Monday, June 08, 2009

8 JUN 09: Fight Scenes

In case you missed it: S. David Passman III is now officially President and Chief Executive of Carmike Cinemas. He's no longer "interim" Chairman. Don't you love the way the movie theater chain stretched out the drama, over a couple of board meetings?

The people who complain about Carmike being the only movie chain in Columbus can't really say that anymore. New options are developing all over the place. Callaway Gardens kicks off a new outdoor series tonight. Too bad such a lovely locale couldn't find a lovelier movie to show than "Paul Blart: Mall Cop."

Callaway Gardens is showing family movies every Monday night at Robin Beach. The staff does it by inflating a 36-foot-tall movie screen. So if enough viewers consider the film boring, they can push over the screen and go floating in the dark on the lake.

The giant inflatable screen at Callaway Gardens sounds like what the Columbus Public Library used a few years ago, to show outdoor movies on Saturday nights. For some reason, the library doesn't do that anymore. Instead, it's screening "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" inside small branches - but in Marion County, five months later is still first-run.

Then there's the other new outdoor movie theatre in this area. "Field of Screens" has been open on weekends since February in rural Salem. Trouble is, we've had a lot of bad weather on weekends since February - and it's a wonder the tornado on 28 February didn't send the movie site up to Oz.

The Field of Screens is an old-fashioned drive-in. That kind of theatre is hard to find these days - so an entire generation of teenagers may not know how to cuddle in the backseat during a love scene.

I didn't realize until I called up the Field of Screens MySpace page that admission was FREE this past Friday night. Doesn't this tell you how quaint and old-fashioned the operators of this theatre are? I mean, they still use MySpace for self-promotion....

And we shouldn't overlook the biggest threat to Carmike Cinemas's movie monopoly. That's the big screen of the IMAX Theatre at Patriot Park. It's open seven days a week -- but attendance at the National Infantry Museum reportedly has been meager. Maybe more soldiers would attend if the travelogues were about Iraq, instead of Egypt.

The IMAX Theatre has its own Monday night movie series. "Military Mondays" feature classic films with war and battle themes. So Callaway Gardens can have the families tonight - Patriot Park will take the hard-core single guys.

So how does Carmike Cinemas fight back, against all this budding competition? The new C.E.O. says one key lies in.... bathrooms. Yes, bathrooms. Hopefully pay toilets are NOT becoming a reality in Columbus....

S. Lance Passman told the Los Angeles Times he wants clean restrooms at Carmike Cinemas. It's part of a new focus on the "fundamentals" of a quality movie theatre - as if hard-core fundamentalists no longer consider it a sin to go to a movie theatre.

S. Lance Passman's interview with the Los Angeles Times indicated a major change in direction for Carmike. He doesn't seem interested in multiplexes with stadium seating, saying that was a "frenzy" years ago. So the "Hollywood Connection 15" era is being replaced by the "Heavenly Commode 6."

S. Lance Passman added he wants to emphasize the training of personnel at Carmike Cinemas. Step one: an R-rated movie really means customers younger than 17 need to be accompanied by an adult.

-> Our last Thursday night poker game turned out quite nicely -- in more ways than one. Read what we mean at "On the Flop!" <--

E-MAIL UPDATE: Last week's confession about our humble Honda turning 15 inspired someone to write us....

Hey Richard..If your car is as old as you say it is I don't guess you have to worry about being car jacked...Just a positive thought to boost your ego..I read where thugs are using jacked cars to use in armed robberies..Last year it was teens out to joy ride..Times are changing..

People might not want to steal my car, but several strangers over the years have asked if I was interested in selling it. One young mechanic did recently, as I had tire work done at a Wal-Mart - and then he proceeded to give it a fast "test-drive" around the parking lot, after the work was finished. Spilling fluid bottles in my trunk is no way to clinch a sale.

Now for some fast notes from a slow Sunday in terms of news:

+ The Ledger-Enquirer won a first-place award from the Georgia Press Association for investigative reporting. This is sure to stun some skeptics -- the ones who think the only thing the newspaper "investigates" is how to put another big picture of President Obama on page one.

(Feature writer Brad Barnes and cartoonist Don Coker also won Georgia Press Association first-place awards. But no, there was NOT an award for the thinnest Monday edition.)

+ The Atlanta newspaper revealed 1,000 tons of coal ash sludge was shipped to Taylor County from east Tennessee, after a big spill there last December. Before you complain about this, look on the bright side. If that sludge had been shipped to Columbus, it probably would have spilled into the Chattahoochee River by now.

+ The John B. Amos Cancer Center had its annual cancer survivors' luncheon at the Trade Center - one day after the Tidwell Cancer Treatment Center held one in the same place. I'm admittedly not a doctor, but I suppose dividing "cancer cell groups" like this is a more effective approach.

+ The rain-delayed Arts in the Park festival finally was held in Weracoba Park. One of these years, someone will sell colorful decorative umbrellas at this event and make a killing....

+ The Aflac car had its best finish of the NASCAR season, placing second at the Pocono 500 in Pennsylvania. Driver Carl Edwards barely made it to the finish line, by NOT making a late pit stop and risking running out of fuel. At least Edwards didn't have to run to the line, like he did at Talladega.

+ Instant Message to the Orlando and Los Angeles Lakers basketball teams: Ugh - 15-15 at the end of the first quarter?! Was that some kind of strange tribute to Roger Federer winning the French Open?

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 12.5 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 539 (- 24, 4.3%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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