Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Dolphin Lives!

The Dolphin Theatre in North Burnaby has been closed for about a year. There was a fire in the theatre then it closed and it looked like that was it. No more Dolphin. Ex-theatre vacant across the street from ex-McDonald's restaurant. I thought, "Oh no, more condominiums for sure." But yesterday I drove past it. The boards were down off the lobby windows and there was a new sign on the marquee: GRAND RE-OPENING THIS WEEK - INDIANA JONES

This makes me incredible goofy with happiness. The Dolphin is the theatre of my Saturday matinees. My sister, brother and I, and assorted neighbourhood friends, would take the bus to the Dolphin on Saturday afternoons when we were 9, 10, 11 years old, to watch old movies for 50cents a show.

Saturday would start like this. Wake up. Phone the Dolphin Theatre. There was a recorded message. "This week at the Dolphin Theatre: The French Connection at 7 and 9pm nightly. Saturday Matinee at 1 o'clock is Girls and Coconuts, starring Lulu Lafou and Crock Huntson."
It didn't really matter what was showing. We were going to the movies.

Sometimes we'd eat cheap hamburgers and fries at the old McDonald's then go to the movie. Usually we just brought a dollar the theatre: 50 cents for the movie and 50 cents for a Mackintosh's creamy toffee and a small pop. We whacked the toffee on the seat in front of us (so much the better if some kid was sitting there and you made him jump). After the toffee was gone, we used the boxes for whistles. This was especially useful if there were kissing scenes in the movie. Smooch-smooch-smooch-Tweeeee-squeeee-hoooooT! If we got tired of that we could squirt coke out of our straws or throw ice cubes across the theatre at other kids. We had to be careful not to get kicked out when we did that. Whistling was safer.

Besides crappy old Doris Day movies and some Robin Hoods and King Arthur movies, we saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Dolphin Theatre. There was a lineup around the block for that one. Also there was an animated Flintstones movie, I think.

As an adult, I went to the Dolphin once or twice, but I didn't live in North Burnaby any more, so it was out of the way. It was my theatre of choice when the kids were little, though. It was inexpensive, and usually had a family friendly film showing any time. By that time, they had divided the auditorium into two smaller theatres. I still expected to see half a big screen running right up to the dividing wall whenever I went in there, but they did a better job than that.

Now my family is speculating. What will the Dolphin look like after the fire? Did they get digital sound? better seats? I'd settle for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a Mackintosh Toffee. Just don't anybody squirt coke at me with their straw.

question: do you think the Dolphin will go on?

mompoet - surely hoping so

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