Thursday, September 16, 2021

Singil: Movies and movie stars I remember

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THERE’S a short chapter in my life that when I look back I cannot help but laugh at myself.

The scene was in San Juan City. This was in the mid-fifties and I was a dishwasher in a small restaurant located at the corner of N. Domingo and Lozada streets.

My sister Eugenia was the cook and each summer break from high school, I would join my sister there and got “employed” not only as a dishwasher, but also as a janitor and an errand boy.

Despite the heavy workload, I never felt burdened. Probably because I was young and enjoyed the metropolitan atmosphere, instead of the bucolic and laidback setting in my hometown of Porac.

And on Sunday, my off day, I would walk from the restaurant to the nearby Sampaguita studios where together with fans waited outside of the high walled Vera Perez residences for the movie stars coming in and out.

The late Amalia Fuentes was the newest discovery of the studio together with Romeo Vasquez and Juancho Gutierrez.

Other popular stars were Luis Gonzales, Gloria Romero, Rita Gomez, Ric Rodrigo, Pepito Rodriguez, Daisy Romualdez, Rosemarie Sonora, Greg Martin and Eddie Arenas. Rodolfo Quezon, a.k.a. Dolphy, was starting to make a name and was still second billing.

I was a movie fan then and now, only today I am more discriminating.

I seldom go to movie houses now because it cost more. Particularly if you really want to be seated more comfortable, but the IMAX theaters cost more.

In my youth, an orchestra ticket in Angeles City, Guagua, or San Fernando or even in Metro Manila theaters cost only 35 centavos.

A balcony ticket was priced double and considered a luxury for most. And lotharios who were playing hide and seek were not much visible, but moviegoers can hear loud smacking among young couples. Under the cover of darkness, brave couples were doing more than that.

On top of it, in those days, you can stay in your seat and can view the movie twice or thrice and no usher will bother you. Unlike today where there are time schedules for screening.

The digital age came, and the laptops, iPads and even cellphones offer more movies and documentaries. You can even view them repeatedly and on any of one’s available free time. And subscription is not that much. Unli movies, unli documentaries, and unli news.

In the early years in Angeles town, there were few theaters and featured sometimes two movies.

The Paraiso movie house, which later became Lita theater, showed mostly Tagalog movies like Robin Theater.

Devry and Marte theaters only featured English movies.

I remember it was either in these two movie houses where I saw Tarzan and starred Johnny Weissmuller. Other male stars were Errol Flynn, Audie Murphy, Humphrey Bogart and more. Hollywood movies were real treats then.

I viewed twice, with only two pandesal as lunch, the 1957 movie Boy on a Dolphin starring Sophia Loren. I fell in love with her. Every time I went to the bathroom I always saw her face, her pouting lips and sexy behind.

Gina Lolobrigida and Brigitte Bardot’s posters I kept at the back of my pillow and had “romanced” them almost each night. Oh, Wow I remember.


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