The Picture Show

From Grandma's house at Court and Fifth Streets it was just two blocks to the Picture Show. Cross the deep gravel of Fifth and head over to Main. Stroll east down the block to the Home Filling Station with the drinking fountain out by the sidewalk for a sip from "the best water in Pierce". We believed it. Listen to the ching-ching as a car drove up to the pump, wheels rolling across those pink rubber hoses, and to the locusts droning in the elm trees. Inhale the aroma of leaded gasoline. The driver cranks down his window and says, "Fillerup!" At the corner, cross to the south side of the street. There's no street light, but it's still early in the evening. The teenagers aren't cruising up and down Main yet, honking and showing off. The Ford dealership is closed. Just past it you'll come to the Picture Show. Dad will tell about riding in the truck to take the film reels from one town to the next late at night, after the Saturday screening. Walk on by, maybe headed to see Grandma down at the nursing home, or just getting fresh air and walking off a big meal. If you're lucky, you'll get a soft-serve cone at the Dairy Sweet.

The magic of the names, or maybe it's the music of the names against the bass of locust buzzing and even walking tempo. I reinforce the map of those evening walks in my memory, afraid of forgetting that sense of safety, and stories, and interwoven local history. Steinkraus notions, Rosenkoter Rexall Drug with the revolving racks of comic books in the front window, Cones State Bank, the Co-op and Creamery, Turek Shoes, German's Market, Dr. Deevers, Ulrick Meat Market, Buckendahl's garage, the Council Oak grocery, the Pierce County Leader, maybe past Mrs. Lundak's house.

Only went to see The Picture once. Visiting Grandma without my parents, my aunt sent me off to see Elvis Presley in "Kissin' Cousins" with some local kids I didn't know from beans. Part way through the motion picture I decided my parents wouldn't approve of Elvis, plus I couldn't find a restroom in the theatre. Funny, I was more afraid of my folks hearing I'd seen an Elvis movie than of walking back to Grandma's house by myself in the dark.

Elvis Movie "Kissin' Cousins" (1964)
In Kissing Cousins movie you see Elvis in double role, as a soldier (Josh Morgan) and in a blonde wig as a hillbilly, Jodie Tatum. The army wants to take over a backwoods mountain that the Tatum family owns, and use it as a military base. The soldier, Josh Morgan, is sent in as he is a distant relative of the Tatums. Jodie is against the intrusion - so the two distant cousins get to fussing and fighting in a comedy-style. Romance is brought in with Yvonne Craig as another Tatum family member trying to steal Elvis' heart.

The film includes the Elvis songs "Kissin' Cousins", "Smokey Mountain Boy", "One Boy, Two Little Girls", "Catchin' on Fast", "Tender Feeling" and "Barefoot Ballad", "Once Is Enough".

Went to see "The Illusionist" Friday. Loved it, and the theater even had a restroom! Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti were wonderful. The con was almost as satisfying as "The Sting". In the middle of the night, waking up to worry about my dad, I worked my way back through the movie, enjoying the artistry, figuring out the plot twists. Not Elvis gyrating hip twists! Back to sleep, but with teenagers cruising Main Street and the county truck driving down the alleys spraying for mosquitoes. Get your rest before the mourning doves start cooing.

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

I recently found a postcard of the Main Street of my hometown and had much fun and frustration trying to remember the name of every store. I thought I had stashed the names of them all safely into my memory for eternity, but to my surprise, I had completely left out several of them.


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