Jun 10, 2024

Communism Is Just A Red Herring!

One of the funniest movies of all time was screened at the Mahoning Drive-In Theater on Sunday night - the 1985 Jonathan Lynn comedy: Clue.

Show banner designed by Andrew Kern

The second annual Retro Toy Market was held on the lot in the hours prior to showtime, with roughly 20 different vendors selling vintage toys, video games, movies, crafts, and other things.  There were also tables set up under the screen for folks to get together and play card and board games.

The Big Kid Store had the biggest presence out of all of the vendors on site, and they also handed out game cards for a fun contest that everyone was invited to participate in.  Each of the weapons from Clue were hidden somewhere on the lot.  They were fastened to a large board that included an ink stamp.  If you found each of the clues and stamped your game card with the ink stamp attached to each of them, you could turn it in at The Big Kid Store's table for a raffle ticket to win one of three prize packages that were awarded prior to the start of the movie.

I found a few things for my NES collection, including loose cartridges for Road Runner and Gauntlet, the latter of which included its instruction book, a copy of Cybernoid complete in box, and a Nintendo Power player's guide called Top Secret Passwords.  I had Road Runner and the player's guide when I was a kid, and I remember renting Gauntlet back in the day.  I hadn't played or even heard of Cybernoid before, but it looks like a fun shmup and it was less expensive than any in-box NES game that I had come across in a very long time, so I couldn't pass it by.

The last thing I found was this incredible Electronic Full-Color TV Scoreboard (model 60-3057).  It's a four player Pong clone that was sold by Radio Shack in the late 70's and early 80's.  It hooks up to CRT televisions and runs on six C-batteries.  It can play tennis, hockey, squash, and it has a ridiculously large plastic gun for skeet shooting and target practice.  All of these games are extremely basic (essentially just bars and squares on a screen), but they're a lot of fun to play.  The unit and all of its accessories are in pristine condition, and the man who sold it to me was only asking ten bucks.  This is going to have a good home in my game room!

Clue hit the screen after sundown.  I saw this for the first time when I was a teenager and haven't watched it too many times in the years that followed, so I had forgotten how hysterically funny it is.  It's a fast-paced comedy that's dripping with puns, sarcasm, and dark humor that I don't think I fully appreciated until Sunday night on the lot.

The thing that most people remember about this film today is its multiple endings.  Theaters who screened the film during its initial run in December 1985 were sent a 35mm print that featured one of three different endings that were filmed.  The side effect of this is the fact that you discussed the movie with a friend who saw it at a different theater, there's a good chance that you both would have watched different endings and thought that the other person was crazy when they told you that they remembered it ending differently than you did.  We were all pretty curious to learn which of the endings we were going to see at the Mahoning, but it turned out to be a print that included all three endings.  This is how the film was released on home video, with the first ending taking place, then a title card that read "here's how it could have happened" before the second ending, followed by another title card that read "but here's what really happened" before the final ending.

If you haven't watched Clue before, I cannot recommend it strongly enough.  You can stream it for free on Pluto TV, and if you find yourself laughing your ass off from start to finish, you are my kind of people!