100 Things About Me #88

Beam Me Up, Moby
In the comments section of "100 Things About Me #87," reader Paros Shepherd asks about my rather fast transition from playing with a toy slide projector to a career as a movie projectionist.

"Do you know what attracted you to projection in those early years?"

I've always been attracted to show business, but there was no cable in the womb, so I popped out and waited for Sinatra tickets.

My favorite form of entertainment is the movies. Inside a theatre, I feel an ever-present excitement. I'm sure the tiny me was taken by the screen bigness, the colors, the action, and the elaborate storytelling.

Plus, theatres were where they kept the Jujubes.

My parents never told me the title of the first film I attended. My bio proudly states it was "Rover Dangerfield," because that makes me 35 years younger.

My earliest distinct theatre memory stretches back to age four. The film was "Moby Dick" (1956) with Gregory Peck confronting the notorious white beast. I recall sitting alongside the folks, taking in the wondrous new world of sticky auditorium floors and seat gums.

Dad was into the fishy tale, shaking Natural "Fleur De Sel" Sea Salt with Fennel from Noirmoutier Island into his bag of Oyster Crackers, while his other hand clasped Green Olive Spread Tapenade in case there was Dick on a Stick.

Mom held his hip waders and harpoon.

I do remember images of the whale, but my focus was elsewhere. I have a vivid recollection of turning away from the giant screen to peer through the chairs at the powerful, flickering light beam which splayed out of the projector behind me. I was mesmerized by that spectacle. It was an omen.

Jump ahead 20 years, Gregory Peck was in "The Omen."

Jump ahead 40 years, I was sitting in my projection room at work. It's spare time. With my back to the screen, I flipped over the page of a book to Chapter Two, "Moby Dick."

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