The theatre was immense, of a sort one rarely sees anymore in the age of multiplexies, In the vaudeville era, it had hosted some of the biggest stars of the time, including Milton Berle, Sophie Tucker and George Burns. But the entertainment that I saw there was of an entirely different sort.
For me, The Yonge Threatre, as it was known in the early 70's, was a Saturday afternoon Mecca. Each weekend would bring a new triple feature. The Yonge's mix would usually consist of a pair of kung fu movies and a second run action movie with someone like Charles Bronson or Robert Mitchum. And so my Saturdays would entail a trip to Yonge and Queen with my friends. Six hours of movies later, the whole time while munching on popcorn, candy bars and guzzling pop,we would emerge bleary-eyed onto the east side of Yonge Street and recreate flying kicks and wield imaginary nunchucks as we made our way to a pinball emporium up the street. A couple of hours of pinball wizardry on games like Gotleib's Centigrade 37 or Bally's Playboy would be followed by a visit to
McDonald's and a burger, fries and coke. They were very happy days, and not just because I was able to maintain a rail-thin frame back then despite non-stop junk-food gouging.
|Yonge Street back then|
So to Sir Run Run Shaw, from those of us to whom you provided so much good fun, thank you and farewell.