About me ...

In 1954 my parents must have decided I was old enough to go to the movies. This privilege carried a caveat. I was under the supervision of my older sister Joan. She was 11 and I was 6. We were accompanied by my 5-year-old nephew Phil. Thus began a series of Saturday and Sunday matinees at the Pix theatre, a vast room of darkness, fold-down cushion seats, sticky concrete floors, and — directly above our heads — a prism of light that somehow converted to images and sound, both wonderful.

Movie selection was simple. We watched whatever was showing. In my memory, we went almost every Saturday with some Sundays added in. We had seen preview trailers one week earlier, so we knew what to expect. We also had the Movie Calendar, given away for free at the concession stand each month. Those calendars served as both a memory box of past redoubts and a road map planner for future adventures. The old Pix was our past sanctuary and our future vision. Without realizing it, we were learning about a world beyond our small West Texas town.

    A Movie Calendar has its own story. It is an example of ephemera, something designed to exist for a very brief time. In fact, many movie calendars list only the month, but not the year, it was printed. A calendar’s purpose was to provide information for a short period. Historical context was never the original intent.

    And yet, Movie Calendars are rich with just that, a context of the times in which they existed. Consider this free giveaway from Bob’s Theatre in Twin Bridges, Montana, December, 1942. December 11th of that year was the one year anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The eight movies advertised are a mix, including one classic,  John Sturges’ “Sullivan’s Travels.” A classic of another kind is “Holiday Inn,” a movie that introduced a classic American song,  “White Christmas.” Rounding it out is “King’s Row,” a movie that co-stars a future U.S. president who, in context, is among the most famous individuals of the late 20th Century. He receives third billing.

    There is also the calendar itself, an object — in truth, a mortal swatch of paper — that briefly came into someone’s life. Was it some young girl who calculated how much money was left after the 15  or 40 cent admission? And what about that kiss?