From Pearl Jam to the Past

Retro Staff 1  Comment

I’ll tell you now, before you read any further. I expect some reader participation when you get done, all right? Because if you don’t have anything to share, I’m calling you out as a liar.

Your first kiss. Remember it? I’m pretty sure you do. I do. It happened at the ARGO Theatre, in Elmont New York, at a showing of The Big Chill. Opening weekend, if I remember right. My second ‘real’ date.

I’m reminded of this because I’m learning to play guitar, and I’m just getting into Pearl Jam’s version of “Last Kiss”, originally recorded by Wayne Cochran in 1961 and released by Gala Records that same year. And so, if you’re thinking “Last Kiss”, it only makes sense that you start thinking first kiss, too, right?

Argo Theater Signage

Century’s Argo Theater marquee in 2005. The sign has since been removed. Photo by Ed Solero)

I remember walking to the Green Acres Mall the following day, and purchasing the soundtrack to The Big Chill. I bought my parents a copy for themselves that Christmas. On cassette, no less, so they could play it in the car. Me, I would’ve gone for the LP, but it was sold out. Thinking back on it, probably bought that cassette five times over, before its release on CD. You know how it is when you’ve got tunes that are connected with good times, and they get warped from a shoddy tape deck or leaving it in the car during the summertime.

So, ARGO Theatre, Hempstead Turnpike and Elmont road in Elmont. Just off the corner, a classic-style one-theatre theatre. No multiplex (they hadn’t come along yet—at least not in my neck o’ the woods). The biggest movie theatre I’d seen at the time? The Sunrise Drive-In (which makes a cameo in the film Lords of Flatbush), and the occasional twin Dad would drive to if something really special was playing.

The ARGO. Fond memories aside, I’m not going to lie. Wasn’t exactly the Zigfield, okay? Let’s leave it at that. I don’t know exactly when it opened, and I’m not interested in looking it up, because I’ll feel like I’m ancient and need to scrape the amber off before filing this blog. Still, I made it clear. I’m not doing all the work today. Your first kiss. Not the kind of thing you forget, nor is the place where it occurred.

I have guitar chords to practice. Means it’s your turn. You guys can do the rest of the heavy lifting today. I’ve been in the Way-Back machine already.

Last updated: Aug 20, 2013
Filed under: Remember When, Retro Memories Tagged with: date night, movie theaters