|Tandra Page 1197, Cheap Entertainment|
|I’m sitting on my back porch looking out over the yard as the rising sun brightens the Eastern sky.
I decided to watch the 1959 movie “Ben-Hur” last night. This was a big deal, a major studio release for that year. The movie won eleven Academy Awards, including best picture, and cost something like 3 million dollars to produce. Three million dollars was serious money back in 1959. Today you cannot even get a Hollywood producer out of bed in the morning for a measly 3 million.
“Ben-Hur” runs the credits near the front of the picture. That was standard procedure back then when only two plus minutes were required to list all the people including actors, directors, producers, technicians, camera people, costume designers and others who helped bring the film to your local cinema. There were maybe a hundred to one hundred-fifty people listed total.
I remember seeing “Ben-Hur” at the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville TN. The Tennessee was a THEATRE! The building covered a city block in downtown Knoxville. The entrance fronted one of the main business streets and you walked up a gradual incline about eighty feet long, with the concession stand at the right and promotional posters for coming attractions on the wall to your left, to a cross walk where you went right or left to enter the main showroom by way of about six openings that brought you down aisles between five sections of seating. There was also a balcony I never investigated. The Tennessee showroom was big with an area taking in some two thirds of the block the theatre occupied. The size and grandeur of the showroom itself made you feel when you sat down to await the beginning of the picture that you had come to witness an event!
By comparison, I went to the local multi-plex recently with ten screens to see “The Avengers” and watched the feature in a showroom about the size of an average living room.
Credits have moved from the beginning of the movie to the ending cos the credit list is so long most people would not sit through such a lengthy roll out as the picture starts. As it is, people begin leaving as the final credits roll. In an effort to keep the audience seated some features, including most Marvel produced movies, have started to add bits of additional story footage after the final credits.
And those credits!
With the number of people it takes to bring a movie to your local cineplex, you could start a small war. In fact, more people are required to bring home a movie these days than were necessary to storm the Normandy beach head on D-Day in 1944.
When you watch credits for modern movies and realize how many people must be hired and paid, you gotta realize seven-fifty, ten bucks or whatever the ticket costs is cheap for the labour intensive film you are paying to see.
Movies are, indeed, the cheapest form of entertainment available today!
Never forget Lexington and Concord!
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