When my parents split up, back when I was a young child, my father promised he’d visit my brother, sister, and me every weekend. To his credit, I barely remember a Saturday when he didn’t make the trip from New York City out to the suburbs of Long Island. He was as regular as clock-work. And remaining consistent with his consistency, almost every single one of those Saturdays we spent at the movies. Some fathers may have chosen this outlet because it was the easiest way to keep children both happy and quiet. My father, I know for a fact, took us because he loved the movies just as much as we did, if not more.
I remember one of the first Saturdays he came to visit. He picked my brother and me up from the local bowling alley, where we were doing what my mother loved best: bowling. Before we left the alley, my father told us about a new movie that had just come out with a lot of robots in it. He asked us if that was something we’d be interested in seeing. I enthusiastically said, “Yes!” while my brother, never one for fantasy films, expressed his interest in seeing something with Walter Matthau. My brother was eight at the time and his taste in films was obviously a lot different than mine and my father’s. That film about robots that my father was talking about was Star Wars and looking back, I realize, by saying the film had “a lot of robots in it,” he was doing his best to sell the idea of the film to his children because he most likely wanted to see it as well. I guess I know that because, as an adult, that’s exactly how I would present it.
The coin toss to decide which film we were going to see that day took place over an open copy of The Daily News, in which advertisements for both films were visible. I guess my father didn’t have a quarter on him because he ended up flipping a dime instead. And which ever way my brother called it, heads or tails, it went the other way and I won. We were going to see Star Wars.
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