I very clearly remember matinees at the Parkside Theater. As others have recalled, one could buy a series of tickets at their school shortly before school let out for the summer. (I attended West Portal Elementary.) I would go with two of my sisters, and we generally had to walk to and from the theater from our home. (I lived near the Forest Hill Station, so it was a bit of a walk.) If I was lucky and had an extra nickel, it allowed me the luxury of taking the L Taraval streetcar to and/or from the theater.
Of course, a movie experience isn't complete without an adequate supply of candy to last through a double feature. I remember Sugar Babies, Milk Duds, Charleston Chews, Looks, Hershey bars, etc. It's amazing I still have all my teeth!
I would continue to patronize the Parkside on occasion to see movies not long before it closed. One would have to view movies solely from the balcony as the main floor had been adapted as a preschool.
I too, remember Nicky. Nicky had Down's syndrome. I recall being frightened of him. The rumor circulating about him was that if you cried, he thought you were laughing at him and would get quite angry about it. (Oh! The silly things children come up with.) Not only did I see Nicky at the Parkside, but I recall he would walk home from Forest Hill Station along Dewey Boulevard around the time school was letting out.
Nowadays, schoolchildren are exposed to their peers who may have a disability, and with this exposure, need not fear people with disabilities. Back then, typically developing children generally had no such exposure. The consequence could be fear or worse, ridicule born of ignorance.
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