14 April 2000 | Hup234!
You would have loved this sitcom about an art-deco movie palace and its staff.
And all we can hope for now us that someone will rediscover it for late-night cable showings, or re-issue the series on videotape. It is no epic, certainly, but was well worth seeing each week (which I made sure to do, as both a film buff and one who appreciates movie-palaces, and I suppose that covers the great majority of those who read these listings).
The art deco theatre lobby itself is the main set of "The Popcorn Kid". To our left are the front doors and the grand staircase to the balcony. Straight ahead is the concession stand and the auditorium doors, and to our right is the manager's office and staircase to the projection booth.
The lobby, though vintage, is spotless and well-maintained, and the staff (nice young folks whose daily lives and job duties provide the material around which the weekly episodes revolve) wears neat, traditional 1940s-style usher and concessionaire uniforms. (The theatre's name escapes me at the moment, but I'll list it under the "Trivia" link when it comes to me.)
Faith Ford plays the sexy new usherette, the enténdre-ly named Lynn Holly Brickhouse, but she quickly becomes a likable friend and co-worker.
The storylines don't always directly involve the theatre itself. But in one sharply-edged episode, the manager approached the staff to announce that the owners, a chain, planned to convert the ornate auditorium into several smaller screens - to multiplex the old theatre, destroying its character. The staff, reacting with dismay at the concept of this, opposes the plans at the risk of their jobs. It all works out in the end, of course ... but both the offbeat premise itself and the way it was handled, though fictional, were uplifting. These were kids that were easy to like.
That's the same premise, in fact, that Frank Capra liked to use. Think it'd go over today?
Bring back "The Popcorn Kid"!