Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This theater and booze

So the local news on TV last night had a story about how movie theaters are lobbying state government to allow them to sell alcoholic beverages. I couldn't help think of a couple of shorts in which movie theater owners talk about the public service that their theaters provided for their patrons, such as The Case Against the 20% Federal Admissions Tax on Motion Picture Theatres.

Movie theaters, at least here in New York State, aren't allowed to sell alcohol mostly because the US has wacky alcohol laws. For the benefits of non-US readers, when Prohibition was repealed with the 21st Amendment, that amendment clearly left alcohol policy up to the states. (This is why getting the wines from the TCM Wine Club delivered to your home is not an option in some states.) So we have a patchwork of laws depending on whether the producers, the distributors, or the anti-alcohol people have the biggest pull with the government. But in any case, nobody must have thought back in 1933 that people would want to have a drink while they watched a movie. Home viewing wasn't a thing outside Hollywood and the rare print collector, and dinner theater always seems to mean the stage, not a movie.

But why not try to make the movie going experience a little more like watching it at home? Heck, on weekend nights when I'm watching a DVD or something off the DVR I have a drink and some ice cream or something. And what parent forced to take their kid to the latest mind-numbing animated thing wouldn't want to get buzzed to deal with the puerile nature of some children's movies?

Sure, there are potential problems: spilled alcohol is probably just as bad as spilled soda, and the possibility of somebody getting drunk is always there. People talk to each other and yell at the screen as it is when they're quite sober. And I can't imagine the chain sixtyplexes wanting to sell alcohol to patrons anyway.

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