When I was a girl we went to the movies on Saturday afternoon. It seems unlikely that we went every week, but maybe we did. Saturday afternoon was a double feature, which meant we could see two movies for the price of one. Between the two movies was a short cliff-hanger designed to pull us into the show the following week so we could see the outcome. The cliff-hanger was usually some variation of the Perils of Pauline.
You notice I said "pull us into the show". That's what we called it. "Are you going to the show on Saturday?" We never said "movies." And we certainly never said "films."
Besides two movies (usually two Westerns, one of them starring Roy Rogers or Gene Autry) and one short feature (oh yes, plus newsreels of current events), the real attraction of going to the Roxy was the concession counter, which to us was just the candy stand. Our Roxy had a popcorn machine as well, of course, but the candy is what drew us.
As children did (do), I established my favourites in every category. Sometimes more than one favourite.
I think part of the process of creating your public self is the business of distinguishing your tastes from those of others. Some kids liked Juicy Fruit gum, for example, but it didn't take me long to dislike that fake fruitiness. No, my favourite gum was Double-Mint, which I think was a combination of spearmint and regular mint. It was good to be able to say "Double-Mint is what I like."
And when it came to candy, my first choice at the show was always Bit-o-Honey, a thin candy bar of honey and nuts. Beneath the outer packaging you found the candy bar wrapped in white waxed paper that folded back and forth between the six segments (SIX separate pieces) of the bar. I probably liked it because of the intricate wrapping (not crinkly but soft waxed paper, so it didn't disturb the other movie-goers—not that anyone in that theatre full of kids would have heard the crinkle of one candy wrapper).
My second choice—a distinct second, but acceptable if they were out of Bit-o-Honey—was Milk Duds. Given that "dud" implies a failure, the name is a mystery. The cardboard box was about 3x5", half an inch thick. Inside was waxed paper that formed a bag to hold probably a dozen milk-chocolate-covered caramels. The beauty of this type of candy (as well as the Bit-o-Honey) was the separate pieces. You could extract a Milk Dud, re-close the cardboard box, and then slowly chew and melt it in your mouth.
When it was all finished you could wait or you could immediately take another piece. The timing was all up to you. This was unlike the usual candy bar, such as the fluffy marshmallow-y Mars Bar (with whole almonds imbedded in the chocolate covering). Once you opened your Mars Bar you had to eat it all at once or it would melt messily in your hand. And then it would all be gone and you'd have nothing left to eat during the rest of the movie. The two movies.
The good thing about the Roxy—and probably any movie house of the day—was that you could enter at any time and leave at any time. This was true not just of the Saturday showings (film A followed by shorts by Film B by shorts by Film A by shorts by film B) but also of the weeknight evening shows: a 7 o'clock showing followed by the same film re-shown at 9.
I can still remember the challenge of arriving half an hour late to any movie and trying to figure out what was happening. Then we would sit thorough the beginning of that movie when it came on again and find out what we had missed, at which point we might stand up and leave—or we might stay and see the end of the movie a second time, with a clearer understanding of what we were seeing.
When television took over the world, the Roxy closed for good.
Food blog: http://fastandfearlesscooking.blogspot.ca