… I stood in line that early evening at the Rialto Theater in Alamosa, a small town hidden near the headwaters of the Rio Grande River in Colorado, waiting to give the girl in the ticket booth my quarter for Peter Pan, Disney’s animated classic. I didn’t know that I was about to meet the love of my life at that showing. The first love is always the sweetest, though it is usually unrequited. Especially when you are ten years old.
The Rialto was a study in movie theater art. Fake balconies projected from the walls, and family booths seating four people were off the side aisles. High school seniors ruled the balcony, and drove off the younger kids should they have the temerity to try and invade their territory. And a big two keyboard Wurlitzer pipe organ console sat squarely down the center aisle.
Joe Brite, the theater manager, played medleys from the organ prior to the film. The organ was installed before talking films debuted, and Joe continued the tradition of playing as the audience arrived and found their seats after the obligatory stop at the concession stand. Theaters back then hadn’t yet discovered the confiscatory pricing that they used in later years to squeeze out that last bit of change in your pocket. I think popcorn was a dime, bringing you almost to bankruptcy. Few of us had more than 50 cents a week allowance.
In time, the lights dimmed, Joe stopped playing and turned off the lights of the organ, and the dancing popcorn and soda cups did their thing, then a couple of previews, a cartoon, and at last, the movie.
I don’t recall being all that interested in Pan and Wendy, but there was this glowing pixie that followed Pan everywhere, leaving glittering pixie dust. I was just beginning to notice that girls hips and chests were swelling, and was a bit intrigued with it, though I don’t think I was yet aware of what was all involved with that interest. But there she was. Swollen hips that wouldn’t go through a keyhole, and a blossoming bosom. Not to mention a lot of leg. I read much later in life that people were pretty upset with Disney for sexing Tinkerbell up, but I was happy with her. I didn’t catch it when I was ten, but in watching the film just before composing this, I saw a lot of very adult actions on her part. In this particular clip where she walks across Wendy’s mirror, the camera cuts just short of seeing up her green skirt, and she quickly approves of the view then moves on before the audience gets a look. Fortunately, all of that went over our heads.
But Pan really got my gorge up. That asshole treated her like crap, banishing her for simply trying to kill Wendy, whom she was very jealous of. I thought she should have just left Pan to his own devices. I would have been much better for her. I really was enamored with her, but alas, it was to remain unrequited. Through much of my life, though, I have sought out women with her features.
But time moves one on, and old loves become old loves that sometimes return ghostlike in the evenings as they one by one arise and dissipate. I mourn the missed opportunities. And I write, and as I write, parts of my old loves flame again, albeit secretly. If I am careful in my craft, you will hardly notice as I dance my romances past you.
Yeah. Pathetic when your love is a cartoon … but I have seen some of your real life loves, so don’t be to critical.