We were privileged, given the toughness of the local streets in 1976, to have interior box office windows at the St. George. Many theaters were built with external brass or chrome booths fronting on sidewalk. Such was the case at the Mt. Lookout Theatre in Cincinnati where I grew up. My sister had a job there when she was around sixteen, selling tickets in the glass booth. I was seven, privileged to a free ticket on Saturdays and all the popcorn I could consume. But when I wasn’t watching Earth Versus the Flying Saucers my favorite pastime those Saturdays was hanging out with my sexy almost-grown-up sister Cris (hair so short she looked like Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina) at the chrome booth, which she occupied with the sophistication of a sybil — or a fortune-teller.
Mother didn’t approve of Cris’s theater job, partly because, gorgeous as my sister was, her study habits were abysmal. Our mother also thought the theater a little seedy; but had she known! Years after Mother died, Cris confessed to me that on New Year’s Eve the year she worked at the Mt. Lookout, she’d been sitting in the glass booth when a car careened suddenly around the corner on two wheels spitting out a single bullet, which penetrated the glass just above her head. What a glamorous corpse she might have made...
I thought of this episode later at the St. George in those crazy mid-seventies, and took heart that our ticket sellers were reasonably safe inside a recessed lobby.
For an example of a beautifully preserved movie palace with a ticket booth perilously close to the street, check out tampatheatre.com There are scads of other theaters that boast this feature, most of them presumably, as a British cabbie once said, "safe as houses."