Built in the art deco style, this movie theatre was the heart of social life in my hometown for those who loved Hollywood movies. My mother, of course, was an avid fan of the glitz and glamour. My father adored Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. My mother had American pen pals who sent her packages of magazines, from memory, Photoplay and Silver Screen. She would pour over them before her afternoon siesta. She never parted with a single magazine.
Empire Talkies was also a place where many teens experienced their first kiss. You knew who was on a date when you saw them choose the back row. Upstairs was even more private with individual booths. I can remember the twentysomethings avoiding the younger crowd’s gaze when coming down the stairs! The movie would be shown all week. Western cowboy movies were always a big hit, so was any movie with Elvis in it.
My sister was a huge fan of The Beatles. When they came to India my parents had to keep close watch on her because they thought she would take off to try and meet them in the far north! When the movie ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ was released she pleaded with the manager to give her one of the movie posters which she cherished. She watched the movie all week for every session. I think he only relented to get rid of her!
I, too, love movies but unlike my mother, I’m a fan of only a few Hollywood movies. My favourite picture of all time is Babette’s Feast. A movie of generosity of spirit. I love it more each time I watch it. Sitting on a blanket under stars watching movies with pizza and wine during the Perth Festival is a fond memory with a friend. Days I would love to experience again.
The beautiful movie theatre no longer exists. Built by a prominent Bollywood acting family considered ‘acting royalty’, it is a crumbled ruin. It saddens me to know this. Many a teenage love story would start with “Remember when we went to Empire ….”. The building may have been crushed by time, hopefully, memories last longer.
Until next time
a dawn bird
In response to Ragtag Daily Prompt: Picture