The First Movie I Saw ... With My Sister

I have a ridiculous amount of stuff "stored" at my parents' house. I say " "stored" " (in quotes), because it wasn't a conscious decision to move it all there, it's just what's leftover after a life lived in the same house for my entire childhood - and beyond. It's stuff that never made it's way out of that locale. It's stuff that's a prisoner of my lethargy, laziness, and ... um, another "L" word (but not the one that was on pay cable, a few years back. That'd be weird!)

One day I decided to make an attempt to throw some of it out, so I started going through the gigantic box that included every (and I mean every) note I ever took in college. I think I made the right decision by throwing away all of my notes from college, but one never knows when one is going to have to refer back to an old ECON 101 talk about guns and butter. What if there's a test?!

Among the paperwork was this:

Not part of the approved Syracuse curriculum.

It's a "My Little Pony" flier with creases so worn-in that it must've come as an insert with one of the figures. I never played with "My Little Pony" as a kid, let alone in college. This must've been my sister's, but I have no idea how it ended up in this box. As I threw handfuls of old college-ruled paper away, I set this aside, thinking, "I'll make a blog post out of this, somehow." So here we are.

I don't have much to say about the flyer itself, other than it has two sides....

Frolicking like you only READ about.

... and that there are WAY more non-pony characters than I feel should be in a show called "My Little PONY" (emphasis mine).

BUT! This insert is about "My Little Pony: The Movie" ... and I do have a story AND two sub-stories about that subject! [Should I be working more horse-puns into this piece?]

"My Little Pony: The Movie" was the first movie my sister took me to ... maybe.

A close-up of the text.
(But, really, this image is just to break up what promises to be a rather "text-y" post.)

But first, let's set the clock back a bit to about two months before I found this insert poster. I, all of a sudden, prompted by nothing, remembered that my sister and I had gone to see this film in the theater over by my grandparents' house. The venue was a small affair at Hylan and Ebbitts Street on Staten Island called the Rae Twin Cinema. (The "twin" of the title was a brag about the fact that it had two - yes TWO! - screens! This was the days before giant multiplexes). I remember it smelling vaguely of air conditioned mold and cigarettes. But then again, they all do, don't they? (Both memories and theaters.)

It was strange to think that we would have even been allowed to see a movie - any movie - alone, at that time, because in 1986 I would have been 9 and my sister would have been 12. I dunno about your parents, but my mom was certainly not the type to let her only two kids sit alone, in a dark theater, for almost two hours. Anything could happen to unaccompanied kids in the 80s! STRANGER DANGER!

And we certainly were not the kind of juveniles to be delinquent and sneak off to see a film on our own. (Again: Stranger Danger.) But, ha, just imagine that! Sneaking off to see "My Little Pony: The Movie"?! That's Bad. Ass.

The worst part of it all is that I'll never know how we came to be sitting in an almost-empty, weird-smelling theater, watching ponies run from a giant purple "Smooze", because my sister does not remember the occasion at all!

Which leads to my first sub-story about this story!

Smooze AND lava? These ponies are f&$%ed.

As I told you, this memory struck me from no where. I'm guessing it's similar to the way repressed memories hit people ... but without all the icky stuff that usually goes along with that. In fact, the only traumatizing part about my repressed pony memory was that there were a couple of rambunctious other kids in the theater with us and I was terrified that they were going to talk to us. NOT hit. NOT accost. JUST talk. Terrified little kid, was I! Still, not as icky as most repressed-memory stories, so I count myself lucky. (PS: "rambunctious" is how I would have refereed to them, even as a 9-year old. I was born an old man.)

Anyway, I got the jolt of memory, so I decided to investigate. I asked my parents why they let two young kids see such a terrible movie, alone, but neither one had any recollection of this event, so they were a dead end. Parents always let you down, when it comes to cherished, super-specific, childhood memories, right?! So the next step would have been to contact my sister (who I did not yet know didn't remember this occasion). But, before I could contact her, my father called her and told her that I was asking questions about "the first movie she brought me to". [Please picture a scene like form a mob movie where, under cover of a darkened alley, one person whispers to the other, "Psst! Hey! Heads up, Jeff's been asking about you and "My Little Pony"!", because that's how I'm picturing it.]

That misrepresentation caused my sister to think about the first movie she DROVE me to  - which leads me to the second sub-story of this post:

The first movie she drove me to was "Christmas Vacation". Bad. Ass. My sister had just gotten her license, but that wasn't supposed to be here-nor-there, since I was going to be seeing it with my buddy from school and his brother AND driven there by my buddy's dad. They swung by to pick me up, I hopped in the car, and the dad immediately backed his car into a tree on our property, caving in the entire back of the car. The little brother was in the back-back and got glass all over him. He had curly hair, too, so it got all stuck in there. He was fine, though, so stop worrying.

To the dad's credit, the tree he hit WAS directly in the middle of our driveway, where no normal person would put a tree, so for him not to be on alert for a tree wasn't so off-base. Still, to this day, I double-check for trees, before backing up. you never know where someone has planted one.

With the car in no shape (and the dad in no state) to drive three kids to the flicks, my sister, with her freshly-minted license, was like, "I'LL DRIVE THEM!" And so she did. It was super nice of her to do and I probably never thanked her properly. Will she consider this post a thank you?

"Bushwoolies" sounds like something your grandma still says and it makes you uncomfortable and you mumble "Sorry, she's old".

It was THAT experience that my sister was thinking of when I finally got around to asking her about my new-found memory of "the first movie she took me to". She was kinda like, "But I wasn't old enough to drive, then!" And she was right. The conversation that followed was confusing and not worth repeating (suffice it to say that IMDB was employed, to check on release dates and movie times).

To put a happy ending on this sad tale of mistaken memories and ill-communicated remembrances, there's this:
The theater we saw the movie in (OR DID WE?!) would later be turned into an OTB and then into a Chevy's "restaurant". Later, it would be bulldozed and a CVS now stands there. Next time in the area, I'll make a point to stop in and find the most "My Little Pony"-y thing I can find ... for old time's sake.

Other facts I have learned about "My Little Pony: The Movie" from The Internet:
  1. The Smooze (the purple thing trying to eat the ponies) was voiced by Bowzer from Sha-Na-Na.
  2. Danny DeVito and wife Rhea Perlman both had roles ... AS TROLLS.
  3. Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, and Tony Randall ALSO had roles, making this an all-star cast ... for kids who couldn't give two damns about star-power, really, just show me ponies!!!
  4. It grossed $5,958,456 - which, in today's money, is ... still not impressive. ($12,933,546.37)
Oh, I also remember that neither of us liked the movie very much. Closure.

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