The photograph of "The Graduate" White City Movie Marquee
The year was 1968 and a weekend trip to the movie theater in Worcester would take on a surprise twist. My parents and I did not realize it at the time these two photographs were taken, but the photos were soon to cause quite a commotion! The first photo above, was taken by Dad after we exited the movie theater at the White City Plaza. I had gone with my parents, which for me was common even though most my age (17) would never have done so. I was not your typical teenager! In any case, we all enjoyed this movie which was The Graduate, which by today's standards would seem quite tame. Back then, it was somewhat controversial because of the subject matter - a young Graduate sleeping with his girlfriends mother! After Dad clicked the photo above, he said to me "Would you like to take a photo with my new camera?" It was a Minolta SRT-101 and I had never tried it before. Dad taught me much about photography, but this would be my first experience with a Single Lens Reflex camera. Of course I said yes, and suggested to them that they walk over to the marquee where I could take a photo of the two of them. We strolled over to the street side billing beneath the sign you see above. I focused and clicked the next photo below. None of us could have anticipated what happened next...
After I snapped this photo of Mom and Dad, we all headed back toward the car. Suddenly, a man came running from the theater and asked if we had just taken photos, to which my father said yes. The man asked that we return to the movie theater, where people were gathering for the next showing of the Graduate. Once in the lobby, we were told that we should not have taken those photos and this person asked for the film to be given to him. At that point, my father got upset and asked to speak to the manager. I recall another man who was in line came over, and he was upset as well for he had been listening and thought it was absurd as did we. Soon a crowd had gathered to wait and see what would happen. I remember it taking at least 15 minutes for the manager to come out of his office, at which time my father told him under no circumstances would he return the film. After a brief standoff, we were allowed to leave with film and all. To this day, I can only assume that the management was worried that we were going to "report" them for showing this film. How times have changed!
Fevb 1968 complaint letter to the White City cinema - pdf
Check out another "Worcester" recollection below. A 1965 walk in
Worcester Ma during one of my many Saturday afteroon trips. See
Ephrams bookstore, the town common and inside Denholms as it was
before Malls took over:
recollection of a picture we bought at Denholms
Camera incident at the Melody Burlesque in NYC in 1978
Return to Index of
Dick Whitney Autobiography
Updated on Jan 30, 2013