Monday, January 2, 2012

There You Were, Beautiful

On January 2nd in 1982, I saw American Gigolo and Body Heat, two movies that a twelve-year-old probably shouldn't see. (ETA: And actually, I was only eleven at that point, as I wouldn't be twelve until the 25th of January!) But I loved the hell out of both of them, and they both had big influences on me. Because of that, I am going to spread my posts about them over more than one day.

At first I was trying to remember if I saw these two films on video, or as a double feature at the York, a repertory theater that used to be on 24th Street and York in the Mission. (The theater is still there, but now it's home to a live theater company called Brava!) But thanks to my littler ledger, I see that there was a price noted next to the date, ($2.50--sorry you can't see it in the scan I have), and I usually only wrote down the cost of movie admissions, not video rentals.

Of course, since American Gigolo came out in 1980, it's feasible that it was on video by then. But Body Heat was released in August of 1981, and it usually took at least a year before movies made it to video back then, so I am going to assume this was a theatrical viewing. (One day soon I'm going to go down to the main library and look at some old newspapers on microfiche--assuming such a thing still exists--and try to find some movie theater listings.)

God bless the York Theater, (which was actually called the Roosevelt when it opened in 1926). Since it was basically walking distance from where I lived, (though I don't think I ever did actually walk there, ha!), I saw a hell of a lot of great movies there in my youth, usually second run flicks. (I guess DVDs and an increase in first-run theater screens has made the second-run theater a thing of the past, although the Castro kind of fills that bill every now and then.)

Anyway, along with second run, I also saw older movies there that were either not on video at all, or hard to find for rent. The York theater and our home VCR were easily the two greatest contributors to my movie-watching youth.

I'd like to say that all my York Theater visits were either followed or preceded by a visit to the St. Francis Fountain, which was right across the street, but I actually don't remember ever combining the two. Maybe the St. Francis really sucked back then. Or maybe my parents were just really good at keeping me away from ice cream parlors. I don't really know.

I'm going to save my mullings about the actual movies for tomorrow and the day after. But to whet your appetite for my American Gigolo post, here's one of my favorite scenes from the movie. God DAMN but Richard Gere was hot.

(And a little post-script about the above: I eventually bought the soundtrack album--music by Giorgio Moroder--but the Smokey Robinson song wasn't on it. One night my parents and I decided we really needed a copy of that song, so we hopped in the car, drove down the Embarcadero freeway to North Beach, and bought a best of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles album at Tower Records. Which I still have. And THAT, kids, is what we had to do to "instantly" get music before the invention of the Internet.)

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