|Chapter 8:||The Movies|
The Rex was dark and damp. It had a stage because it had been used by Italian vaudevillian performers in the first years of the twentieth century when it had been managed by the notorious female racketeer Pasquarella Spinelli. I liked to go to the Rex on weekdays when I didn’t have school. The Rex was convenient for me since it was around the corner from my street. I would check the lobby cards to see what was playing. I would buy a ticket if low budget westerns of the early 1930’s were being shown. My generation called these movies cowboy films. They were in black and white, my favorite colors for films.
I would try to get to the theater early in the afternoon, often as soon as it opened. Few patrons came to see these films in the early afternoons and I enjoyed sitting in a nearly empty theater in the dark for ten or fifteen minutes before the film was played. This was a moment of privacy for me. East Harlem was congested and noisy. The Rex gave me a respite from these conditions.
There were many cowboy stars I liked but Tim McCoy was my favorite. He was short like me but his large white hat, not quite as large as a sombrero, made him appear taller. His shirt and pants were black. He rode a proud stallion named “Pal.” He was clean