underage at the movies

It was 1971 (I was 12), and I went to the movies with my father. He wanted to see “Summer of 42” at the Janus cinema but didn’t want my mother to know because I guess the movie was mildly risqué.

I discovered that he had taken me along as cover.

Once at the Janus, he explained that he was seeing “Summer of 42,” but I was too young, so he bought me a ticket for “The Andromeda Strain” in a different screening room, and told me to see that movie while he saw his.

I didn’t want to see “The Andromeda Strain,” so after he sent me off to see it, I ran into a different room where “Harold and Maude” was showing. I immediately felt bad about it because I was a saintly good kid, lol, and discovered that “Harold and Maude” was pretty much a sex flick and a weird one at that. Nobody at the Janus theater was checking ages for the movies. It was rare that anyone did, so I slumped down in my seat and happily helped myself to a movie beyond my years.

Furthermore, age 12 was when I had some early realization, orientation wise, that I was not going to turn out like much of the rest of the population. There I was alone in the cinema having these feelings for the young Bud Cort, “Harold,” as he had a romantic relationship with the elderly Ruth Gordon, “Maude.” I felt weird. The whole movie was weird.

Because of the movie, I was mentally a mess riding home in the car with my father. He started asking me questions about “The Andromeda Strain,” which I couldn’t answer because I hadn’t seen it, and there was no way I could tell him I saw “Harold and Maude.”

Somehow I bluffed my way through it with my father, and my dirty little secret stayed safe as did his secret about the movie he saw. Whew! Ha!

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