Saturday Night COOL

Remember Saturday Night Fever?  That was set in Brooklyn and made John Travolata an overnight icon around the world.  Before that we had Saturday Night Cool in the small town of Coronation where I grew up.  I tore tickets for free popcorn and was allowed to see all the movies there.  I decided that someday I would go to Hollywood and become a writer. 

Saturday Night Cool

written by jaron summers (c) 2024

 

Recalling the disco fever of “Saturday Night Fever,” which immortalized Brooklyn and made John Travolta a global sensation, I’m taken back to a different time and place—Coronation, Alberta.

This small Canadian town, twenty miles from where k.d. lang grew up, held its own kind of Saturday night ritual.

In the town, there was only one movie theater, known as The Avalon. When I was twelve, I had a small job there tearing tickets. In exchange, I received free popcorn and Cokes, and the privilege to watch every movie that was shown; some of the films ran for a week at a time.

Often I watched the same movie seven or eight times…I decided that I would go to Hollywood and become a writer.   
 
The enduring image that comes to mind when I think of those Coronation Saturday nights is the battered farm trucks, mostly half-tons, that stood against the icy October chill on Main Street under the full moon.
 
These trucks, parked in front of the town’s only beer parlor, were silent sentinels to a harsher aspect of rural life.
 

Inside almost every truck, a farmer’s wife waited and shivered, bearing the weather’s bite and the wear of life’s trials. These women, much like the vehicles they sat in, bore the marks of hard use.

The men often drank to excess and, in a nasty twist of fate, chastised their wives for the very act of keeping warm, accusing them of wasting gasoline for their comfort.

It was a scene of stark contrasts: the escapism offered by the flickering images of The Avalon and the sobering reality awaiting those women in their trucks. 

That’s what Hollywood turned out to be for me.  Stark  contrasts. Sobering reality.  Flickering images.  

But I’m pleased to report I never bought my wife a truck and left her to shiver in the cold.  

 

 

 

 

 

Memories are locked in my memory of Coronation and Saturday nights after the only movie theater closed.

 

 

 

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jaron

Jaron Summers wrote dozens of primetime television and radio programs, including those for HBO, CBS, ACCESS TV and CBC. He conceived the TV and Film Institute of Canada. Funded by the University of Alberta and ITV, Jaron ran the Institute for 12 years, donating his services for a decade.

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