Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Writers Block #92 - Cinema Strange

Photo Copyright Nexion

Smiths Moving Picture Emporium was built as one of the first of its kind. Over the years Smith had been forgotten. No-one really knew who he was, but many stories evolved around the building. It was said he had made his money in slavery somewhere in the Caribbean and returned to England wealthy and wanting to leave his mark on the landscape. It was also told that it was his wife’s money had enabled the building of the theatre. Who knows? Many years had passed and it was just known as Smith’s eventually.

At the beginning it was a popular place to visit. It was originally a theatre showing the plays of the day, but eventually became a cinema. The original films had no sound, but were accompanied by a piano player who was seated in what was originally designed as an orchestra pit and played her notes according to the scene being shown. If it was romantic, she would tend to send ripples along the piano, mainly using the higher notes. Sometimes a murder might be the centre of action. Then it was the lower notes, drumming a minor key and shivering according to the seriousness of the scene.

Eventually, there was a war and it was dangerous for theatre visits in the evenings when the planes would fly over with their bombs ready to destroy anything that could be seen from the sky. A cinema was not a good place to be, there was no protection if it was hit. Funnily enough Smith’s was not hit, just shaken around over the years. Its windows were broken and a layer of dust and grime lay upon the seats and the stage. The original film screen was no longer a complete screen and its tattered remnants hung lifeless waving in the breezes blowing through the remaining splinters of the windows.

The area surrounding the theatre was once quite upper class, but over the years the large houses were rebuilt to accommodate the expanding population and the upper class touch somehow was lost. Mrs. Mildred Smith and her son Georgie lived in three rooms rented in the basement of such a house. Mrs. Smith might have been related to the builder of the theatre, but she did not know. The name Smith was as common as grains of sand on the beach. There was not even a Mr. Smith. He disappeared when he was told that little Georgie was on his way. Mildred did her best to raise her son, but money was scarce and she had to work in one of the factories, so Georgie was left a lot to himself during the day.

He soon found his way to Smith’s Moving Picture Emporium and could easily squeeze through a broken window. It was fascinating to see the stage and the empty seats in rows waiting for an audience that would never appear again. Georgie’s mother would often listen to the radio at home and Georgie loved to stand on the stage and sing the songs he had heard. He imagined an audience watching him and when he was finished he would take a bow and could hear the appreciation of the clapping audience. Of course, he did not, but he was a boy and imagination was all he needed.

Mildred did not really know what her son did during the day, she was just happy to find him home when her daily work was finished. Georgie was a good boy and was always waiting for his mum in the evening. Of course, he was hungry and mum always had something to eat, even if it was only bread and butter and a glass of milk.

One day Georgie was not home in the evening and Mildred Smith was worried. She asked the neighbours if they had seen him, but they had not. She went to the police and they took the particulars, but told her not to worry. It often happens that a child disappears for a couple of days, but usually come home after their adventures on the streets alone. But Georgie did not come home. Georgie never came home again.

Questions were asked in the neighbourhood and a tramp known as Rummy Fred, because of his habit of preferring rum to other alcoholic drinks, was taken into custody for the murder of little Georgie Smith. Rummy Fred often slept in the theatre at night on the remaining seats and told the police that he had seen a little boy matching Georgie's description quite often near the theater. He pleaded his innocence and without a body, no case could be proven.

Mildred Smith did not know that one day her son was dancing and singing on the stage at Smith’s when he was suddenly blinded by theatre lights and saw that the seats were filled with people watching him and singing with him. They were dressed in their best clothes, although a little old fashioned, Georgie thought to himself, but that did not matter. They were singing along with him and when he was finished they were clapping, calling for more.

Mildred was sad that her son never returned, but life had to go on. Many years later modern times caught up with the area where Smith’s was and as all old buildings, the time had come for them to be replaced. Mildred Smith’s dwelling had long been demolished, although Mildred never lived to witness it.

When Smith’s was eventually pulled down they found the skeleton of a little boy under the boards of the stage. Investigations were made, and it was assumed that it was the missing Georgie Smith. What they did not know was that Georgie Smith had died with a satisfied smile on his face. The stage was just no longer strong enough to hold the vibrations of a dance any more, and the wood had snapped, little Georgie falling to the concrete floor beneath the stage

No comments:

Post a Comment