Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Matinee at the Bijou

I saw on the news last night that one of the industries bucking the recession were the movies. In fact, apparently ticket sales are up a bit because people are looking for some kind of respite from the steady drumbeat of bad news.

As the report acknowledged, it's not an unprecedented behavior in Americans, who did much the same thing in the 1930's. Damn. That's another Depression parallel. Where'd I put that stack of dvd's?

Of course, moviegoing then and moviegoing now are slightly different species, even if you only count trips to an actual movie theater instead of watching a dvd on the couch. In those pre-television days, the movie house tailored its shows to be all things to all people. At the matinee showing, one dime for admission would get you a cartoon, newsreels, the latest chapter of the current serial, trailers (we will always have trailers), and, of course, the feature presentation. Maybe even a double feature on a good week.

Of course, those days are long gone and nobody should mistake this post for a desire to return to them (little things like World War II being foremost among the best reasons why not). But it's interesting to see that in hard times you'll find Americans taking refuge in a surefire haven for happy endings or, at least, people with worse problems than ours: At the movies.

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