Life in the Ville by Jimmy Del Ponte
(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)
Remember the dancing and singing popcorn box and soda cups inviting us to buy refreshments at the movies? Sure you do. Do you remember the first movie you saw at a Somerville movie theater? Some of us do. My parents took us to the drive-in when we were really young where we saw The Blob in 1958. My first movie theater shows were Ben Hur in 1959 and 101 Dalmatians in 1961 at Davis Square. We also saw The Shaggy Dog with Fred MacMurray in 1959. In 1965 my mother took us to see The Sound Of Music.
I, for one, only remember going to The Davis Square Theatre and the Broadway Theatre, although there were many more Somerville movie houses in the past. Two of them were in Teele Square, and Ball Square. Here come some testimonials:
Carol says, “I think we paid 15 cents to get in the movies. Two cartoons and a movie for 15 cents, plus candy! We hardly ever saw the whole movie because my cousin would always get in trouble and we would get thrown out! (perhaps tossing Jujubes off the balcony?)”
KN tells us: “We saw The Three Stooges in The Outlaws is Coming in 1965 and I think we paid 50 cents.”
MH shares this: “When we went to the Davis Square Theatre, we would buy popcorn at Gorins and candy at The Smoke Shop because it was cheaper. My dad got mad because we took my little sister to see Blazing Saddles. No PG-13 back then! We saw Hello Dolly in 1969, Willy Wonka in 1971 and Jaws in 1975 at the Broadway Theatre.”
Saturday afternoons at Davis…“I think it was 35 cents (I would get 50) you would ‘go in’ with another guy one would buy popcorn for 10 cents and one would buy tonic for 10 cents and each would buy a box of candy and we’d all split everything.”
“My parents would give us each $2.00 (yikes!) which would cover the bus ride which I think it was .10 each way, admission to the theater, candy, popcorn and soda! Ah, the good ole days!”
“We saw American Graffiti in 1973. My brother Danny snuck us in. We usually went to the Broadway Theatre but Davis was a hell of a lot cleaner!”
This guy goes way back! “On Saturdays, they ran two feature movies and several mini- series plus food for .25cents! Sometimes Major Mudd or Big Brother Bob Emery would show up! Remember those guys?”
Woody remembers a Beatles movie fest in Davis Square, and lots of those Elvis movies.
Here are some of the movies we saw back then. Carrie, Swiss Family Robinson, Shirley Temple, The Lone Ranger, TheThing, Where The Boys Are, 007, Smokey and the Bandit, Lassie Come Home, Buck Rogers, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Frankenstein,The Mummy, Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Goldfinger, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
My movie memories include my dad taking us to the drive in our pajamas. In later years I recall hiding in the trunk of cars to avoid paying. I would have to say that Swiss Family Robinson in 1960 (when I was 7 years old) was the most memorable and exciting movie I have ever seen.
We got to see our movies in a full size theatre, not one of those tiny mini-plex things. Of course, we also had to sit through the rumbling, shaking and rattling that happened every time a freight train rolled through Davis Square.
My son is the third generation of Del Ponte men to work at The Somerville Theatre. We will do anything for free popcorn.