THE BEST MOVIE EVER
There were five movie theaters in town, but our preferred picture palace was the State Theater. One of its features was always a western. We liked to get there early so we could get seats down front if it was crowded. This day it wasn’t crowded, but being early was still good because we got to see a newsreel, two different Previews of Coming Attractions, a Three Stooges short, a chapter of the latest serial, and a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
The main feature was "Island of Rainbows" or "Rainbow on the Island" or something to do with islands and rainbows. It was sort of a South-Sea-island-comedy-adventure. With music. It came on in glorious technicolor and was thrilling and funny all the way through. I even liked the love story part – the boy and girl mostly argued and only kissed once..
Next, we watched the second feature – a western with Bob Steele -- called "Rangers of Dirty Valley" or something. Bob Steele was my favorite cowboy, but I really couldn’t get excited. My mind was still going over "Isle of Rainbows." I tried to compare it with something else that was wonderful, and I decided it was like Christmas. Not last Christmas when I got mostly socks and underwear, the Chrismas-before-last when I got a baseball glove.
When the western ended, Bice went home. I stayed so I could watch "Rain on the Bow" again. In those days you could do that, pay one admission and stay and watch the movie again and again right up until the theater closed. I didn’t mind sitting through one newsreel, two previews, three Stooges, the fourth chapter, and a cartoon to see what I’d already decided was my all-time favorite movie.
"Island Blowfish" was just as good the second time around. I would have stayed for the next showing, but I was already late for dinner.
Without a doubt, "Isle of Raining" was the greatest movie ever filmed. I would have bet it won the Oscar that year hands down if I’d know there was such a thing as an Oscar. During the rest of the week, I went to the State Theater three more times and watched "Rain on the Isle" twice each time. What a great movie!
For years, whenever I saw a good movie like "On the Waterfront" or "Dr. Strangelove," I’d think, that it was terrific – but not as terrific as "Rainbow Whatsis." That was the nonpariel I rated all other movies against.
I kept hoping it would show up on television. Finally, more than forty years after I first saw it at the State, it was listed on the late, late, late show on Channel 2. Forty years, but I still treasured my moments on the celluloid South Seas. I had to sit up until three o’clock in the morning. As the big hand approached twelve, I got my snacks ready and snuggled down in my favorite chair.
The screen broke out in glorious technicolor. After forty years!
Ten minutes later, I turned off the TV and went to bed.
I guess one’s opinion of what’s funny or exciting or tuneful or good acting changes as you grow older. Oddly, since I turned off the TV that night, I haven’t been able to remember the real name of the movie.