Starting pretty much as soon as I was able to drive, we had a routine on those Saturday nights when there wasn’t much going on. Around 11:15, we’d show up at the Big Bear grocery at Graceland Shopping Center, walk to an aisle in the center of the store and each buy a bag of rice.
We’d then drive to the back of the center to the movie theater, where a crowd had always started to gather for the weekly screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show.
I’m not saying I didn’t have much of a social life while in high school, but I did end up seeing those midnight screenings — always preceded by Meat Loaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and Tim Curry’s “I Do The Rock” — somewhere around 75 times. I got to be pretty good with the callbacks, and I got to know a few of the other people who showed up even more than I did.
We had it easy, because until it closed a few years ago, the Graceland Twin held the record for the longest-running showing of the movie in the United States. By the time I started seeing the movie in the mid-80s, it didn’t look much like this, but there were still people who dressed for the show, and once in a while we got a full shadow production underneath the screen.
I’ve seen it just once or twice since then, and my memory of the lines — and the responses — was still pretty good. When RHPS was the theme of tonight’s episode of Glee, my subconscious started pulling up those lines again, even though its been at least 20 years since I’ve seen the movie in a theater. And I’m wondering — when we see it on stage at Carnegie Mellon next weekend, is it appropriate to yell responses? If not, I’m going to need to see it in a theater again. Soon.