After my freshmen year in 1977, I got my first job working at my hometown theatre. Last night, my first boss, Mr. Clark, paid me a spiritual visit. Given his ripe sense of humor, he appeared in the form of a McDonald’s Big Mac hamburger. You see, his first name was Mack!
Once I verbally acknowledged the connection, I felt an energetic hug. He and I then took a trip down memory lane, as he magically shared moments I hadn’t thought about in years.
My early employee antics made good fodder for Mr. Clark’s witticisms. He often joked that I was the only projectionist that fell going up the stairs. Ditto for my having to use a step stool to reach the top reel case of the ginormous projectors! Grace was not my finest work trait.
In those days, 35 millimeter prints of movies would be delivered on Friday afternoons in two tin canisters, each containing three modest-sized reels, which then had to be spliced together in sequential order on two larger projector reels. There were occasions when I got the smaller reels in the wrong place, thus making the films, The Boys From Brazil and Exorcist II: The Heretic, even more confusing than they already were!
From the concession stand to the marquee, I got a full behind-the-scenes experience of what it took to operate an odeon.
But, my favorite memory of working for Mr. Clark was our shared fondness for the silver screen. He was a movie business veteran, having previously ran the now defunct Coffee Drive-In and Levy Theatre before owning the cinema in which I was employed. While giving me rides home in his El Camino after the evenings’ second show, he often shared stories of his early career.
I bet Mr. Clark will be there in spirit tearing ticket stubs!
Love and light,