A Thousand Nights at the Movies with Dee

December 7, 2018

As you may be aware, I lost my wife of 38 years back in September. Dolores, who my Mother nicknamed Dee, was my frequent companion at the movies for more than four decades. Many of the films I have written about here on this blog have included a side note or two on her, the experience or her opinion about a movie.

In tribute to her and as a form of therapy for me, I have decided to add a set of historical stories on our movie life together. Most of these will be brief comments or incidents on the litany of films we experienced together. Those who are personal friends will probably enjoy a few memories of her while reading these. Those of you who do not know us except virtually, I hope you will feel like you are being included in a friendship with this sharing.

March 21, 2020
Entry 12 "Force Ten from Navarone"
There were two reasons we saw this movie. First, I love the "Guns of Navarone" from the 1960s, and second, Dee loved Harrison Ford. This would not be the last time we would see a movie driven by her affections for the star of the film more than the plot. We liked it, but there was not a memorable incident, just her Harrison Ford Love.

March 21, 2020
Entry 11 "Foul Play"

Dee was a free thinker, and I was a 20 year old College student when we went on a double date with my best friend Art and his new girlfriend Kathy. "Foul Play was a pretty safe choice, it starred Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. It's a silly little film that I think everyone enjoyed. A few days later Art told me that Kathy had said to him when she first saw Dee and I, "Oh my God, they are hippies". That is so off target that I still laugh when thinking about it. My long hair and beard might explain some of it, but the only way Dee could be thought of as a "hippie" is if wearing almost no make-up and a long skirt put you in that classification.

March 21, 2020
Entry 10  "The Cat From Outer Space"

OK, maybe I did let her pick movies occasionally. The problem is she would sometimes pick
something like this silly kids picture. The only reason we saw it was because it was about a cat and she loved cats. The only memory I have is of the stink Eye she got from me after seeing this turkey.

September 16, 2019
Entry 9  "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band"

I know that there are people who revile this movie but we loved it. Before it opened, it was one of the highly anticipated summer films of 1978. As it turns out it was a bomb. Dee and I went to Westwood, where the movie was playing in an exclusive engagement before opening wider. We got there early for the show, expecting to have to line up. We were the first in line, and only about twenty others showed up by the time they let us in. The theater ended up maybe a third of the house filled, and you could start to smell the stink at that moment. We did not care however. We were huge Bee Gees fans and their musical contributions to the film, whatever else was true, were excellent.

August 27, 2019
Entry 8 "Rocky II"

Having been big fans of the original Rocky, we were of course looking forward to the return visit. I don'' think I had committed to waiting for Dee and that may be the source of this story. I went to see this movie with my buddies Art and Dan, at an afternoon screening. We loved it and wanted to share it immediately with our girlfriends. What we did not do is tell them that we had already seen it. That same evening we took them to the show and they seemed to be enamored of it as well. When we revealed that we'd seen it that afternoon, well, all hell broke loose. Art's girlfriend Kathy, who he would later marry, was furious because she felt like we were trying to put one over on her. Dee and I almost got divorced, and we were not even married yet. I think she was pissed that I hadn't waited for her, and then what appeared to be subterfuge just aggravated the situation. I can tell you I never tried to keep anything like that from her again, although there were a couple of times I got in trouble for not waiting to see a movie with her [Lone Star will be a sore spot forever].

June 5, 2019
Entry 7 "Orca: The Killer Whale"

I have mentioned this incident in a couple of posts over the years, because it is amusing and so real at the same time. Dee and I took her brother to see this Jaws rip-off at the small cineplex in the Los Cerritos shopping center. The movie was not particularly good but we had a good time. She would be twenty at the time and her younger brother Danny was probably 16. As the movie ended, the crowd starts filtering out of the theater. Dee started walking up the center aisle and tripped over a tub of popcorn that someone had left next to their aisle seat. As she went down to the ground, Danny glanced at her, making sure was not hurt but doing nothing to assist. As I was coming up from behind, I heard him say out loud as he passed her, "Somebody should help that poor lady." He then kept walking out to the lobby. She had a choice word or two that she shared with me, but before we got to the lobby, she was laughing about it and it became one of her favorite stories to tell about her brother.

March 30, 2019
Entry 6 "Exorcist II: The Heretic

We had seen a trailer for this film with one of the many screenings of Star Wars that we went to in the summer of 1977 at the Chinese theater. I'll have some comments about those later. The trailer was actually pretty good, it mostly had a series of visual elements from the film against a soundscape of techno chanting music. I had loved the original film and we were really pumped to see this. About a third of the way into the movie it was clear that it was dreadful. It is the only movie that has made me physically sick until all the shaky cam movements of recent films. I went downstairs at the theater we were seeing this at (I think it was the Pantages but it could have been the Pacific) and I puked a little from disappointment. Dee was so sympathetic to me and she tried to calm me down while we were still there. But for the next forty years, she was always ready to recall that story when anyone asked us what the worst movie we ever saw was. She'd pipe up immediately, "Exorcist II made Richard vomit". Thanks for the over share sweetheart.

March 9, 2019
Entry 5 "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part Two"

I don't remember the exact year, but it was before 1978, Dee and I went to see a double feature of two of my favorite movies. We went to the State Theater on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. This was maybe the point at which I knew we were really compatible. "The Godfather "played it's full nearly three hour run time. I always watch the credits and Dee sat next to me dutifully. Then as they ended, and we stood up with the lights coming on, the second film started and the lights went back down after ten seconds or so. We sat right down and watched "Godfather II" for Three hours and twenty two minutes. No, snack bar, no bathroom, no stretching of the legs. She did not complain at all. When the second feature was over, I said to her, "I've got to Pee" and she said something like "No Kidding". I thought how lucky I was to have found someone as willing as I was to sit through six hours of movies on a Saturday afternoon. I spent the next forty years waiting for her after a visit to the bathroom at the end of almost every film we saw in a theater since. God I love that woman.

January 7, 2019
Entry 4. "Rocky"

Like a lot of people, we did not know much about this film going in. We saw it at one of the Cinemas in the Los Cerritos Shopping Complex. We often wandered the mall on a weekend, window shopping and having something to eat. Several films I will be writing about were seen there. She was incredibly enthusiastic about "Rocky" as was I. The theme song was played on the radio pretty regularly and we would always turn up the volume when we were driving around.

January 6, 2019

Entry 3. "A Star Is Born"

This would be a typical date movie for a couple in the 1970s. Barbara Streisand was a big star, the song from the movie was a big hit, and the film has a romance element to it. There is not a memorable story to go with the visit to the theater, except that this began our trips to Music Plus. Music Plus was a record store chain and we frequently went there after a movie to get a soundtrack. I still have this LP in the garage somewhere. Dee had a record player that she took to college with her and we spent a lot of time in her dorm room, listening to music, especially something like this.

December 8, 2018

Entry 2. "Mahogany"

I think this is is the actual first movie we saw together. She picked it, and that may be the reason that she got so many fewer picks for the rest of her life. It was terrible. We did however go to Alphy's afterward and share a hot fudge sundae.

December 7, 2018

Entry 1. "The Exorcist"

Dee and I had gone to her High School Senior Night party at Disneyland in June of 1975. I was sick as a dog and tried to back out of it but she was so forlorn at the prospect that I went anyway. I only vomited once that night but I did have a fever most of the time we were there. For three months after that we talked on the phone but did not see each other. When an opportunity came up to see "The Exorcist" at a run down in Hollywood at the Warner Theater (Which is now the El Capitan) I called and asked her if she wanted to go with me. She excitedly agreed and I looked forward to seeing her on a Saturday night. A few hours later however she called me back and apologized that she would have to take a pass. It seems she had previously agreed to spend the night with her friend Karen, and she did not feel right about canceling on her to go with me. I said I understood but I know I was disappointed. This was in the Fall and I don't think I asked her out again until the next year. I did end up going to the show, but with some other friends who were not nearly as attractive to me.

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