A Movie Man’s Lament. —– by outafocus

posted by Jim Miller on September 1, 2006 at 4:50 am

A Movie Man’s Lament

Back some time, more than a century ago,
Edison came up with what we now call a picture show.
He worked and he worked to make still pictures move
And started a NEW art that would never hang in the Louvre
He filmed people doing things like kissing and walking,
and the people were thrilled though they never heard talking
These moving pictures were miraculous to behold,
and people loved the nickelodeons, so daring and bold
Then some enterprising showmen got into the act,
and said we’ll tell stories on film, both fiction and fact!

So instead of 5 minute vignettes came a mighty creation,
the first BIG movie called “Birth Of A Nation”.
From then on movies churned out of old Hollywood,
and the industry got bigger than even Edison thought it could!
They made lavish musicals with big massive props,
and made wonderful comedies, with “The Keystone Kops”.
Theaters were building in towns all around,
and FINALLY someone said “I think movies need sound”!
So they found a BIG star, they couldn’t use a “ringer”,
and starred Al Jolson in WB’s “The Jazz Singer”.
From that day on, movies were never the same,
They made wonderful productions, and films of acclaim.
In 1939 movie quality peaked, and everyone would attend,
movies like “The Grapes Of Wrath, and "Gone With The Wind"
Then World War II raised it’s ugly head,
and the studios made war training films, instead.
Lots of stars went to war, like Stewart and Gable,
and every brave GI had a pinup of beautiful Betty Grable.
A few fair films were made at this time,
that dealt with hooligans, murderers and all sorts of crime.
Then "Casablanca” hit the big silver screen,
and many thought it was the best film they’d ever seen
By war’s end the people were ready and clamoring,
for something light hearted and much more enamoring
MGM came out with musicals, lavish and lithe,
20th Fox introduced us to lovely Ann Blythe
Columbia’s short subjects gave us the Stooges three,
Universal’s “Kettles” made us laugh with glee
Then TV hit movie attendance with a mighty fist,
The studios had to develop something with a new twist.
20th Fox said super wide screens are the way to go,
and brought CinemaScope into the movie show.
Others thought 3-D would bring people in,
but though it did work, the glasses were annoying as sin.
Some great films came out, but attendance was low
Things were grim for the old movie show,
Then all of a sudden, the 60s came in,
and movies finally overcame TV’s loud din
People said “Let’s leave the couch, we need to go out”,
Movies were the best entertainment value, of that there’s no doubt.
So theaters started popping up, both big and small,
and an idea came up to put one in a mall!
That idea took off, and we forgot the TV hex,
Then someone got the idea for the modern multiplex.
Twin theaters were born, then three screens and four,
Now there are places called Cinemas Galore!
They now have stadium seating and digital sound,
high prices, bad service, and no charm I’ve found.
The movies were once a magical thing,
The people all gasped when they heard Jolson sing.
They cried when Bogie left Ingrid at the plane,
and were thrilled to see Gene Kelly Singin' In The Rain
Movie Palaces are gone, REAL movie stars gone too,
Nowadays special effects, and noise is supposed to enchant you.
Theaters now are shoeboxes with loud digital noise,
There are few adult stars now, just some talentless girls and boys.
I miss the days when theaters were big, and had only one screen,
These days it’s quaint to have only eighteen!
I miss the way movies used to be,
when acting and storyline is what entertained me.

Comments (8)

willis on September 1, 2006 at 9:11 pm

I share you loss, outafocus. Nice job.

dfc on September 4, 2006 at 4:10 am

The movie game
isn’t the same,
the screens are hurt by DVD,
and declining theater quality,
families stay home to avoid sticky floors,
and more theaters close their doors,
theater owners are in a bind,
forced to go digital in an uncertain time,
we don’t know what the future will hold,
maybe the movie experience has just gotten old??

Jim Miller
Jim Miller on September 4, 2006 at 7:15 am

I came up with the poem,
Because when I got home
from a multiplex theatre in town,
My ears were ringing from WAY too loud digital sound!
I’ve been out of the business now for 13 years,
and when I left it, I did shed some tears,
But the way the business has changed in this decade or so,
I realize that it was best that I did go.
I look back fondly at the cinema’s glory days,
but they were so long ago they’re beginning to haze
DVDs, Home Theatre have taken the place
of the movie show theatre once filled with grace.

dfc on September 4, 2006 at 8:31 am

The moviehouses of grace are long forgotten,
and Hollywood product is too often rotten,
now many theater patrons act like asses,
scaring away the quiet masses,
more theaters and multis fade away,
as real estate developers rule the day.

schmadrian on September 5, 2006 at 1:29 am

Family dinners.
Respect for elders and authority.
LIfe-long job security.
Church-going, God-fearing.
Marriages forever.
Dad at work, Mom at home.

Those were the days.

But as we all unknowingly sign up for our free-market, capitalist, democratic system, we don’t quite understand/accept that the bottom-line…
…is the almighty dollar.
That this angers some people, because the drive for ‘filthy lucre’ brings on change, change that some don’t want to see, bemuses me.
As much as the loss of each and every cinema treasure saddens me.

But then I also let go heavy sighs when I see a delapidated motel. Or a bowling alley demolished. Or a local bar abandoned. And let’s not even bring up the subject of ‘ghost towns’.

If you really want to stop so much change from happening…change the value system.
But that’s a quest that’s far beyond this commentator’s abilities, in either poetry or prose.

Remember though, that if you’re not part of the ‘solution’, you’re part of the problem.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 15, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Boy,Don’t we all"miss movies the way they use to be."

TLSLOEWS on June 17, 2010 at 10:36 am

You said it Mike!!I have been to one movie in the last ten years,pretty sad for a guy who used to work in them 6 days a week and go to a movie on my day off,most of the time free of course.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Golly, You sound more and more like me.On my night off my date,Bev and me would catch a movie.Wouldn’t go anywhere else.Always a movie and always at a ABC/plitt theatre in Augusta where i always got in free and did not wait in a line.God bless that girl.

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