January 1, 1997

Hello Mr. Pinkwater!

– I must start off by telling you I have been deeply affected/afflicted by many of your books during my younger, more tender years. I hold you personally responsible for the way I turned out. The SnarkOut Boys and the Avocado of Death was an especially good book for me. I read it more often that I went to synagogue.

– Anyways. I just wanted to relate a short story and ask a question. I have always dreamed of discovering a theatre like the Snark…I determined if I ever found such a theatre, I would work there. When I read Fish Whistle and realized it was based on the now-deceased Clark Theatre in Chicago, I was both elated and saddened.

– Part three: Soon after my discovery, I found out that an older friend of mine actually had worked in the Clark Theatre in the late 1960’s. Furthermore, he told me of a story about a gang of interstate car thieves that were apprehended inside the Clark during a film. This solidified everything I had ever dreamed would happen in a theatre like the Snark.

– Finally, the question: Are there any 24 hour theatres like the Snark/Clark left on this earth, and if so, could you give me a tell?

Take care,

Daniel Alan Wabyick

Daniel replies:

I have seen many things in the Clark Theater myself. Not long ago someone sent me a bunch of the monthly listings they's mail out to patrons on cheapest paper. The films would have a two-line, usually rhymed synopsis. For example, "The World of Apu," might have: "An Indian kid; Find out what he did," and the like. When you filled out a slip for their mailing list, and put it in the box, if you filled in your birthday, they'd send you a free pass on the day--and you could ask for any movie, and they'd get it for you. Life was bleak in Chicago in the 50's, and the people who went to the Clark constituted a little sub- culture. You'd develop nodding acquaintances, have converstions in the lobby. Once I found a free ride to New York. People would have favorite times to attend, and you'd look for the same faces coming out as you went in. Sometimes, knowing that a friend would be exiting at the time another friend would be arriving you could send a message, useful, as Clark-types tended to be phoneless. I doubt there is any place like that today. Maybe certain web sites will evolve.