Cinemas Ocampo – The Truth

With the waves of viewers who flocked to theaters in Mexico to see the
movie “One Direction: This is US”, it is clear to me that this industry is more
in force than ever and that such feature films are available in Alta
Definition, in cable and internet systems and in 3D for IMAX screens.

For this reason, I communicated in 2013 with my countryman Mr. Álvaro Abundis
Noriega (+), who lived in the Federal District, so that he could tell me about the
History of Cinema in “El Vergel de Tamaulipas” and reveals that in the decade of the
fifties, there were the “Ocampo” and “Reforma” cinemas.

The first was from Dr. Delfino Escobar, who was located on Calle Hidalgo in front of
the main square, in a local of the Llarena family and the other was owned by Mr.
Chón Constantino, Filmmaker by Profession, who was also located in the same
small square, but on Via Emiliano Zapata, in a compound belonging to Mr. Felipe López.

As in the best corners in the world, here there was a strong rivalry for
dominate movie listings, which at that time suffered a tremendous
momentum with the film “Allá en el rancho grande”, with Tito Guízar, Emilio “Indio”
Fernández, the actress Esther Fernández and under the direction of Fernando de Fuentes.

Álvaro Abundis, from Ocampense, says that by then they were showing movies like
“El Charro Negro” by Raúl de Anda, “Las Calaveras del Terror” and other stars
by Joaquín Pardavé, Luis Aguilar, Sara García, Dolores del Río, María Félix, Pedro
Armendáriz and the productions of the Spanish Luis Buñuel were already sounding.

The Ocampo cinemas had a capacity of 200 fans of the Seventh Art,
they had wooden seats, the projections were in black and white, there were
intermissions for people to buy soft drinks, popcorn and candy, in addition
that the functions were given on Saturdays and Sundays and even with a matinee.

They charged fifty cents a ticket or one peso, if it was a premiere, the tapes
they were obtained on the border with the United States and from there, the
Western movies of gunshots and stagecoaches with horses and subtitled in Spanish, with
“Hollywood” actors like Gene Autry, Doris Day and Jean Simmons.

“Cácaro, cácaro”, the audience shouted at the moment a failure occurred
technique in the team, they say that in those five years they arrived at Ocampo, the cinema
street vendor of the Hungarians, who were gypsies dedicated to making pots of
copper for fried foods and women divined the luck of lovers.

Each cinema with the help of a sound device, gave notices to the community,
congratulations and propaganda, while domestic and foreign films,
were a novelty and well received by moviegoers at heart, as an anecdote,
this popular diversion lasted from the forties to the sixties.

The majority of those attending the cinema were native families of the place, such as the Lords
Raúl, Jesús and Luis Meléndez, Jerónimo and Casimiro Piña, Martiniano, Catalina,
Barbarita and Socorro Alfaro, María de Jesús Guerra, “Pancha” Torres, spouse of
Tano Cedillo and Gabriela Palomares, consort of Chón Constantino.

Like Adela and Elvia Palomares, wife of “Gume” Meléndez, as well as the
Mayor of Ocampo, Alejandro Padrón, father of Mr. Hugo Padrón, there at the crossroads
de Hidalgo and Pedro J. Méndez, operated a hotel owned by Mr. Servando Cervantes in the
upper floor of a warehouse, of what is now a business owned by Doña “Mila” de León.

For years they worked some refreshments in the square, of the Lords Andrés
Meléndez and Roberto Hernández, as well as a cafeteria owned by Mr. Manuel Yee and another
of a man surnamed Yong, in the space of the current “House of Culture” and the
queen of the Carnival festivities at that time, was the beautiful Rosalinda Elías.

At that time, Ocampo enjoyed a galloping economy and on weekends
were conducive to doing business in the main square, primarily the
purchase and sale of corn, beans and sesame, which the peasants brought in sacks in
beasts and the muleteers who arrived from Tula with vegetables, garlic, onions and prickly pears.

Both in Ocampo and in Mexico City, memorable cinemas that used to
saw their period of opulence, such is the case of “Continental”, “Orfeón”, “Teresa”,
“Paris” and “Polanco”, located in the heart of Mexico City, today look empty, abandoned
and into oblivion.

Directors such as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas predict an implosion in the
gringo film industry, an increase in production costs and therefore in the
ticketing, the biggest challenges come from the increased cost of special effects
and another wakefulness is the competition from markets like “Bollywood” in India.

Facebook: olimpobaezcedillo Twitter: @guiadelbien

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