October 1947: Firefighter Sits Through Movie With Dead Friend to Avoid Audience Panic

Oct. 21, 1947, L.A. Times

L.A. Times, 1947

Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.

Moviegoers Walter Saul of Cincinnati and his wife had just settled into their seats for a double feature with his friend Aloysius Bollin and son Joseph when he felt Bollin’s head on his shoulder.

Saul, a firefighter, thought Bollin had fallen asleep but after checking his pulse a few minutes later, realized that his friend was dead—and already getting cold.
But rather than disturb the audience, Saul sat with Bollin’s head on his shoulder through both features, later explaining he “didn’t want to cause a disturbance that might have led to a panic.”

After finally calling an ambulance once the movies were over, Saul told 6-year-old Joseph Bollin to go get his mother because “your father is sick.”

The Times didn’t run any follow-ups to this AP story, so there’s no telling what happened next. It would be interesting, for example, to know what double feature was so engrossing.

Update 2018: A United Press story identifies the theater as the Glenway and says Aloysius Bollin died during a Dorothy Lamour movie.


Quote of the day: “If you drop their rompers, you’ll find the hammer and sickle on their rear end.”
Director Sam Wood, testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee on Communists in Hollywood

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Film, Hollywood, Obituaries, Theaters and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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