Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Kingsway Theater - A Love Story (1947)

In early 1947 my father was working as an usher at the Century Kingsway Theater on Kings Highway and Coney Island Avenue. He was just past 16 years old, and I’m not sure what they were paying him, but he was about to come into something more valuable than financial reward. When he went to work that night in early 1947, he had no way of knowing that his life was about to change forever. This was the night he met my Mom; but for whom I would not be telling this story.

My Mom had gone to the movies with her friend Judy; remember, I’m pulling this up from the deep recesses of my mind, so it may have been Doris instead. This was their usual routine on a Saturday night in the late 1940’s, when women wore headscarves and gloves; well, at least my Mom did. Also, she was Jewish, and just shy of her 18th birthday. She was studying voice and auditioning for parts in the chorus of various  Broadway Shows.

My Dad, on the other hand,  was only 16 and a half, Irish Catholic, and apparently; according to my Mom; a bit lacking in the social graces. He was just ready to graduate from Maritime High School  aboard the SS Brown in Manhattan, and then ship out as a Merchant Marine Seaman; something I would later do myself.  Instead of asking her out on a proper date though,  he told her he’d be working the next weekend if she wanted to see him again! My Mom, of course, went home, and in the only diary entry she ever showed me wrote that “if he thinks I’m going back and pay to see him again, he’s got another think coming!” Strong words, but the next week she was back to see him; albeit still with her friend; and this time my Dad did ask her out for a date. They went to Prospect Park and fed the squirrels. These photos are from their 3rd date, as noted.

My friend John posted the picture of the Kingsway Theater on Facebook the other day, bringing back many memories; all good; of the good old days. And looking back, I don’t think that there was ever a time that I saw a movie at the Kingsway without recalling the story of how my parents met, and I came to be. Thanks, John.

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