Sunday, Jun 24, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

These days, dinner and a movie can be in the theater

Along with not walking enough, failing to drive past ice cream shops, ignoring the sale signs on clothing racks, and driving miles to find gas for a penny less, there is another serious glitch in my lifestyle.

I do not go to the movies enough.

Once or twice a year is a bad record, not just for the motion picture industry but also personally, because each time I go it's enjoyable. On Oscar nights I make a list of the winning movies that I would like to see. Then first thing you know, it's another Oscar night and I may have crossed off only one from the previous year's selections that I wanted to see.

Now, after a delightful solo movie night out in Toledo, I hope I will make movie-going a regular pastime. The drive from Posey Lake will be shortened considerably when the Hudson Cinema, in downtown Hudson, opens soon.

My big night out at the movies was when I accidentally hit Cinema De Lux Maumee on the right day. If timing is everything, my choice of movies on a Wednesday was perfect. Seniors are charged $3.50 on Wednesdays, or about half price.

The perks continued. The movie I had chosen was in the directors' hall, which means I was invited to select my seat on a chart at the ticket desk. That advantage continued when the ticket was handed in and the employee escorted me to my selected seat. Wow. I should do this more often.

One movie auditorium in the complex is designated as the directors' hall. Usually it is the location of a popular movie. Customers can reserve their seats in the directors' hall either online or by telephone. There may be an additional charge, depending on the film. Which auditorium is designated the directors' hall is announced in the newspaper advertisement.

There has never been an excuse to go hungry in a theater, but to sit down in a cafe for a light supper and a drink was new to me. Chatters is the name of small cafes at the Maumee complex and also at Cinemas De Lux Franklin Park. Limited menus feature sandwiches and other light fare and full bar service with designer martinis. Like the discounted ticket and being escorted to my seat, waiting for the movie to open while eating a bowl of chicken corn chowder ($3.95) at Chatters was unexpected. My cordial waiter, Ramon, got the soup piping hot and kept my coffee cup filled.

Looking out from Chatters, located in the corner of the lobby, into the spacious theater that was beginning to fill with people, my mind raced back to early movie days at the Croswell Theater in Adrian. There were two movie theaters in Adrian for many years. The Family Theater was the "cheapie," where class B movies were shown and the admission was only a dime. The Green Hornet at the Family was my Superman.

Croswell tickets were a quarter for films with leading Hollywood stars. That was a lot of money in the 1940s, when I was paid $1 each to clean large Adrian houses. To spend a quarter, it had better be a good show. Nickel Holloway suckers, a big block of tooth-decaying caramel on a stick, lasted the whole show. I don't know how much popcorn cost because we had a lot of that at home, so it wasn't a treat.

Years later I ran the corn-popping machine at the Croswell. That was when everyone wanted it drenched in butter. Cholesterol was not in our vocabulary. I suppose you could say that is where my food career began.

Motion pictures were discontinued in 1967 after showings of The Sound of Music. Today the historic Croswell Opera House, circa 1866, is known for live theater productions. For the record, it is air-conditioned. A Croswell ticket promotion is fascinating for those of us who watched our first movies there, and maybe even held hands. Upper Peninsula tickets are $5 less than the main-floor tickets. The UP is the balcony. In my high school heyday, a dating couple would have paid more for dark and intimate UP seats.

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