Censorship -- nothing else if you were under the age of ?. Well, there was no way I and my friends weren’t going to see any movie shown at the old club in Tia Juana. No girls included in this group.

The old club house was over by the tennis courts which contained an elevated projector shack at one end of the courts outside the fence and the screen which was at the other end of the courts. Behind the screen is where they kept the chairs (folding captain chairs) just below the projector shack inside the fence was a small area with a tin roof in the event there was rain -- it rained frequently depending upon the season.

First: The projector booth: Phillip Short’s father operated the two projectors which utilized carbon rods to generate the light. You would watch the screen for a mark in the top right hand corner which meant the next projector was coming on stream. I used to visit the booth to watch Phillip’s father run the projectors. He would change the carbon rods when they got short and I would watch him adjust them and the light they cast as the electricity arced between them. Occasionally the film would jam and you could watch it burn on the screen. We all ran to the club house for another soda or headed into the nearby shrubs to piss. Well there was only one way onto the courts and the seating area and that was through the tennis court entrance which is where the ticket seller/taker sat. When the movie was no-apta an armed Guardia National guard stood there to prevent the underage children from entering. The guard had a nice Mauser Model 98 carbine but no ammo – go figure.

The Work Around: Adjacent to the projector booth was a tall leafy tree with smooth bark which was not that difficult to climb and so after the newsreel and cartoon and the tennis court light were turned off in preparation for the movie we boys would shinny up the tree and find a spot where we could see the screen through the tree leaves. The tree resembled one with great hanging fruit with all the boys up in it. Occasionally the Guardia guard would walk around looking for children and we would hug the tree limbs like an iguana. Not a peep out of us.

There in that tree, year after year we watched No Apta movies. We left our mark in that tree because the bark was easy to carve and if you climbed that tree and looked at the limbs you would find the names of all the boys who climbed it including rudimentary carvings of naked girls, etc, etc.

At the end of the show before the tennis court lights would turn on we would shinny down the tree and scatter heading home before our parents got home or if they did not care (that's my folks) we came home and went to bed with visions of what we saw swimming in our heads and just waiting to talk about it the next day.

 

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