As Ionia Woman Sees First Movie in 84 years, Here’s Five Things She Missed
This is about a sweet story put together by Fox 17 reporter Max Goldwasser. Goldwasser talked to Justina Thalison, who turned 94 on Sunday. Thalison's birthday wish was to do something very simple - to go see a movie. What makes it unique is Thalison hadn't been to a movie theater in 84 years. You've done the math already. She last saw a movie in a theatre in 1938, when she was just ten years old. What brought the story full-circle was Thalison was back in the same theater (she saw Sing 2) where she saw the one and only movie she ever went to (which she doesn't remember) at the Ionia Theater.
Which got me thinking about all the things you'd have missed if you were like Thalison and went 84 years between visits.
So here are four things that you'd have missed if the last movie you saw was in 1938.
Today, if a movie comes out in black and white, it's almost stunning. It was just the opposite in 1938. Color had been around since about 1900 but didn't start to appear in big movies much until the mid-1930's. The Wizard of Oz wasn't the first color movie, but it was the first big blockbuster, and in that movie, it went from black and white to color after about the first twenty minutes.
2. All the great movies
When it comes to a great movie, it doesn't matter whether it's in color or black and white, but in those 84 years, think about all the great movies you've seen, or wish you'd seen when they first came out. My favorite movie ever is Casablanca, but that came out some twenty years before I did; The same thing goes for Citizen Kane. I missed Some Like It Hot (maybe the greatest comedy ever) but managed to have my parents take me to The Sound of Music. In high school and college, I saw American Graffiti and The Sting, Star Wars and many others, and in the 80s, classics like Raiders of The Lost Ark. And all these movies lead to the next reason.
3. Seeing Big Movies on The Big Screen.
I'm guessing if you say big screen to a kid, they'll think a 60 inch or so HDTV. Nope, not even close. There's something about seeing movies in a movie theater. Maybe that's why movie stars were movie stars back then. They looked bigger projected on a screen. There's something to be said for "larger than life".
4. Air Conditioning.
Air conditioning was invented about 1900, just like the color film process, but it's not like it was in every home. Back in the day, people sweated. And one way to escape the heat was at the movies. Maybe the heat didn't bother Ms.Thalison much, but a lot of people used to head to the movies to cool off; it didn't matter if the movie was awful. The theater was cool.
5. Those grand Movie Houses of the past
Have you ever been to the State Theatre in Kalamazoo? 84 years ago, most theatres were like that. In Kalamazoo alone, there was The Regent, The Fuller, The Uptown, The Michigan, The Orpheum, in addition to the State, and that's just in the downtown area. In Ionia, that may have been the only one, or at best two or three.
(Fox 17 WXMI via YouTube)
I hope Ms. Thalison had a good time and can go again, soon.