Raiders of the Lost Nostalgia

“I’m making this up as I go along.”~Indiana Jones, action-adventure movie star

Plymouth, Michigan. Penn Theater, one-screen movie theater complete with red curtains that slide open to reveal the screen. Admission $3 and a small popcorn $1.50. Weekends are past current releases, December features Christmas favorites, and summer Thursdays are retro classics. The movie started a 7pm. This picture was taken at 5:50pm. See the line?  I got in line and the box office opened 10 minutes early to accommodate the crowd. The concession crowd, that is.


Another single moviegoer sat next to me and we talked about our recollections of Raiders and what that really meant to us, each of us. It wasn’t just a movie, although if you had to choose one for a desert island, this is not a poor choice.

It was a reminder that special effects can enhance a movie, not define it. It was the memory of childhood, the safe, the familiar, the comforting. It was about remembering seeing this movie or others like it 12 times as a kid. It was about mom and dad and friends. That’s what this experience was for me, as it was to the woman next to me. Based on the crowd composition, I’d say that was a factor to just about everyone there.  From my vantage point, there was one seat empty, and that was in the row in front of me.

I met an older woman who had never seen it. Countless groups of 30- and 40-somethings clustered in rows with their $2.25 medium popcorn and $1.50 drinks. Numerous families came with their young kids, despite that end Ark scene on the island. Why worry, after all? We all saw it and lived through it, and that scene is tame compared to the movie gore of today. Despite knowing the plot, that scene still got gasps and ewwwwwws from this mostly-adult crowd. I know I clenched my hands and held my breath more than once throughout. The audience clapped when the Paramount logo appeared and again at the end when the credits began to roll. That’s what makes a good crowd.

Nostalgia. I sucked in every moment of it.

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