Thanks to The Buried Life for posting this video on their YouTube channel. I came across it a few weeks and put a smile on my face. It made me think about what I call “the treadmill of life,” and how we are so easily placed on it and how we sometimes forget to enjoy the moment.
Hubby and I sat around the other night reminiscing about movies we seen as kids in downtown Oshawa and naming the theatres we’d gone to before the Oshawa Centre mall was built and everything changed. There were several theatres that we could get to by bus, hoofing it on foot, or if we were real lucky, a ride from one of our parents. It was the thing to do on a Saturday, hanging out with your friends and meeting up at the movie theatre.
The theatres were full of rowdy little punks, but not in a way that really caused that much grief. It was a time and an experience that I’m thankful I was a part of; it was great times and I gotta admit, I miss.
At 39 King Street East, where you’ll now find Status Lounge night club, was the site of The Biltmore. (It later became the ODEON.) The building was modeled on Art Deco architecture. In the photograph below you will notice a thermometer that resembles a clock. If you look closely at the front of the building today, that thermometer is still there.
It opened in 1949 and closed in 1965. In 1969 it re-opened as the Odeon and closed in 1989. There was also the Multiplex that had 2 screens for about 50 people each in the area of what is now Stuttering John’s on Simcoe just south of King. It was open for less than a year in 1979.
“The original Star Wars movie was screened at the Biltmore. All the Ushers were dressed as Princess Leia in flowing white robes with hair done in the trademark buns!”
“They would stop the movie in the middle when they had to change the reel. They’d also stop it if we got too rowdy. The manager would come out and tell us that if we didn’t shut up he wouldn’t put the movie back on. You’d never get away with that now.”
“It was not exactly quiet during the show. The ushers were there in their uniforms and with flashlights, and they would give you a hard time if you came in late. So would the rest of the audience.”
“The thing to do was to flatten your cardboard popcorn box and whip it at the screen. I don’t know why we did it, but we did. There was one box or another flying pretty much non-stop during the movie.”
“Upstairs in the balcony was the best place to sit. It was a little more chaotic and fun up there but you had to get up there quickly before it filled up.”
“There was always a fire exit by the front and if you did it right, you could sneak one or two of your friends in. But you didn’t want to get caught, that’s for sure. Of course, I never did it…”
“Smoking was allowed in theatres in those days. You could see the smoke curling through the light from the projector.”
The Regent Theatre
The Regent Theatre opened its doors to the public on October 16, 1921. Owned and operated by the Famous Players Canadian Corporation Ltd., the Regent Theatre was the first theatre in Oshawa to offer “perfect vision” for all patrons through its ramped floor. When the Regent Theatre first opened on King Street, its front was modeled on Georgian Architecture. The entrance lobby and promenade were finished in mahogany.
“Recently I visited The Regent theatre and when I went into the ladies’ washroom it was like nothing had changed at all. I could remember running in there with my girlfriends after a show. It felt exactly the same.”
“As teens we go on a Saturday afternoon and you could stay and watch a movie as many times as you wanted to.”
” I remember when I was a young boy going to the Regent. There was always this little man at the door dressed in a red usher’s uniform taking tickets. He had a strong British accent and was always so polite. I was about 12 years old and he was shorter than me.”
The biggest movie hit, until 1970, was the Sound of Music which grossed $75,000 over a six week period for The Regent.
“A whole gang of us would go to the movies together. We’d walk or maybe take the bus. It was something fun to do, especially in the winter. We’d go alone, without any parents or anything. We were eight years old.”
“I can remember going to the movies when I was around ten or so. My father would drop me off on Saturday morning and I’d go off to find my friends waiting in the lineup, which stretched around the block sometimes. I remember standing in front of the Regent Theatre in the snow. We’d be waiting in line a long time and we’d always see someone else we knew. It was the thing to do on a Saturday.”
“They always played a cartoon before the movie, and it was a really big deal. If they hadn’t played the cartoon, they might well have expected a riot. Not many of us had colour TV at home, so to see a colour cartoon was something else.”
“There was no break between the showings. You could come in at any time and if we missed the cartoons or beginning of the movie we’d just stay for the next showing and leave at the part where we came in. The cartoons were a big part of the whole outing and we definitely wanted to see them.”
The Plaza Theatre
The Plaza Theatre was located where Riley’s Restaurant is currently located on King Street in Oshawa. It was also known as the Hyland in later years. This was the last operating movie theatre in downtown Oshawa.
The Marks Theatre
The Martin Theatre was located at King and Celina Streets. (Now it is the parking lot beside Avanti’s.) Way back in 1875, it was a hotel named Finnigan’s (later American) Hotel, and many traveling performers stayed there. Ernie Marks was among them. In 1931, Ernie Marks, acquired the Martin’s Theatre and became mayor of Oshawa in the same year. The Marks Theatre, as it was later known, presented musical revues, stage plays, and amateur talent nights for years after films began to be screened. The Marks continued as an independent movie house, surviving a series of fires from nearby buildings, until the late 80s. It was demolished in 1992.
is about celebrating the moment
and that we’re not guaranteed or owed another day
and how cool it is that what we hide
can actually be the fuel towards our glory
and that it’s not so bad being proven wrong
is about welcoming the blind turn
and the possibility that
there’s no such thing as coincidence
and that empathy is incredibly sexy
and that it’s never too late to
pick up a guitar or a paintbrush
or to make an amend or to make a new friend
could be about rekindling a past flame
or igniting a new one
or shape shifting from a dreamer into a doer
or savoring the caress of a love long gone
means whatever it is
you want it to mean because
is a celebration of you and your path
‘cuz it could go at any second
I end with a powerful question that requires courage to answer:
how are you spending your irretrievable nonrefundable allotment of immeasurable time?
It was one of those perfect English autumn days which occur more frequently in memory than in life…
Yet how easy it is to miss the little things in the pursuit of a “perfect” life! An authentic life is made up of recognizing beautiful moments in an imperfect world. We must discipline ourselves to linger even for a moment on those things so they will become emblazoned in our memory like a snapshot in a tattered scrapbook.
Things I love about autumn…..
- quiet dinners by the fire
- reading mystery novels in darkened rooms
- flannel sheets at the end of a long day
- flickering candles
- scents of cinnamon, oranges & cloves
- roasts, potatoes and carrots
- fluffy feather beds on a cold night
- watching movies snuggled in soft blankets
- cozy socks
- pie in the oven
- warm crackling wood stoves
- squash with buttered brown sugar
- chili and corn bread
- wind blowing through leaves
- glow of lamps through windows
- scrabble and popcorn
- caramel apples
- family and friends
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
~~~ Steve Job