Monday, March 5, 2012
Going to the Movies with The Howling
My apologies for not updating this blog sooner. I'm in the midst of a frenzied job search, so movie watching and writing about them have gone down a peg or two on my priority list.
But I wanted to put something up and since I got a nice response from my recent post about seeing "Death Wish V" on Valentine's Day, I thought I'd relate another movie-going anecdote. Indeed, in the 45+ years I've been attending the movies regularly, this may be one of my favorite stories.
It was a rowdy, noisy crowd that Friday night at the (now closed) Diana Theater in Homewood, IL. We were that at the last show on the opening night of "The Howling" (1981), the great Joe Dante-directed werewolf picture.
When I say rowdy and noisy I don't mean to be pejorative. It was a lively and enthusiastic audience that Friday night. The weekend had begun, and the new horror movie in town, which had gotten very good reviews, was about to start. The crowd was geared up to enjoy themselves. There was a good vibe in the audience.
The movie starts and the opening credits come up (and how I wish more movies today had opening credits). Slim Pickens got his own credit card and when it showed up, some guy towards the front of the theater yelled out, "Yeah, Slim." That got a big laugh from everyone.
Well, let me tell you, when Slim Pickens first ambles onto the screen in his role as Sheriff Sam Newfield, the entire audience, with no prodding or cheer leading of any kind, spontaneously burst into applause, cheering, whistling, clapping of hands and stomping of feet.
The entire audience was laughing about it for minutes afterwards.
Who knew that Slim Pickens could generate that much affection? I suspect the audience was filled with "Blazing Saddles" fans.
Regardless of the reason, it's one of my most fondly-remembered movie experiences ever.