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My job at our local theater.

  1. #1
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    My job at our local theater.

    1952-3. A long, long time ago, my first job, I worked as an usher for our local movie house, The Colonia. My job was changing the marquee, finding and seating people in the dark theater, taking tickets and handing out paper 3-D glasses for those new up and coming 3-D movies. One of the first movies I remember was the 1953 House of Wax. Here's a preview of what the theater looked like.



    IMG_4115.PNGIMG_4116.jpg
    My wife asked me how to thaw a turkey? I said I usually just tell your mom a few jokes. If that doesn't work there's always alcohol.

  2. #2
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    Great memory, thanks for sharing!

    It looks like the Colonia is still going strong!


  3. #3
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    Yes it is Bea, but they made it into a multiplex theater now. Can't use balcony anymore. As far as I'm concerned, it's ruined. It was a beautiful old theater. I have a couple of photos of balcony now.

    IMG_1022.JPGIMG_1023.JPG
    My wife asked me how to thaw a turkey? I said I usually just tell your mom a few jokes. If that doesn't work there's always alcohol.

  4. #4
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    Sad to see the interior but it still looks salvageable!

    Here is an old postcard of the Colonia in happier days!


  5. #5
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    The little store on the left, was McNeils jewelry store in the 50s. I got my wive's engagement ring there.
    My wife asked me how to thaw a turkey? I said I usually just tell your mom a few jokes. If that doesn't work there's always alcohol.

  6. #6
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    We had a beautiful old theater in Sandpoint, Idaho, where I grew up. The Panida had the balcony up above and the regular seats down on the main floor. It cost 35 cents to go to the movies, and they showed 2 movies, and usually played the first one over; so you could actually spend hours there and sit through 3 whole movies if you wanted to. Popcorn was a dime, and my weekly allowance was fifty cents; so I could always go to the Saturday afternoon matinee.
    We mostly had western movies on the weekend, or something that was considered fine for the whole family, and the ones that were more for adults (although nothing was R-rated back then) were shown on weeknights when we kids were not at the theater.
    Eventually it fell into disrepair, too; but then a group bought the Panida and restored it, and now they show special movies, and have plays or other performances there.
    Here is a picture of how it looked back when I was a kid in the 1950's.
    IMG_0818.JPG
    I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars....... Og Mandino

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pappy View Post
    The little store on the left, was McNeils jewelry store in the 50s. I got my wive's engagement ring there.
    Sounds like it was a great investment!!!

  8. #8
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    My first job was as a bag boy at Publix. $1.00 buck an hour. It started in June of 1963 at the grand opening of the Publix on Belcher Road and Gulf to Bay blvd, in Clearwater. They hired a whole bunch of us for the grand opening, gave us about a 1/2 hour orientation and then told us to show up in time to clock in before 9:00 am when the doors opened. We had to wear white shirts, black pants, black shoes and a black tie. You could bring your own tie or you could wear one of theirs which were clip on bow ties. I thought the bow ties looked gay, so I brought my own 99 cent clip on regular tie. You had to be all ready to go before you clocked in. One time a couple of us clocked in and then went into the back and put on our ties and then went to work. That probably took two or three minutes. But as soon as we got back up front the assistant manager was there and chewed us a new one. "We're not paying you to get dressed!".

    Anyway, back to day one. When those doors opened at 9 am the customers just streamed in. I had never seen a store so busy in my life. It was a baptism under fire. They had given us a few instructions on bagging during the orientation. Cans on the bottom, lighter stuff on top, wet and cold stuff in a separate bag. They were real anal about bag use back then. We were not allowed to double bag anything except for frozen stuff. They used the brown paper bags then. The biggest size were the "50 lbs bags" Next the 25 lbs, the 10, then 5's. We were supposed to economize to the max on the bags. Which was BS because if you put very many cans into a single bag it was gonna tear. But if we double bagged them you would get your butt chewed a new one by one of the assistant managers. There was one exception. If the customer asked for double bags we could do it then. I used to pray for customers that had gotten wise to this and asked for double bags so I wouldn't have to worry about then tearing. Somewhere around the 1980's Publix got wise and quit trying to nickle and dime on the bags and they started to double all bags. But not while I was working there.

    But I digress. Back to day one. It was on a Thursday. The Grand Opening was to run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Back then Publix closed on Sundays. They didn't tell us nuthin. So we just started bagging groceries non stop. I was wondering if that was going to be it for my life. Just non stop grocery bagging till the end of time. Back then the average grocery order came to about $25 bucks which would be four of the big 50 lbs bags filling up one grocery cart. That probably represented about a weeks groceries for an average family.

    But then around noon they started telling us in shifts that we could take a lunch break now. That was the first time I found out that we would get a break. I can't remember how long we had. I think a half hour, but it might have been more. But you had to clock out of course and then clock back in when you were done. I remember what I got for lunch though. I went back to the cold case and got a cuban sandwich and then a quart of skim milk form the dairy case. The cuban was 25 cents. The milk was the same. So 50 cents plus two cents tax for lunch. I ate it in the back of the store, then clocked back in. We got another break around dinner time. Then it was non stop bagging till closing time. They locked the doors at 9 pm but there were still customers in the store. So a few of us kept bagging while the rest started clean up. First you swept the aisles. Lot of cigarette butts on the floor because smoking was allowed in the stores back then. Then we wet moped, followed that up with a dry mop, then a wax mop, and finally we ran the buffer. And of course some unlucky dude got to do the bathrooms.
    I got home but I could not sleep. I would close my eyes and all I could see was an endless stream of groceries coming at me that I had to bag. And I'm wondering if this is going to be it for the summer? Thirteen hours a day six days a week? I kind of complained to my mom that night about how they hadn't given us a clue as to what our schedules were going to be and what if this is it? Thirteen hours a day six days a week? And all she said back to me was "Think of all the money you will make".

    Anyway, Saturday was a repeat of the first two days. By now I've got the process down pretty good. I'm just a grocery bagging robot. One of my favorite assignments was if I could be lucky enough to be the guy that the assistant manager picked to go out into the parking lot and round up all the carts and bring them back in. That was a plum assignment to me. Fresh air and freedom from those groceries, even if just for a little while.

    When 10 o'clock Saturday night rolled around and all the customers were gone and the store cleaned up the big store manager, his name was Irby Long, Mr. Long to us low lifes came and talked to us. It was the first time he had even acknowledged our existence. Up until the then we had taken our orders from either the assistant manager, or the next dude down the chain who was referred to as "The third man". He handed out our schedules for the next week and to my relief they had me down for about 20 hours. That was the first time I found out that it was going to be 13 hours a day every day.
    "What we've got here, is failure to communicate."



  9. #9
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    Other than normal kid stuff like mowing yards and shoveling snow my first 'Real' job was at a full service car wash back in the early 60's.......some days I'd work the vacuums when cars first came in and some days I'd dry on the end as the cars exited.

    I was underage so the owner paid me in cash and I believe the minimum wage back then was around $1.25 per hour.sign.jpgvaccum.jpgdry.jpg

  10. #10
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    During my high school years, I was an usher at Detroit's Fox Theater.

    When the theater was filled, the lady in the box office would post her sign "SRO" (Standing Room Only).

    People would buy a ticket and ACTUALLY stand against the wall until seats were available !

    I sure wouldn't do that today. Would YOU ?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by IKE View Post
    Other than normal kid stuff like mowing yards and shoveling snow my first 'Real' job was at a full service car wash back in the early 60's.......some days I'd work the vacuums when cars first came in and some days I'd dry on the end as the cars exited.
    "What we've got here, is failure to communicate."



  12. #12
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    The House of Ushers!

  13. #13
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    I don't remember that fair and square warning, but we did patrol the aisles, with our trusty flashlights, and warned kids about the noise and putting their feet up on the seat in front of them. The older kids liked to sit up in the balcony and toss popcorn on the folks below. If things got real bad, we were told to call the manager and not get involved.
    My wife asked me how to thaw a turkey? I said I usually just tell your mom a few jokes. If that doesn't work there's always alcohol.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon View Post
    During my high school years, I was an usher at Detroit's Fox Theater.

    When the theater was filled, the lady in the box office would post her sign "SRO" (Standing Room Only).

    People would buy a ticket and ACTUALLY stand against the wall until seats were available !

    I sure wouldn't do that today. Would YOU ?
    I was an usher also....Did you have to stop the neckers???

  15. #15
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    Why don't movie theaters have ushers anymore?

    "Today, a typical usher doesn't have time to perform luxury tasks for the audience, as his or her job has expanded to include the roles of ticket taker, snack bar attendant and custodian. Today's ushers don't make much money, either. The average wage for a movie usher is around $9 per hour, or $18,900 a year [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]. What's more, going to the movies isn't the event it used to be back in the '40s and '50s. Catching a flick is a super-casual experience; back then, it was a grand night out and patrons were treated grandly, too".



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