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So sad the Cine Capri is no longer with us. I had just posted a lengthy remembrance of the Valley Art last night, when I came across this. I saw Star Wars at the Capri back in ‘77…7 or 8 times as I recall, and for as long as I live, I’ll never forget when that enormous rebel ship flew into the frame from the top of that big beautiful curved screen.
I was the assistant manager for most of the first half of 1979, and worked under Jan Ogsbury. I was 23 years old when I was hired. Although I was only at the Valley Art for a short period of time, itâ€™s the most memorable job I have ever had.
I remember a guy who worked there named Casey, who left shortly after I arrived, as well as a really sweet girl named Helen. There was another girl whoâ€™s name I donâ€™t recall, but I do remember having a crush on her. She was a huge Yankees fan, and that was right around the time of the plane crash that killed Thurman Munson. She was pretty broken up over it, and I felt really, really bad for her. There were also these two guys who I think were brothers who didnâ€™t work at the theater, but who would always stop by to chat before we opened. They were really smart and seemed to know something about nearly everything we would talk about. They might have been twins, but Iâ€™m not too sure about that.
There was another regular at the Valley Art who wasnâ€™t an employee, but she might as well have been. Her name was Pat (her last name escapes me), and she was the self-appointed â€˜den motherâ€™ for all the Rocky Horror midnight shows. She was a very dedicated RHPS and Tim Curry fan. We always let Pat in for free, and she really kept things under control during the shows. After all, we always had a theater full of young people (including some who had been drinking), holding newspapers over their heads and firing up their Bic lighters. Pat made sure that no one ever started a fire, or was otherwise obnoxious. She was a real gem, and was very much a part of the Valley Art family. I remember we shared the same birthday, and I have some very fond memories of her.
Of course I remember Bill the projectionist. He was quite a character, and despite his outward appearance, he was a nice, gentle man (although he was rather protective of his projection room!).
I can easily recall my most memorable night at the theater. I was in charge that night, as Jan was off. We had just gotten everyone settled in the house for Rocky Horror, and I was in the lobby when the preview reel started. Now, I have to explain that we changed films every few days, and the reels were â€˜bicycledâ€™ to us by a delivery truck from Parallax. Those 35 millimeter film reel cans were extremely heavy. Bill couldnâ€™t lift them due to his condition, and it was all the rest of us could do to heft those puppies up that old, steep, narrow flight of stairs to the projection room. As an aside, thereâ€™s an episode of Northern Exposure where theyâ€™re having a film festival in Cicely, and the Janine Turner character is seen lifting the same kind of big film reel cans out of the back of her truck like they were boxes of doughnuts. I always get a big laugh out of that episode whenever I see it. Butâ€¦I digress. Although the films got bicycled to us from other theaters in the Parallax chain, all the promotional materials (press kits, one-sheets, trailers, etc) were shipped from the distributors directly to the Valley Art. Now every once in awhile, we would exhibit cut-down R-rated soft core versions of what were originally X-rated pictures. We would never get the X-rated version of the actual films, but since the distributors didnâ€™t know what kind of an â€˜artâ€™ theater we were, we would either receive the R-rated trailers, X-rated trailers, or both. The X-rated trailers always had a big red band around them with a printed warning, and of course, we were never to exhibit those.
Anyway, I was in the lobby when the preview reel started (you can see where this is going), and all of a sudden I heard some very loud shrieks, gasps, wolf calls, and all sorts of garden-variety screams coming from the house. I stuck my head in the theater and there on the screen, our Rocky Horror patrons were being treated to full-blown (no pun intended) hard-core sex. Usually Bill screened the preview reel before showtime, but for some reason that night, he didnâ€™t get to it. He claimed that he didnâ€™t put anything in the trailer reel with a red band, and I always believed him. Somehow, the red band never found it’s way to that particular trailer. I remember Bill felt bad that it had gotten by him, but by that time-there was really nothing we could do about it. Here we had all these â€˜donâ€™t dream it, be itâ€™ theatergoers who probably thought they were pretty sexually sophisticated. Keep in mind that a lot of these kids were still in high school, and it amazes me to this day that we didnâ€™t get a single complaint from a patron, or more importantly, a parent.