The Princess Theatre in downtown Bloomington, Indiana, was the place for all this in the summer of 1979.
It was when I spent my first summer at school, sharing an apartment with three other guys, and trying to find a job. If you’ve ever spent a summer in central Indiana, you know how hot and humid the weather can be. Being poor, we couldn’t afford to run the air conditioner in the apartment so nights spent in the University library were more to stay comfortable than to read and study.
But at least one evening a week, I made a trip to the Princess with my best friend. For $1, you got admission for movies that change every week. For $1 more, you could get popcorn and a soda. Favorite seat: main section, second row, second seat in. Be enveloped by that screen for two hours, kicked back in your chair, legs up over the row in front of you. Totally engrossed.
The movie fare that summer was intense. The moments I remember best included first marveling, then being bored, by the long shots of the redesigned USS Enterprise in beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Samantha Eggar licking clean one of her “children” in David Cronenberg’s The Brood. David Warner fighting killer bats in Nightwing. And Season Hubley helping a confused George C. Scott search for his runaway daughter in Paul Schrader’s dark Hardcore.
Of course, it wasn’t necessarily the movie that mattered. It was great to stay cool, forget a job search for a while, and enjoy some time in the company of cinematic friends. And, of course, visit my favorite movie palace, one of thousands across the country, each with patrons who love them.
That was the summer of 1979 in Bloomington, Indiana.