Sunday, August 2, 2009

McHale's Navy & Death From Above

Don't ask me what prompted this,but while working on some artwork, I got to thinking about something from my childhood wholly disconnected from what I was doing.

I've mentioned the Plano Theatre, which was in Plano, Illinois... but now long gone with a Casey's covenience store sitting there. It was at this theatre that I saw one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life. It always brings at least a smile to my face, sometimes I still laugh out loud about it.

As I mentioned in my post on King Kong Vs. Godzilla, the theatre had a summer matinee series in the mid to late 1960s showing flicks on Wednesday afternoons. There were loads of scifi and horror films screened, which isn't surprising due to the audience being made up almost entirely of kids (I pity the adults who tried to actual watch the movie with their kids).
There were also lots of comedies including Jerry Lewis movies, Munster Go Home, Batman (with Adam West) and McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force... the latter of which was the memorable screening. Hold on, I'm not talking about the movie itself. That was mostly unfunny. What happened during that showing could have happened to any film.

As luck would have it, on that day we had one of our summer thunderstorms. The kid audience was having a tough time paying attention to the movie while they heard the thunder from the storm that came along while the movie was on. This was a nervous bunch of kiddies, probably a great number of them still scared of storms (obviously they hadn't got the "Angels are bowling" talk like my mom gave to me).

The storm, very obviously, was getting worse outside... and then the power went out. The whole crowd screamed. For only a moment, the lights came on and then went back out. In that brief moment I saw something hilarious. I don't know who he was, but there was this little blond-haired boy in jeans and a t-shirt. He was out of his seat and running down the aisle waving his hands yelling with a smile on his face. In the last moment, he deliberately fell down and rolled on the floor, still waiving his arms. Then, darkness, with renewed screams. Soon, they got the power back on, and it was determined that the rest of the film would not be shown. To appease us, they still had their regular matinee finale, giving away one girl's and one boy's bicycle. It was very wet but sunny when we got out, as if the storm was a dream.

I didn't care if I saw the end of the movie (and I've never seen or wanted to see it since), I got my entertainment for the day. In the midst of madness, one unknown kid defied fear and the possibility of horrible tornado death and had the time of his life. He did it laughing.

To that kid, I've just gotta say: Thanks for the laugh!

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