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Thinking back on all the films my father took me to it's a wonder I'm not a plumber instead of a film critic.

Dad carted me to everything from Call Me Bwana and Billie to The Longest Day and The Cardinal. Who takes an 8-year-old to see Preminger's The Cardinal? Dad didn't care so long as the theatre was air conditioned.


Hell arrived in the form of a visit to Chicago's seedy Howard Theatre for my first exposure to the practice of four-walling, the cinematic equivalent of the Vanity Press. Many of the once plush 1,625 seat were not occupiable. If Febreze® were to pattern an air freshener after the Howard Theatre, they undoubtedly would name it Urine-Soaked Opium Den.

The Utah-based American National Enterprises (later Sunn Classics International) was one of the first distributors to pay a theatre owner a flat rental fee for the run of a picture. In exchange, Sunn Classics banked 100% of the box office take.


The film was Alaskan Safari, an interminable wildlife nature documentary. All I remember is a sluggish narrator describing pictures of bears standing knee-deep in running streams and pawing at salmon. Suddenly The Cardinal looked good!

Subsequent Sunn Classics releases (Chariots of the Gods, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, In Search of Noah's Ark, The Lincoln Conspiracy, and In Search of Historic Jesus) opened and closed without my participation.

Why not reward dad this Father's Day with the gift of cinema? Pick up a gift card for dad at any Landmark Theatre and the popcorn is on them.

You'll receive two free medium popcorns with a minimum of $30 in gift card purchases and five free medium corns with a minimum of $60 in gift card purchases. The cards are rechargeable and can be used online to purchase tickets online or at any Landmark Theatres box office. They also work at the concession stand.

Next time you're at the Ken be sure and partake in a bag of the best popcorn in town.

  • Big Screen alerts


John71471 June 7, 2012 @ 10:22 a.m.

Groucho Gottfried: "In my day, we had these things called 'fathers'. And the mother and the children would take the father to dinner on this thing called 'Father's Day'...".


nan shartel June 7, 2012 @ 11:01 a.m.

The greatest thing a FATHER can do to his children, is to love their mother. - Anjaneth Garcia Untalan


Colonna June 7, 2012 @ 1:58 p.m.

I can't find the Sinatra clip I want: "Today is Father's Day and to all the fathers out there, I want to wish you a Happy Father's Day. And to all you mothers, Happy Mother's Day!"

Instead, here's ol' Blue Eyes on an old Easter Seals telethon:



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