Friday, April 22, 2011
Good Friday? An APE Friday!
But wait - this is a story from my childhood, not an attack on Easter, so calm down, don't close the window. (Sheesh, I would think you would trust me by now)
When I was but a lad, 13 to be precise, I loved the Planet of the Apes movies. All five of them. Yes. There were FIVE. Besides the first masterpiece, my favorite was Beneath the Planet of the Apes, staring James Franciscus - because he played the cool blind detective Longstreet on TV. (He was also the voice of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, but I forgive easily.) I digress.
In 1974, our local movie theater had a special event called "Go Ape For a Day". For the price of one ticket, you could watch all five Planet of the Apes movies consecutively in one sitting. Yes, 10 hours of Apeness. We were thrilled. Two of my best friends at the time were a pair of twins that I'll call Mike & Matt, and we decided to go together.
This event was to take place on Friday. School would be out for Easter weekend, and the movies would run from 10am to 8pm. The three of us rode our bikes to the theater the day before and bought our tickets, stopped by 7-11 and went home with our pockets loaded with a 10 hour supply of penny candy. Yes we paid for it. Penny candy was only a penny back then.
The next morning, I said goodbye to my somewhat concerned parents, hopped on my Schwinn Sting-Ray and headed for the twins' house. I knocked on the door. Mike opened it, looking somber. The conversation that followed is burned into my memory:
"We can't go." Mike said, refusing to make eye contact.
"What?" I asked incredulously.
"Its Good Friday."
"So what? That's why we don't have school."
"Yeah, but we can't do anything fun on Good Friday."
"Because we're Catholic."
"I know you're Catholic, but Catholics can still go to movies. Right?"
"Not on Good Friday."
"That's crazy. I thought Catholics can do anything." (remember - I was 13)
"Not on Good Friday."
"So you really, truly don't want to go?"
"We want to - but mom says we can't. So...have fun."
Mike sheepishly closed the door. I got on my bike and headed for the theater by myself. Angry. Angry at Mike & Matt. Angry at their Mom. And mostly, angry at the Catholics for taking a perfectly good Friday and ruining it.
So, I went to the theater by myself, hoping to see someone I knew. I didn't. So for 10 hours I subsisted on popcorn, candy, hotdogs and soda - all the time fuming a the Catholics. I still enjoyed the movies, but some of the fun was sucked out of the experience.
My dad came to pick me and my bike up after it was over. He was surprised that my friends weren't there. I explained my frustration with the Catholics. He calmly took the opportunity to teach me about the significance of Good Friday in other religions, but I wasn't buying it, because, even then, I knew that the day that was truly GOOD was Easter Sunday. Eventually I forgave the Catholic Church.
A Good Friday never passes wherein I don't think about Planet of the Apes.
I have a sudden craving for Lemonheads.