the bridge.  “BOOM!” she confirms.  Then a few minutes later after she sets the castle guards in motion with Piertotum Locomotor she turns to Mrs. Weasley and says, “I’ve always wanted to use that spell.”  I laughed, I cried, I laughed, I cried…  It was ten years of Harry Potter emotions all in one movie experience.  I loved, loved LOVED it.

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