Film The first film I saw at the cinema was Pete's Dragon.
At least I think it was. Having asked my parents, they seem to agree that it must have been though they don't know why they chose that in the end. I think it might even have been that my Dad wanted to see it and since it was of a low enough BBFC rating I was brought along too instead of asking someone to babysit me.
If it was at this first release, I would have only been about three years old so you'll have to forgive me if I don't have some wild anecdote about seeing the film. The only image that's lodged itself in my greys is of a little boy, which I have to assume is Pete, dancing along the road with the dragon which on reflection might have been from a trailer montage at the beginning of a VHS release for some other Disney release later.
The only solid memory I do have is of walking away with Mum and Dad, down the stairs from the 051 cinema on Mount Pleasant to the underpass, this being a rare example of me at that age being in town relatively late, I'm assuming past ten o'clock. From what I can gather this would have been early 1978 (oddly enough at about the same time as Star Wars and it's pretty typical of things that the giant animated dragon film would be my first cinema experience).
Having thought about this event across the years, there's one anomaly which has always, not so much bugged me, as given me pause.
Back then, in the 1970s, we lived in Speke which for the uninitiated is a suburb way out in the sticks of Liverpool, so far out that it was part of Whiston until 1932 when it was bought by Liverpool Corporation from the original owners, the Watt family (and indeed so old that it was originally owned by Christmas).
Going to secondary school ten years later involved a half hour bus ride to Penny Lane (yes, that one) so going into Liverpool city centre by bus in '77 would have been something of an achievement.
Which is why we'd usually see films at the Woolton Picture House (see Star Wars). A few years later there was an ill-fated evening trip to see a rerelease of Herbie Goes Bananas which we missed because the newspaper listing was wrong. It had already been replaced with Videodrome. I cried and cried in the rain outside the telephone call box as my Dad phoned home to tell her.
Or we'd make the semi-slog to the Cannon Classic on Allerton Road but that only tended to be on extra special occasions or if I was being taken by relatives. That's how I saw most of the Bond films in my youth, though I slept through most of Octopussy. If I'd been especially well behaved I'd be bought a hot dog which was a Cannon speciality.
So why did we travel all the way into town for Pete's Dragon and why wasn't it on locally? Aha, perhaps we met Dad after work - he worked in the city centre.
Hold on ... I'll ask my parents about that too ...
It's quite simply. Mum says its probably because that was the last place where it was still showing. The 051 was a second run house in those days.
Either way, that answers that question.
Moral: Ask your parents about things you can't remember. They'll tell you stuff.