USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Movie theaters’

Family Tradition: Guess the Number of Previews at Each Movie

“My family has a game we play when we go to movie theaters.  When we go see a movie, we always guessed the amount of commercials or previews there are going to be and then how many of this video’s we actually want to go watch. So, before the movie starts off, I’ll be like, ‘4:2’, and my mom would be like, ‘6:3’ and that’s like the number of previews you think are going to happen before the show and then the amount of those previews that happened that we would actually go see.”

Background Information and Context:

“I have no idea why we do that or when it started, but as far as I know we’ve done it as long as we’ve gone to see movies. I just know that my family does it, and that Reed [my boyfriend] and I do it. It’s a tradition, and it’s fun, and it’s really dumb.”

Collector’s Notes:

This is a great example of how sharing traditions help continue the tradition and improve one’s connections with others. The game that the informant plays with her family before each movie is fun and has positive associations, but by sharing the game with her boyfriend, she is not only continuing the tradition away from home but also allowing someone else to become a part of a well-loved tradition. More than simply telling someone about a tradition, allowing someone to engage in a personal tradition is a sign of trust and closeness, a sign that you deem them worthy of being a part of something that means a lot to you.


Grandma Movietime

While working at Metro Theaters, a Santa Barbara movie theater chain, my informant heard about “Grandma Movietime,” an elderly woman who wears a diaper and brings objects to prop theater doors open so that she can leave to go to the bathroom easier. She gets mad at people when they tamper with them.

Everyone at the theater chain knows about her and warns new employees to watch out for her because “she’s crazy,” although my informant never encountered her himself.

Employees discussing the most memorable or troublesome recurring patrons that they have to deal with and sharing these accounts with each other seems to me to be an integral part of service industry culture.