When I was a little boy during WWII my sister Joyce and I want to the Saturday cartoons and movies. We got a 25 cent allowance every week and we had to be creative in order to get our money’s worth. At first we used to ride the bus to the Saturday movies at three cents each way. But, they stopped the student rate on the weekends and started charging us five cents each way. It cost us ten cents to get in the movie and that only left us with five cents for one candy bar but the theater charged us ten cents for one and so we had to shift gears because we didn’t have 30 cents. So we went to the Thrifty Drug Store and got our candy for a nickel.
Later on the movie entry fee was raised to 12 cents. Now we had a problem, so we walked both ways and had an extra dime to spend. 12 cents for the movie and 13 cents for candy or sweet rolls at the Ramona Bakery. But we could only get two candy bars for a dime and the six sweet rolls cost 15 cents. So we started walking on the curbing and looking in the gutter to find pennies as we went down town. Believe it or not people didn’t pick up pennies in those days either and we always got the two cents needed for the three candy bars or the sweet rolls.
One day I went into the Thrifty Drug Store and picked up three candy bars. The lady said “That will be 16 cents”. And I said “Why?” And she told me that the government no longer charged three cents tax on the dollar and so no longer rated at 33 cents, 66 cents and a dollar. Now we had to pay a penny tax on 15 cents.
Well I wanted my three candy bars but told her that I only wanted two of them. She rang up 10 cents. Then I said. “Now I want another one and here is a nickel”. She got furious but let me get away with it and every week after that when I went in to the Thrifty Drug Store I bought one and then two or two and then one. She hated to see me come in her store!
The Warner Grand on Sixth Street? I recall going there in the fifties and sitting through "Eddie's Adver-Show" before the movies. An old vaudevillian held forth onstage, giving away dishes and other stuff from local advertisers. I just wanted him to get it over so I could see the movies. Note I said movies, plural. I still feel cheated when I go to the show and see only one movie and no cartoon.
Another good source of income was collecting empty pop bottles. I think in the early fifties we got 3¢ for them. In the late forties, after several decades of Coke costing a nickel, inflation finally raised the price to 7¢. The vending machine still took a nickel, and you were supposed to drop two pennies into a can on the front of the machine. Apparently there were too many deadbeats, and the machines were soon reset to take a dime.
We would take the pop bottles in to get our two cents each and the owner would put them back behind the store. Some boys would go and get the bottles from behind the store and get the deposit again. The store owner would kick them out of the store on the third try.
I grew up in San Jose, CA during the 1950's. I can't remember the cost of each item, but the bus ride (#7- Park Ave to Downtown) was a dime each way. A dollar was enough for the round trip bus ride, a movie and treats.
What's interesting about this memory is what a long trip it seemed to be. A recent visit to the old home ground reveals it to be just a very short bus ride, but at the time it was quite a trip.
This brought up a lot of memories.
When I was a kid, a ride on the street car in Oslo cost 10 øre, or one and a half cent by the exchange rate of 7.15/1 kroner for a dollar.
We had a movie theater across the square from the apartment building we lived in, and I could go to Sunday afternoon matine for 50 øre, or 7 cents. There were Donald Duck, Woody Woodpecker, and more, and there were Abbot and Costello as well as Laurel and Hardy. That must have been after WWII, as I doubt we were able to import any American movies during the German occupation.
Some times my dad brought home a projector and we watched silent movies, such as Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Loyd and others.
I remember well the first movie my dad took me to. It was a Norwegian made movie about a local hero, who was a really good skier, by the name of Trysil Knut. I don't remember when that was, but I looked it up, and the movie came out in 1942.
Good times long gone!
When I was about 12, I think, there was a contest for ??? where you collected bottle caps. This was winter, and I noticed that the ski bowl sold lots of soda, and I was able to collect all those bottle caps every weekend. I had bags of bottle caps, figured there was no way anyone else would have that many. However, the day we were supposed to turn them in, I was home sick! All that work for nada!
Oh, and they attracted ants!!!
Anyone remember when Granny Goose potato chips had free movie tickets on the bags? The movie was on weekend, and they gave away prizes too. My brother won the Bicycle! It was a Styre English Racer 3 speed. I still had that bicycle up until about 20 years ago, somehow someone got into my storage area at the family resort and tossed it--and the original upholstery to my Model A! No one in the family will admit to it either. . . .
I used to ride that bicycle from Dunsmuir to Mount Shasta--1,000 feet elevation in 8 miles. Coming home was easy, all downhill!
One of the first movies that my granddad took my dad and his twin sister to was interrupted by a public service announcement, warning patrons to be on the lookout for a bank robber on the loose. When they returned to their car after the film, there was the bandit hiding on the rear floor.
Growing up in the Valley, we also made two purchases to get around the penny tax on 15 cents.
Hey Randall, please tell us more about the bank robber story?
Missouri had plastic sales tax tokens ("mills," because they were 1/1000th of a dollar) when I was a kid. The red ones were one mill and the green ones were five mills. They were for paying sales tax without having to round up to the nearest cent.
Roger, I'll have to ask my uncle for more details since everyone in that little story has passed. I would never have heard it myself if not for walking with Dad one day around a bunch of big-box stores and hearing him reminisce about the lost neighborhood, including the old theater, that was destroyed to make way for them. Dad was surprised that he'd never told me about the bank robber incident; he thought I'd known all about it for years.
Washington state had Tax tokens 1/3cent in about 1948. they were aluminum with a hole in the center seems like there were plastic one before that. Dave in Bellingham, WA
When I was a kid in Petaluma,Ca. we would eat at the "greasy shack by the railroad track" and we could get 10 fries or hamburgers for a dollar. They didn't sell small, medium, or large. Fries, burgers, and drinks came in regular size only.