During the Mads livestream this question was put to Trace and Frank, and then I started thinking about it too, what was the first movie I remember seeing in a theater?
Now, I might have seen something earlier (I have a vague, foggy memory of Mary Poppins flying about, but I was only 3). However one I distinctly remember was Batman The Movie, from 1966.
I was so young that I didn’t get that it was supposed to be funny and took everything seriously. I remember dad howling with laughter, and us kids getting upset, “Dad, Batman could have been hurt by that shark!” The bit with the bomb made him laugh as well.
I also have even clearer memories of seeing True Grit (1969). I loved John Wayne and would watch his movies when they played on TV. My dad couldn’t stand him, but he endured the Duke for love of his son, and off to the theater we went. Pops wound up enjoying it, I loved it of course.
The Lion King is the earliest memory of watching movies in a theater. I was 5 when it was released.
Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster. I was four and I saw it upon its release in 1971.
It was my introduction to the cinema, Godzilla, environmentalism, young Japanese kids named Kenny in short pants and Japanese girls go-go dancing in bodysuits - all before I had even started kindergarten!
The first movie I recall seeing was The Secret Of NIMH. I was 5 and it began my love of all Don Bluth movies. I got to meet him at Comicon in the early oughts and was allowed to ask him to draw a charecter from one of his movies. I asked for Nicodemus and he gave me a blank look until I said from The Secret of NIMH. His eyes lit up and he got this huge grin and he said, “I haven’t drawn him in forever!” He looked super excited someone requested that. Still one of the best moments of my life. Had the picture for years until it disappeared during a bad break up.
The original Star Wars. My dad took me to see the trilogy in a downtown theater on the square in Columbia, TN in the 70s and 80s, the same theater my mom saw Gone with the Wind when it debuted. Sadly, it’s been a mattress store before the millennium began.
Either Tron (hella boring for a little kid. Actually, I tried to watch it again as an adult and still fell asleep.) or a double-feature of the Black Cauldron and the Great Mouse Detective.
For me it was The Little Mermaid (1989).
Long cartoon on a huge screen, with really catchy tunes. I was ecstatic.
Hah! I actually was about to write that it was a weird flex for me that the original Star Wars is my first theater memory–my mother, to her eternal credit, gave in and took her four-year-old son to a movie full of “monsters and laser fights.” What an experience…
My dad took me to see 2001: A Space Odyssey in Cinerama in its initial run. I was four. I still remember the big curved screen, and being able to pick out the lines between where the three projections met.
What kind of man looks at a movie like 2001 and says, “Hey, that’s perfect for my four year old!”? Granted, the flip side is: what kind of four year old do you have to be that your dad thinks 2001 is the movie for you…
BTW - Frank’s first vivid theater memory was “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World”
Trace’s were Rock Hudson & Doris Day movies and a Gladiator flick at the Drive-In
My parents took me with them to Jaws at a drive-in when I was four or five (1975). I can’t imagine what they were thinking, I couldn’t sleep for weeks afterward. I’ve forgiven them and mostly recovered from the experience now.
Maybe your dad was hoping you’d take a nice long nap?
My parents took my older cousin and me to see Aladdin. I was three going on four.
For me I think it was the Jungle Book, the one from 1967, but a screening during the early 80s’. The same parents who took me to that took me to see Lethal Weapon in '87. I’m pretty sure they wanted to watch it and, well, took me anyway. I’m not sure there was a movie in between there.
I’m told the first movie I ever attended was a showing of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at an Indianapolis drive-in. I was barely a year old and was asleep in a laundry basket in the backseat. (Hey, it was the '80s!)
The first movie I distinctly recall attending was Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (see a pattern here?) premiere night at a local Lowes Theater. I remember everyone applauding at every name that came up in the credits and the crowd absolutely losing it at “Admiral! There be whales here!”
One of the jobs my Dad had before and after he served in WWII and Korea was movie theater projectionist. In fact, that is even one of the jobs that he did while IN the Army. He traveled all around West Texas and North Texas to work at various walk-ins and drive-ins. I really got my love of movies from him. He also was a big fan of “monster” movies and some science fiction. He always enjoyed seeing what kind of goofy monster costumes they would come up with, and sometimes he would laugh so hard. My Mom loved movies, but those were not her cup of tea. She loved the dramas and comedies from the 1930s, 1940s, and until she died, she loved to watch those horrid Hallmark movies. Guess which one of them I took after? Oh, I love the old movies from Hollywood’s golden era, but NOT the Hallmark stuff. But I did enjoy watching movies with BOTH of them, for different reasons. I guess I should say that movies apparently are in my DNA, because while my Dad was the theater projectionist, my Mom was the lady in the booth who sold the tickets, and that’s how they met. <3
The first movie I ever saw at a drive-in was “The Angry Red Planet” - yikes! And I was only six years old when it came out in 1959. (My sister and I were back seat “babies” when Mom and Dad wanted to see a movie at the drive-in.) I also remember seeing parts of “Imitation of Life” and of course, at that age, didn’t understand much, so I fell asleep pretty soon after it started.
The first movies I ever remember seeing at a walk-in theater were Disney movies like Bambi (so traumatic!), Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Swiss Family Robinson, Old Yeller - and especially impressive to me was Ray Harryhausen’s “Seventh Voyage of Sinbad,” which was so vivid to me because of Kathryn Grant being shrunk down to a tiny size by the evil wizard. You can tell by these movies that I am older than a lot of other MSTies, but at 67, I am not THAT much older than some of the original cast!
I also saw Khan at the drive in!! The scene of him putting the bugs in the ears of Chekhov and Paul Winfield (RIP) still gives me the willies.
My dad was and still is a science fiction aficionado, he’s given me some super cool memories!
Too cool, watched it last week for the 100th time. Visually, it’s my favorite of Kubrick’s. I think it still holds up.
I think he was trying to point me at being a science fiction fan like him – even by then I was already interested in the space program.
I won’t pretend I understood it, but I loved it.