My friend’s dad would give Jim a dollar for the two of us to go to the show. So Jim and I would walk three blocks to the GarMar Theater on Concourse and Whittier Boulevard. It was called the GarMar because the owner operator’s kids were Gary and Mary. Get it?
This was the mid-1950s. But anyway, one dollar would get Jim and me general admission, a small bag of popcorn each, and either a box of Ju-Ju Bees or Milk Duds. Both candies were slow chewing. Hard and gooey. Might last through the first feature film. The theater was a large round top hanger barn-like building. Sort of military looking. And on Saturdays at noon it held about 300-screaming pre-teen kids.
So what we got for a quarter’s admission was two Looney Toon cartoons, a weekly world and national newsreel, two or three serial adventures of Gene Autry, Tarzan, or maybe Flash Gordon. Then a Disney nature and small animal flick. And finally a feature movie or feature length cartoon. All lasting about three or four hours. We were happy and Jim’s dad was happy.
What we saw on the big screen: Disney’s Lady and the Tramp; okay but too cute and tame. Tammy and the Bachelor and Tammy’s in Love; I was in love with Tammy but discovered later it was really a ‘Chick Flick.’ Another Disney; Flubber. Fred McMurray at his best. Elvis in Jailhouse Rock; I played along with the girls and screamed just to help out. A couple of WWII movies; Thirty Seconds over Tokyo and the Cain Mutiny. There were a number of other movies and feature length cartoons but I don’t remember the movie titles. However, my most favorite movie and again a Disney production, “Twenty-thousand leagues under the sea.” Captain Nemo and his saw tooth submarine. I was energized after the movie and would have taken on any monster sized squid. Bring’em on!
But after much thought, I wouldn’t trade this preteen boy experience for anything. A gazillion laughing and screaming kids, great movies, and an intermission give away drawing, and a chance to escape parental constraints. We all were just crazy kids needing a little screaming screen time.