So long, Gus...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

So long, Gus...

...and it is with rue that this will be the first salutation I've addressed to that friendliest of men in almost 45 years that will not be answered.

When I read the obituary in this morning's Southampton Press Western Edition, it cheered me to learn far more about Gustav Albert Hindenlang III in three minutes than I thought I knew in all that time.

The memorial item by Carol Moran, "Friendly Face At Cinema Is Mourned," starts by noting that Gus was:

"...a quiet, kind man known for his generosity, who spent 40 years greeting movie-goers at the Hampton Arts Cinema in Westhampton Beach...."

Missing was what most have forgotten, that before moving up to Six Corners, Gus had worn the maroon concession­aire's jacket at the United Artists Theater, now Perform­ing Arts Center, on Main Street starting in the late '60s.

That's a lot of tickets ripped!

(It occurs to me that only "Movie Mary" Hahl may have exceeded Gus in length of service to local cineasts... she had 47 years in when the UA went dark in 1997.)

I had always thought that Gus arrived in the area via Suffolk County Air Force Base, but discovered today that it was through another part of the Government...

" a meat and poultry inspector with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (He) settled in East Moriches, which was then in the heart of the duck farming region."

For decades I amused myself with a little internal com­pe­tition with Gus, trying to get the last word! I have never succeeded until now.

Gus would take your ticket with a "Good evening. Theater to the right,"

If you said "Thank you," he's say "You're welcome... enjoy the show."

And even if you added, "I'm sure we will," Gus would effortlessly rejoin, "I hear it's a good one."

His was always the final pleasantry in any exchange.

There was never a mention of it between us 'though it would ordinarily be something I would bring up somewhere along the line.

But I didn't... whether he was conscious of it or not, I sensed that it was just Gus' way, for he was a well-bred and gentle soul of the old school.

So again I say, "So long, Gus. You made movie-going a better experience."


1. Sean said...

Nice tribute, Dean. He will be missed!

From his obit in The Press, he was a really remarkable guy, much more so than I ever imagined.

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