I was a certified projectionist for many years.
I worked at the $1 and $3 Movie Theatre in Monterey Park....called Monterey Mall Cinemas owned by Edwards Cinemas.
It is no longer there...it has been torn down.
I would walk by there all the time , I would walk to Cal State, then down to Atlantic ave to Atlantic Square then to Tower Records....and walk back home thru East Los Angeles College to City Terrace park then walk home thru there....I liked to walk ...I was alone alot of the time so did not have anything to do at home...so would kill time by walking....I only worked on the weekend so I would have all week off.
On one of those walks.....while listening to Nine Inch Nails....My favorite band at the time that I would play on a loop in my walkman.
I saw that they had $1 and $3 dollar movies....just within my budget.
I went in and saw a movie...I don't remember the exact one....but I went in and was greeted by a bunch of young adults...just like me.
The enviroment was very cool...I could not buy any food at the snack bar so I just asked for some water and the girl at the concession stand asked me if I wanted some soda and popcorn...I told her I did not have any money and she said that she could give it to me for free.
I said sure...and she gave me a courtesy cup with sprite and a carryout tray with popcorn.....and butter.
It was great, she asked me if I was looking for a job and said that I should apply.
I did....I was working at Thrifty on the weekend only and needed something to do during the week....then she told me I could watch free movies....that was the closer.....I love movies.
I interviewed upstairs in the projection booth...The upstairs projection booth had a toilet....My boss was sitting on it as he interviewed me....the lid was closed so he was sitting on the lid ...but no matter how hard I tried I could not help but think that he was pooping....it was an easy interview ....I was wearing a black suit and tie with wingtips....I got the job.....
On my first day there....I was initiated....I was told to go get ice from upstairs....not sure why but that is where they decided to put the ice machine...so up I went.....with my two buckets ...there they showed me the theatre mascot....a frozen rat underneath the ice machine....scared the daylights out of me....A tradition that I continued for many years :)
It was a dollar movie theatre...so we never got first run movies....the movies that we got had been out in the theatres at least a few months before we got them....It meant that we received all the movies that other projectionists put together and showed.
Because of this...we would get some pretty messed up movies....but watching movies was the perfect escape from reality...I can't even begin to count the many times that I saw Pulp Fiction ......I had all the lines memorized...
I learned how to put movies together and tear them down....I learned to change bulbs and clean projectors, I learned how to deal with irrate customers (Try telling someone that you can't give them their dollar back because the movie broke) and work in a team enviroment.
I became assistant manager (A Key Twirler) and had free run of the place...on Thursday nights we would stay late tearing down movies...Movies come in usually about 6 seperate reels...in two big metal cans...to show a movie we had to use a machine that would feed the reels to a big platter......to tear it down....you would use the machine to put the movie back onto reels.
So anyways ....if we had 6 movies.....it meant that we had to wait until the last movie was finished to tear it down...usually at about midnight...so we very possibly could stay there until 3 in the morning or later.
When we all started to become close...the people that could leave at 10 or 11pm would stay behind to help and hang out.....we would go get food and eat it there....usually after all the work was done....we all were broke so we would pitch in for whoever did not have any money and everyone would eat.
I quit that job eventually...moved on to another Movie Theatre in Pasadena that paid more money...were I got certified as a Real Projectionist and ran first run movies in a 1000 seater movie theatre.....You should of seen the lines for the Star Wars movies...
I definitely recommend that if you have teens that want to work...that they try working at a movie theatre......or if you are looking for a part time job.....free movies...free stuff from the concession....and working with others.
Yes it is usually minimum wage, but can't beat free movies and food.
I don't work in a Movie Theatre anymore ... It has been a while...but I love movies...one thing that I can't stand is the smell of burnt popcorn ..... but I still love Movies and go watch a movie or two as often as possible.
Rip Montery Mall Cinemas 1979 to 2007 (Many good times)