The Old West Theater
Adults went to the West Theater
in the rowdy West End of town
and sat downstairs
to watch the movies.
In the balcony teenagers necked.
They didn't bother each other
until youthful giggling got too loud.
Then the usher's flash light coming down the isle
led to some quick straightening up.
Saturday was the busy night.
For grown ups it was a Depression night on the town
where, with care, four bits would cover
the costs of the trip away from bleak reality.
Dancing feet of Fred and Ginger,
champagne and tuxedos made
the drabness of being poor disappear.
For the high school crowd it was the place to be.
It was often very cheap for them
sneaking in past a friendly usher.
But the price was right because
they didn't plan to watch the movie.
Now when the dated girl wanted to watch
Ginger or just had to sit in the front row
instead of the back of the balcony
the lad was in for a dull evening.
It was a house of dreams for both ages so
the theater needed no imaginative name.
Old West Theater was enough.
But for the little kid's, dreams of love
and silly dancing held little interest.
They craved action.
For a dime they could go to their theater, Strand.
Strand on the Picketwire
at the foot of the crocked brick street.
There played the men of action
on horses with remembered names.
Too young for love.
Too young for Depression pain,
but old enough to know the difference between
black and white hats.
For them a double feature and a candy bar for 15 cents entertained until their hormonal surge took them to the Old West Theater.
A complete cycle of family values in our times.