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Sasquatch

The first movie I remember seeing was called Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot. I'm sure I had been to the Warner Theater before that but I remember this movie because it was not for children, I was six, and there was some negotiation before I was allowed to go. My brother took me.

I remember the monster coming up over a hill, roaring, but far more intense than that was the massive yellow Sasquatch logo that appeared on the screen at the beginning of the film. Looking at a clip of the film (obviously awful) shows, in contrast to the eyeball-drilling of Star Wars or piss-shower of Taxi Driver, a thin, nervous country with just enough money for a pack of cigarettes and a tank of gas.

Why they were showing a 1975 movie about Bigfoot in 1981 at the Warner? I was at that point only a slip of paper in a pullover shirt and man did I like dogs. My brother might have worn a denim jacket lined with thick beige lambswool, and cars had ashtrays. The Warner was a velvet-and-gilt palace near the Woolworth's. The floor had an inch-thick layer of grime and every step you took, at least in my little sneakers, went THWICK. There were gilded women carved into the walls and a red curtain that pulled apart for the show. I would imagine it was built in the 1930s--(yes, it was)--a big dose of Celebrex to cure the Depression, and while the art-deco style was modern the curtain and gold belonged to the theater. Or more likely to vaudeville.

(A vaudeville story, according to my father: his father, as a boy, would get inside a tire to be rolled across the stage between acts; he got a nickel every time. You had to keep the show moving. Later he became a respected whistler. Never met him.)

I could keep going backwards here until I was at the Globe Theater watching men in bear costumes chasing after boys in wigs, or further back to a naked stage in a natural ampitheater with chanting men in masks. But you had to read Oedipus in high school too. And the Warner shut down soon after Return of the Jedi to become offices; no longer were movies within walking distance. A tragedy in the original sense--meaning a song for the the goats.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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