Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen yet, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.
I turned 16 in 1973. We didn’t have cell phones or computers. Television had 4 channels. I spent a lot of my time at the movies. There was a movie theater down the street called The Flick Twin Cinema. I went almost every day.
We didn’t have videos or DVDs. There was no now-defunct Blockbuster or Netflix. If you wanted to see a movie you had to leave the house.
I loved going to the movies. The Exorcist, American Graffiti, Serpico, The Sting, The Way We Were, Soylent Green, Scream Blacula Scream, The Paper Chase, Magnum Force, Blackenstein… I would see the same movie every day for 2 weeks and never get tired of it.
On the weekends they would show a horror double-feature. I would sit in the theater from the time it opened until the time it closed. I would watch: House of Wax, Night of the Living Dead, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, Gruesome Twosome, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things…over and over again. I would walk home in the dark, still thinking about flesh-eating zombies, with a very unsettling feeling in my stomach.
Sometimes I would clean the theater for free so that I could get one of the movies posters displayed out front whenever they stopped showing the movie. Plus, I got free popcorn.
I remember when the Flick first opened. Brand new. The curtains covering the screen were a horrid burnt orange. They opened at the beginning of every movie and closed when the movie was over. There was no Dolby sound system.
On top of the theater was a big red neon sign that said FLICK. If you looked at it from the right angle, or at a distance, it looked like it said FUCK. It’s gone now; as is the theater. The building is still there, but it is now a furniture store. It’s not ugly brown anymore. It’s white and blue.
Anyway, that’s who I was when I was 16. I big movie freak. Escaping from the bullying at school and the break-up of my parents. Sometimes, I go back there and stand in the parking lot, just staring at the building. Hoping that somehow I am magically transported back to the time that I walked through the doors for the very first time.