Saturday Afternoon Matinee

When I was a kid in Toronto every child went to the Saturday Movie Matinee. There was usually a double feature and at least three cartoons. We lived near the Mount Pleasant and Belsize Theaters till we moved to the beach, then went to the Fox and Prince of Wales. We always had to watch for the ushers were usually older teenagers with a flashlight who could roust out any obstreperous spit ball, pea shooting kids.

My first evening movie, I went with my aunt and cousin to the Mount Pleasant and saw, Mario Lanza in The Great Caruso, then The Glass Menagerie. During intermission, there was a draw from your ticket stub number. Prizes were given away. Sets of dishes, glassware, radios and binoculars were popular. Occasionally there would be an onstage demonstration of Yoyos. Somebody showing tricks like, walk the baby, and the sleeper. Yoyos were then sold in the lobby.

Our favorite Saturday line up would include any swashbuckling pirate movie. Errol Flynn, any beautifully gowned female stars in some bodice ripper. Cast with Charles Laughton and Maurine O'Hara. Exploding cannons, burning mast and a Jolly Rogers being run up, during a clashing sword fight, brought kids racing to their seats..

Zorro, Roy Rogers, Dale Evan and Gabby Hayes and any Road shows with Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were packed out.

Kids could sneak in the side doors once the movie started. During intermission kids would run for popcorn or a pack of Mackintosh's creamy toffee. One kid was always left to save a row of seats. The seat saver always got an extra share of candy. Everyone would rush back just in time for a cartoon. Chip and Dale,Woody Woodpecker,Sylvester, Tweety Bird and Bugs Bunny were always a hit.

After the first matinee, aisles were raked out of popcorn, boxes and candy wrappers. Pop bottles were taken home. They were worth two cents.

My sister and brothers and I frequently stayed to watch the first movie over again. In the winter this made us late home after dark, a cold supper and worried parents standing at the door. We also ran the risk of being grounded.

Saturday Afternoon Matinee

Bev Campbell was born and raised in Toronto's Beach neighbourhood. She specializes in pen and ink architecture, historical homes and Toronto collections. She specifically likes to capture Beach scenes of shops and landmarks that are gone or under threat.
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