Monday, February 14, 2011


Baby Boomers like myself came in at the end of one era in movies and at the
start of another. I can remember the Saturday Matinee where one admission
let you watch some cartoons and at least two movies, and maybe a Commander
Cody serial. (At least I think that was his name. He wore one of those cool jetpacks
on his back!) The movies weren’t exactly masterpieces but we were busy munching
our popcorn and Milk Duds to care.  

I lived within walking distance of three movie theaters when we first moved into
Dorchester. There was the Codman Theater in Codman Square, which had a
bowling alley above it so occasionally you could hear the pins fall. It closed not
long after our arrival. Then there was the Morton Theater. That was over on
Blue Hill Avenue and Barry Solomon and I and some of the other kids used to
walk there on Saturday mornings.

The third theater was my favorite, the Oriental Theater in Mattapan. It’s interior
was built to resemble a Chinese village, and the ceiling looked like a night sky with
projected clouds moving across them and tiny ceiling lights that looked like stars.
This was where that new era began for us, the era of Cinemascope and epic
films. I saw “Around the World In 80 Days” there which was loaded with stars
and was so long there was an intermission. And it was either there or at the Morton
where Boston area producer Joe Levine had the premiere of “Hercules Unchained”
with Steve Reeves, which started the “muscle man” historical action film. I was
hooked on those and Ray Harryhausen special effects films like “Jason and the

Both theaters are gone now. The Oriental building is now an electrical supply store.
Somebody told me a few years back that the interior was sold and moved to an other
theater in the Boston area. I hope that’s true, and that somewhere some kid is sitting
in his seat, his eyes up watching clouds moving across  the ceiling beneath the

((346 words))

Written for the Family History Writing Challenge

1 comment:

Heather Rojo said...

Great post. I forwarded it to my husband's office. "Around the World in 80 Days" is one of his favorite movies from childhood, and only because it co-starred Cantinflas. He had memories of going to the movies in Spain to watch Cantinflas movies, and laughing so hard his sides hurt. I think he was the Spanish version of Jerry Lewis- lots of physical comedy.