My earliest movie-going memory is being taken to see a film called The Magic Carpet at the Neptune Theatre in Richland.
And the only thing I recall about that experience is that I kept asking “Where’s the magic carpet?” Sort of a more specialized version of “Are we there yet?”
I vaguely recall that the magic carpet did in fact appear, probably towards the end of the flick, and I rather suspect that I was a bit disappointed in the experience overall, but I really don’t remember.
Knowing that some of my memories of the those early days may be a bit suspect, a few months ago I tried to find out if there was in fact a movie called The Magic Carpet that I may have seen at a very young age. And it turned out that there was.
The Magic Carpet was released in the US on October 18, 1951, at which time I was two and a half years old, which seems just a smidge too early for me to have retained a memory. But, of course, the Neptune didn’t receive movies when they were initially released but several months later, typically six months or so, making it entirely plausible that my memory is real. After all, I can still recall the time I caught my arm in a wringer when I was just shy of three.
I got a copy and put it on my Plex server.
So when might my parents have taken me to see it? I renewed my subscription to the newspaper archive and did a search, for which there is partially confirming news. The Magic Carpet played in the Joy Theatre in Newmanstown on August 7 and 8, 1952. It seems unlikely that it would have played at both the Joy and the Neptune, so I probably saw it in Newmanstown. If so, that might be the only time I ever saw a movie at the Joy.
But what surprised me most of all was the cast of The Magic Carpet.
Raymond Burr as Boreg and Lucille Ball as Princess Narah.
In fact it was Lucy’s last picture before starting on I Love Lucy.
Needless to say I have no recollection of seeing Lucy in the movie. By the time I would have seen it, I Love Lucy had aired its first season, but I wouldn’t have seen it because in those days we couldn’t receive the CBS station channel 10. (Although I think it was shortly after that that we got a UHF converter that allowed us to pick up at least one CBS station, so we may have been able to watch the show during it’s second season. I do have a memory of seeing the episode featuring the birth of Little Ricky.)
So what do I think of the movie after finally seeing it after all these years?
Alas, I haven’t found the time (or the will) to watch it yet!
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