“Look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!”
Superman is a hero like none other. He saves the humankind from our own misguided ambitions. He saves baby carriages from careening taxis. He saves Lois Lane from practically everything. The man of steel is invincible against all foes, except Kryptonite, the glowing chunk of his home planet wielded recklessly by the evil Lex Luthor.
Growing up, I used to watch the reruns of the Superman serial starring George Reeves. In 1978, Christopher Reeve donned the red cape to stop bullets and soar through the skyline of Metropolis. The special effects stole my breath. The cast was fabulous. The box office take was stupendous. The sequels ensued.
In 1981, Reeve returned to face bad guys from his own planet, and my best friend, Tonya, and I were anxious to see what happened next.
We saved up our babysitting money, put on our matching sailor-collar tops, and headed for the Fox Twin Theatre on Wolflin Avenue. We smuggled a whole bag of M&Ms into the theatre so we would only have to buy cokes. Back then, candy was something like a dollar a box, and we barely made the cost of the $2.50 student ticket.
We got to the theatre early enough to see the previews of coming attractions and allowed the lights to dim before we took out our contraband snack, so as not to get caught. The problem was that, then as now, the plastic construction of the M&M bag is tough enough to challenge the likes of Superman himself.
We dug our fingernails in. We tried biting at the corner of the bag. We tried tugging at the seams. It wouldn’t budge. In frustration, Tonya and I each grabbed a side along the top edge of the bag and pulled with all our might. The bag relinquished, and a fountain of a hundred M&Ms flew into the air and then showered down on us, and anyone sitting nearby. The tiny round candies then made a happy little noise as they rolled all the way down the sloped floor to the front screen wall of the room.
We were so devastated at the loss we began giggling. The people around us realized immediately what happened and they began to laugh. I’m pretty sure that from the silver screen Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder both shot us a dirty look.
I’d like to say I learned my lesson about smuggling candy into movie theatres from this sad incident. I know it’s wrong. My brain struggles with the idea of paying $5 for ten Milk Duds.
I know making movies is expensive. I know that concessions is basically the only way the theatres actually make any money, considering most films take 100% of the box office revenue.
It’s the price we pay. We want the whole experience. We want to watch our favorite celebrities doing amazing things while we eat popcorn and junior mints. We want to sit in the stadium seats with the cup holder armrests. We even like the sound of our shoes sticking to the floors just a little bit.
Where else will you see a chiseled man in leotards flying across the sky?
That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema! Thanks for reading!