A great little ditty uncovered by Colin Geddes while leafing through my copy of Famous Players Canada’s What’s New? employee newsletter from July, 1973. Sure, you can still expect to be treated this way by your fellow movie-goer, but gosh, those ushers knew a thing or two about customer service! And as evidenced by the photo to the right, they either used a really tough starch, or those jackets were full on bulletproof:
My boyfriend and I visited your theatre at the Skyline Hotel on Tuesday July 3rd. We were sitting in Cinema 2 watching Class of ’44, when two very rude people behind us started throwing popcorn, swearing and in general causing a disturbance. It was a young couple and finally the female members dumped a large 7-Up over my head and clothing.
Naturally this was too much to tolerate so I went out to get the usher. He asked the couple to step outside, which they refused to do. The usher then asked my boyfriend and I to wait there and he went to get the manager.
Finally, the couple agreed to step into the lobby. The gentleman (and I use the term loosely) wanted to fight my boyfriend, but the usher stepped between.
The manager then listened to both sides of the story and was about to make some kind of decision when the ‘gentleman’ started calling me names. The manager then said that did it and they were to go upstairs for a refund.
The usher was most kind and escorted us to the washroom to wash the stickiness off. He apologized for what happened, then returned to work. The manager spoke to my boyfriend and apologized and offered to pay my cleaning bill. As my clothes were wash’n’wear he (my boyfriend) refused the generous offer.
Then on our way out after the show – which I must say I enjoyed, the manager caught up with us and asked us to please come again and handed us a “Manager’s Courtesy Pass.”
I just wish to let you know that I am now a fan of 20th Century theatres. I also wish to congratulate you on your excellent staff. Your usher not only knew what to do, but he knew how to do it in a very mannerly fashion. I must say, so did your manager. He made us feel at home and very much welcomed.
My thanks and appreciation to you,
Name Withheld, Mississauga
Top image: Ushers standing guard outside the Casino Theatre, 87 Queen St. W. Note the “scientifically air-conditioned” sign on the sandwich board. The Casino, neighbouring the Roxy/Broadway, Arcadian, Ace/Photodrome and Colonial/Bay, closed its doors in 1965. Source: Queen’s University Archives.