1957: At the Movies

I still like the social aspect of seeing movies at the theater. But with high prices at the ticket booth (what ever happened to the cheap matinee?) and the popcorn line, annoying pre-show advertisements and cheesy dancing candies on the screen, it’s getting harder and harder to justify it. And it doesn’t help that movie goers have forgotten some basics of seeing a show in public ~ respect for others around them. Kicking seats, cell phones ringing, endless chatter at the screen, little kids at late-night movies ~ it’s enough to drive Miss Abigail (and many of you, I’m sure) mad.

To refresh our collective skills in this area, I share with you an excerpt from Bernice Bryant’s Future Perfect: A Guide to Personality and Popularity for the Junior Miss (New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1957):

When you take your seat be as careful as you can not to disturb people. If you do have to grope in the dark to find your way and you should step on a toe, just a soft and sincere “Excuse me, please” will many times soften what might have been a wrathful scolding. After you are seated stay seated. Don’t jump up to take off your coat or smooth your skirt. Get out of the childish habit of running back for a drink of water or going to the ladies’ room. No whispering, giggling, rattling papers, resting your feet on the seat in front of you, habitually clearing your throat or coughing. If you have a cold you had better not go to the movies. You don’t like to sit next to a person who snorts and sniffles, do you? And you don’t like to sit next to a person who is popping gum or chewing chewy candy, do you? Try to make as little rustle as possible when you unwrap a candy bar. Fold the paper quietly and put it in your purse or pocket. Later dispose of it in the refuse box in the lobby or rest room. Be most careful about disposing of your gum when you are tired of chewing it. Wrap it in a piece of paper before you throw it in the refuse box. Leaving a wad of gum, a kernel of buttery popcorn or a piece of sticky candy on a seat is very inconsiderate. Just think how they could spot your coat or skirt if you were to sit on them! Handle your theater snacks neatly and eat quietly. Do you like to sit behind a girl who has wrapped her woolen coat in a bundle and piled herself atop it? Think of those around you. They, too, paid admission to see the show.

They paid $9.25 if they are here in the D.C. area! Ouch.