Do not talk on the phone during the film. If you have to call the person back, do so during intermission or after the show has ended. Pay attention to announcements about theater rules that are made before many shows. you’ll be attending, as well as the location of the fire exits. These are examples of theater etiquettes. But did you know there was a place for disruptive and unruly playful kids?
In the 1940s, movie theaters offered cry rooms as an amenity. These were small areas in the back of a theater where parents with rowdy children could continue to watch the movie. Due to the rise of multiplex theaters, the presence of these rooms had significantly decreased by the 70s.
The Movie Theater’s Solution
While disruptive children are frequently portrayed as a modern annoyance to moviegoers, this problematic issue has most likely existed for as long as parents have taken their children to the movies.
Nowadays, the issue is generally taken for granted or addressed infrequently through alternative admissions programs like 21 and Over Only or Mommy Mondays. However, there was once a relatively simple solution to this problem, the creation of the cry room.
The first theater to use the concept is lost to history. Still, beginning in the 1940s, many cinemas featured a small, soundproof room or booth in the back of their auditoriums that allowed parents with noisy children to watch movies without disturbing other moviegoers.
The cry rooms, which usually sat no more than a half-dozen people, had a large viewing window and, in some cases, an independent audio source. The space was occasionally set up in a more casual living room style, but more often than not, they provided amenities that mirrored the adjacent auditorium. This seemingly ideal feature never became an industry standard, but it was a luxury amenity for many modern cinemas for several decades.
Over the years, this concept has reappeared as a novelty from time to time, and there are still chains that have revisited the idea as many operators seek ways to re-capture fickle audiences.
The only remaining example in Orange County can be found at Rancho Niguel 8, in Laguna Niguel; a late 1980s Mann builds with several novel design features, including an early attempt at stadium seating.
Given that disruptive children are still a common complaint among moviegoers. That theater operators have begun to return to their roots in showmanship, and one wonders if the cry room will make a comeback soon. (Source: Cine Log)
Does The Church Want to Adapt the Cry Room Concept?
While Jesus, according to Matthew’s Gospel, encouraged the little ones to come unto him, churchgoers in modern America do not easily tolerate children’s outbursts.
For some parents, the mere presence of a cry room is a lifeline. It enables them to go to church on Sunday with children in tow and feel at ease, regardless of how they behave.
Others see it as purgatory, a “penalty box,” where they must suffer until their children are old enough to enter the church properly.
There are still debates on whether they want to bring the Cry Room back in churches, as some people oppose this idea while some support it. (Source: North Carolina Register)