Sunday, June 26, 2005

Around the World in Eighty Days

While I was in high school, the movie "Around the World in Eighty Days" was released (the original 1956 version). One of our local theaters decided to do something special to advertise the movie, which was supposed to be a blockbuster moneymaker. They hired students from my school to act as ushers for each night and weekend showing of the movie, for two weeks. They contacted the Principal, and were given a list of the "best" students (ones who they thought could take the time to do this and still make good grades!). We had to wear costumes, one from each of the countries that were visited in the movie. My costumes were that of a Japanese Geisha girl and a Spanish dancer, and I could alternate them. The black fish-net stockings were a big hit with me!

The theater immediately increased its attendance by at least two people per student, as our parents all wanted to come and see us in costume - even if they didn't really care about the movie. You might have thought we were all in show business, with the care we gave to getting ready for each showing. Hair and makeup were of the utmost importance - our public was going to be watching! It was a good experience for us; we all got to tour the theater which had been built in 1920 and was a burlesque theater before it changed to a movie house. It had loges and several balconies, and wonderfully fanciful decor. We also got to go backstage and see the movie from the rear - which was exciting at the time - though now I cannot imagine why we thought so. I was sad to hear that the building was razed in 1980. It should have been brought back to its former splendor and placed on the Historic Register. Far too many beautiful old buildings are being torn down to make way for ugly offices, don't you agree?



20 comments:

scrappintwinmom said...

I absolutely agree! Here via Michele today!

Kevin said...

Progress has no conscience.

Kross-Eyed Kitty said...

Kenju! How nice to meet you! Lovely blog...can I come back to visit?
MIchele sent me today!

FTS said...

I love touring old landmarks. You can almost feel the history that unfolded eons ago as you walk through those buildings.

Tammy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tammy said...

I do indeed agree with you. They're fixing to tear down an old county courthouse close to here. Most people (who of course are new to the area, and this includes my husband) don't get what all the fuss is about. I, on the other hand, remember when this was the only place to go to get your tag...your marriage license...or your divorce certificate. Yes, it's a big deal...why not let the old days live on, in this case?

Last Girl On Earth said...

Kenju, was this a theatre in Charleston? It always makes me so sad to see old landmarks destoyed. We can learn a thing or two from our European neighbors!

BTW, I ate at that Shoney's in Charleston MANY times! he he!

srp said...

It brings back memories. Wasn't it nice then? Families could go to most movies and not worry about them being inappropriate for children. 56 is a bit before my time, (I was 3) but I did see that movie on video. Fun. Do you have pics in your costumes?

colleen said...

I never saw the movie but remember the song was big. We used to go to all those religious movies like Ben Hur with the CYO (Catholic Youth Orginization). So sad about the building...such a loss. And it happens over and over in every town.

Robin said...

That sounds lovely. There is an old theater not too far from me that has been turned into a movie theater. I love watching movies there even though it is need of a facelift. I try to imagine it in it's heyday with fancily dressed people coming to the show. How fun! Thanks for visiting my blog. I've enjoyed yours and I'll be back.

Gerbera Daisy said...

I totally agree with you that too many old buildings rich in history and beautiful architecture are being torn down and being replaced with office buildings, shopping centers and worse parking spaces. There is a movie theatre not too far from here that is old and is still being used as a theatre. You walk in and feel as though you have stepped back in time. It reminds me of how theatres were when I was a child.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You betcha. Here in Salem people have done a wonderful job rescuing an old theater, the Elsinore. It's back to its former glory and is used for live stage shows.

rugdesigner said...

Certainly agree. Our area is pretty good about preserving historical buildings for reuse. I think it's wonderful! There's nothing quite like the old architecture of the buildings around here.

Courtney said...

Way too much architecture sacrificed. Paved paradise and put up a parking lot, indeed.

I think Michelle would agree.

Weary Hag said...

Yes. I totally agree. The older buildings had such character and class; high ceilings, archways, great open halls and many of them had murals that had to have taken many many months to paint. It's like taking down memories ~ not just structures.

Susy said...

I definitely agree. Fortunately, a group of citizens in my town managed to save our local theater from going out of business. There's nothing like seeing Gone with the Wind in a theater where it was originally released.

Michele sent me. :)

Ben said...

It is disheartenin when old buildings get knocked down in favour of concrete monstrosities. I loved the story about the movie's promotional afforts. Things in the marketing world have undoubtedly changed.

By the way, Michele didn't send me :)

vicki said...

I agree, Judy. I suspect we)'re women of similar age and I went to see How the West Was Won in CINERAMA! Unbelievable how a movie running across three screens could seem so, hmm, marvelous. And the theatre (because they were truly theatre, not theaters) in Detroit is no longer there. Here in Ann Arbor we still have The Michigan Theatre with an organ that rises out of the floor, velvet seats and balconies. I love to go there for a film.
Fish net stockings- today they sound so gak but yes, I loved them, esp. black.
Love the image of you as a Geisha.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I passed your message along to Poopie.

Do me favor: Send me your email address. Mine is mbenditem@msn.com

Thx. "granny".

Müzikdüde said...

I think I'm going to join the local historical society. These types of things are getting out of hand.