This fictional memoir, set in a blue-collar neighborhood movie theater of a Midwestern city, will remind the reader how quickly the past fades and yet how powerfully it persists unrecognized below the surface of later conscious decisions. Alternately comic, nostalgic, reflective, and even whimsical, the narrator recalls his tenure as the doorman and general flunky of the Imperial Theater threatened by the competition of television. He gradually drifts into a partnership with the long time woman manager, desperate to keep the theater going as a community institution, to restore with his free labor and her personal expense the dilapidated condition of the theater and to change the format from traditional B films to musicals of the 40's and 50's.
The memoir itself is a form of restoration, a reliving in his imagination of a long ago apprenticeship in the workplace, which stood in sharp contrast to the sheltered enclave of family and school. He encounters a rich gallery of characters, some of whom assume the role of mentor, advocating alternative values and a wider horizon of possibilities, while revealing at the same time the conflicting, ambiguous, and bittersweet consequences in their own lives that foreshadow the adult world he is about to enter.