Hollywood Halloween

A Cinematic Interlude

By Dean Worbois

During the glory days of Halloween seven decades ago, about the time my sisters and I were cast out to knock on doors without a parent trailing us, our home in Boise became a candy-night event for the neighborhood kids. My dad had talked himself into buying a movie camera and projector to watch 16mm films. Because he was a man, he could not get a simple home projector made for our simple, silent, and short recordings of swinging on swings and falling on skis. Instead we ended up with a commercial-grade Bell and Howell projector with a large speaker box to put under the screen. It was the same setup used by schools to show movies to assemblies during the 1950s and ’60s. 

Our place was on 29th Street, not far from downtown but south of State Street near the quarry ponds along the river. The city did not consider the neighborhood fancy enough to annex, so we kids—who were plentiful—became accustomed to dirt streets and modest housing. Being in the county rather than the city was good for my parents’ tractor and trailer rental business, and was why our home, a large cinderblock structure, was half machine shop and half house.

Our home was large enough to hold a crowd of kids and Dad had a new ability to show movies, so my folks decided to treat the 1950 tricksters to something special. I went with him to a mysterious place called the state library, where he picked up several round cans of different sizes that turned out to hold films.

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