This is where I came in

Perhaps younger posters don’t know that that’s from the old days of movie theaters, when they had continuous showings. You paid one admission and go in. If you were late for the start of the movie, you saw whatever scene was playing, then watched the rest of the movie until it began again. Then when you saw the part at which you came in. Then you’d say to yourself, “This is where I came in” and leave. But you could stay and watch the whole movie again.

I had this feeling on the board a few days ago when I read the thread Half forgotten old songs - #232 by pjd.

Lots of nostalgia, of course, which isn’t that unusual.

But then I read this thread Things you think you know, but you do not

And posters refer to a couple of old urban legends like Did Baby Food Jars Horrify African Consumers? and Did the Chevrolet Nova Fail to Sell in Spanish-Speaking Countries?

That’s when I thought, “This is where I came in.”

First I went to Snopes’ classic legends.

Then I remembered Jan Harold Brunvand and his books

  • The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings
  • The Choking Doberman and Other “New” Urban Legends
  • The Mexican Pet: More “New” Urban Legends
  • Curses! Broiled Again!

It has been a long time. But I’ll just stay here because I know the movie is always changing.

You’re welcome !

It wouldn’t be just a movie. There could also be a cartoon, a news reel, the next episode of a serial, an older movie being re-run and then the feature. The whole thing would be a few hours

When I was young, there were still a couple theatres doing this, along with a beano or a ticket stub prize giveaway.

Don’t forget the double feature concept. When I was much younger, it was pretty common to go to the movies for an entire evening or much of Saturday. Besides the commercials for “go to the lobby” and buy copious quantities of popcorn and drinks, there was a black/white newsreel (with Ed Herlihy as announcer), endless previews of “coming attractions,” one or more cartoons or short subjects, a B-movie or rerun, more of the fillers, then the main feature. Then it looped to the start without intermission. It could take 4 hours until the “this is where I came in” moment.

This was the local, neighborhood theater, which played features about 6 months to a year after the first-run ones came out. The first-run theaters (downtown, typically at more ornate enclosures) played only one feature, sometimes with additional shorts and previews, then the screen went blank and everyone exited.

Younger posters (if any such exist) probably don’t know of the saying at all.

When Star Wars came out, I went to the theater the next afternoon. It had been packed the previous night, but was practically deserted in the afternoon. I sat through it twice.

One of my fond memories was seeing the movie Mary, Queen of Scots at Radio City Music Hall (back when they still showed movies regularly), with my young cousin. We came in partway through and stayed for the next show to see what we’d missed. My cousin insisted on staying unitl ambassador Rizzio was very bloodily killed, Probably his favorite part of that talky drama.

I’m gen X, so neither a younger nor an older poster, and am familiar with the concept even though I’ve never gone to a theatre with continuous showings. But I’m not familiar with the expression other than it bookending the beginning and ending of The Wall so as to form a loop. While perhaps I had heard the phrase before, up until this thread I didn’t know that is was somewhat of a stock phrase, and now the snippets from The Wall make slightly more sense.

Tom Stoppard also used it at the start of his radio play Artist Descending a Staircase, as two characters listen to a tape of a third character being bludgeoned to death:

“I think this is where I came in.”
[clunk]
“And this is where you hit him.”
“I mean it’s going round again. The tape is going round in a loop…”

This was standard practice in my family until I finally put a stop to it. The bunch of us would arrive at any random point in the movie, watch it to the end, watch the beginning, then Dad would say “Get the continuity?”, and we’d get up and leave.

Seldom did we ever see a movie from the beginning. I thought our way was normal practice, until it occurred to me that nobody else was doing this.

I recall seeing a few double features, but I don’t remember any of them being any good. :frowning:

Though to be fair, when I went to see a double feature of Species and Batman Forever at a drive in with my girlfriend (summer I graduated high school), I am not sure we paid a lot of attention to either film. :wink: