The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Karl Terry

Going to show with friends was fun


March 25, 2018

The Ambassadors in Portales have been onto a good thing for several years now — movie nights for kids.

Not long after the audio/visual equipment was installed in the historic Yam Theatre the group put together a program to get the movie licensing paid for by a combination of sponsorship and profits from a concession stand with really generous prices.

When the free movies started in Portales youngsters had been without movies in Portales for nearly 10 years. Ambassadors figured that had been long enough. They’ve been showing movies about four times a year and they know that some of the kids that attend might not otherwise get to see a lot of movies at a theatre.

Videos and now streaming shows at home has become the norm but the youngsters miss out on getting together with friends and having a night out.

I’m not old enough to remember going to movies at the old Yam but I did grow up going to movies at the huge old Tower theatre and the Varsity Drive In.

It was a huge part of our social life and of our family life. Many a summer night my siblings and I fell asleep in the back of the family station wagon at the drive in. I met my friends on Friday and Saturday nights at the Tower and my first dates were at that theatre.

One night after I was old enough to drive I was told I had to take my little sister with me to the show. I was given enough money to get my ticket and hers and probably expected to use my own money at the concession stand. When we got to the box office and the lady behind the glass asked sis how old she was she added a year or two to her real age because she wanted to appear older. The only problem with that was it put her above the child ticket price and into the student price. I had to make up the difference out of my pocket and skip the concession stand.

The best part of going to the show growing up was that for a good bit of the time while I was growing up I never paid for a ticket. Newspaper carriers could earn a free show pass with every new subscription and that was all the incentive I needed.

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the day we lost that precious old theatre where I grew up. It came back as a twin half the size of the big theatre with the balcony and it just wasn’t as cool. It limped along for quite a few years before it succumbed to multiplex places and home theaters.

It does my heart good to stand at the back of the Yam and listen to all those noisy kids wiggling in their seats and constantly getting up to go to the lobby or the restroom just like we did growing up. A few things are different but the big screen’s not completely dead yet.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:


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