Thursday, February 5, 2009


Hello readers, it's been some time since we talked. Routine life for January and early February. We have been enjoying some nice country weekends though which I'll report about in the next few blogs. A few weekends ago, we resumed a habit that we used to have some months ago.

In New Haven, two towns over from us, they have a tiny movie theatre that is a remnant from the 1940's. It's called The Walt and it is located downtown sandwiched between the Missouri river behind and train tracks that run along the front of the downtown area.

It has been renovated--new paint, carpeting, etc.--but it still looks similar to what it must have looked like in the 1940's. Very small box office, small concession stand. There is an upstairs balcony with hardwood floors, then the main floor with a small lobby, and the restrooms are located in the basement.

Some college kids run this theatre--we see the same two or three kids every time we've gone and when there is "something" going on, i.e., a local fair, holiday, or really any sort of festival, the theatre is not open. Otherwise, they show one movie per weekend. The same movie with one showing on Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday early evening.

We love going to the The Walt mostly for the ambiance, the old time feel of the theatre, and the train usually goes by twice per movie tooting its horn as it passes. They show first run movies for only $3.50 a person (this price was recently raised from $3). The popcorn is freshly popped and all the concessions are priced rather cheap. So Papa and I can see a good movie and have snacks for usually about $10. A cheap night of fun including a bit of nostalgia which Papa lives for.

In the lobby of the theatre, they have framed telegrams and pictures from the opening week of The Walt from celebrities of that era such as Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. We have since learned that many theatres were opened up along the train tracks such as the The Walt as this was the main source of long distance transportation for most people. And a theatre opening was a big thing. Celebrities would travel by train for theatre openings and then return for premieres of movies that they were in.

Anyway, this theatre doesn't open until 7:00 and the movie starts at 7:30 so we used to have a little logistics problem getting ourselves there. This was because The Walt no longer advertises what the weekend movie is. We used to be able to check the paper and decide if wanted to go or not. Then the advertisements stopped about 2 years ago. So since New Haven is a bit of a distance from our country home, we couldn't really wait until 7 to call and so we would just drive over and take our chances on what was showing--if there was something showing. I think we only walked out of one movie (that was too awful to sit through).

A few times we arrived in New Haven to find The Walt wasn't showing a movie for some reason we couldn't figure out, so we would have to turn around and go home. They had a phone number to call but in the beginning there was no answering machine, so if you called before 7, it would just ring. Then about a year ago, they got an answering machine but there was some sort of glitch in their system. The phone would ring about 10 times and then a Spanish speaking woman would answer and leave the message--in Spanish and hang up but there was no beep for us to leave a message. We also couldn't figure out what she was saying.

We even went as far as driving over one afternoon and checking in with the Chamber of Commerce/NewHaven Museum (and getting a short tour of the history of the town) only to find out the number we had was the number they also had for the theatre. The woman working at the Chamber of Commerce/New Haven Museum couldn't explain the weird message we received when we called but she assured us, they were still open and showing movies on weekends.

After a few "misses" we just got frustrated and quit driving over there. This was sometime last Spring. Then three weeks ago, Papa said "Wonder what's showing at The Walt?" and I picked up the phone and dialed the number and lo and behold an English speaking man answered with a coherent message about the movie showing that weekend. It was something we thought would be fun, so off we went and were so excited to find that nothing else had changed about The Walt experience. It was like we never had a large gap of non-attendance. And wonder of wonders, every week about Wednesday, I can call over and get the same nice message filling me in on the next weekend's movie.

So being creatures of habit, Papa and I can now be found at The Walt pretty much every Saturday night now. If you find yourself without anything to do, drive over to New Haven, MO. You'll see a good movie, had some tasty snacks, and experience a little of the 1940's as well.

Until next time....Grammy

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