The Projectionist

The movie on the screen was in black-and-white. Every movie was, in this tiny specialized movie theater. Here the old projectionist played all the movies that didn’t make it into the digitalized files. There is a misunderstanding that every movie is available online, but that’s not true. Movies that don’t make the cut are lost forever except in little old movie houses like this one.

Image result for image projection booth

Sometimes the projectionist played old favorites. Movies like “A Day In The Park” featuring happy families and children flying kites would draw as many as seven patrons, four more than the usually sleeping three patrons that occupied the seats most afternoons.

But all of the movies got shown in rotation. There was a movie called “Breakfast” which featured 47 minutes of eggs being fried. Not the most exciting film. Another movie was called “Battle” which featured a score created by the director for the movie. In the movie two rival ant factions fought for control of the Amazon floor. Unfortunately, the director was a far better composer than camera man. So the entire film was shot slightly out of focus. By midway through the film, patrons would think they were going blind.

It happened one day. The projectionist felt a twinge in his heart. He knew without asking that this was his time. He switched the reels, so that 47 minutes of eggs frying was abruptly interrupted by the second reel of “A Day In The Park.” Grimacing in pain, the old projectionist faltered down the steep stairs, really a ladder, out of the booth. He staggered through the theater doors, down the frayed thread worn red carpet, and collapsed on the stairs to the platform.  He could barely breath, and blackness threatened to close in around the edges of his vision.

Half-crawling, the projectionist climbed the last few steps and stood before the screen. He stepped forward, and the movie took him in.

Critics of rare films noted that, in the second reel of “A Day In The Park,” the producer of the film suddenly appears walking from behind the camera and proceeding across the park. He looks young and happy. By all accounts the producer used all the money he received from the film to open a small rare movie theater to display his work and the work of others like him.


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