Mike Jones

April 9, 2003

Post #1623 – 20030409

Was the Snark Theater named after the Snark in Lewis Carroll, or after Jack London’s yacht (which was named after the Snark in Lewis Carroll)?

Daniel replies:

No, nor after the Snark Theater in San Francisco, which was, (I dimly recall), a nickelodeon or early movie house, (owned by Jack London's brother?), nor after the slang expression, ""snarky,"" meaning feisty or pugnacious, (or, having a sharp beak or nose, pointed like a pencil), anyway, not directly. It was an adaptation of ""Clark Theater,"" the real-life entity after which it was modeled. Some kind contemporary sent me a few of the little mimeographed monthly schedules for the Clark, which were set up like calendars, and had a one or two line synopsis, sometimes a rhyming couplet, for each day's show. The very first essay I ever did on NPR was about the Clark, so it's bound to be in Hoboken Fish and Chicago Whistle. Because of the limitations of the form, it doesn't cover everything. I keep waiting for someone to do a long article about the Clark, telling about the seething, yeasty microcosm the main part of the house was. (What the Little Gal-ery, the women-only balcony was like, I can only surmise from the noises we heard below. At times, it sounded even more seething and yeasty). I want the writer of the article to deal with the many bizarre and distinctive regulars one would see there, most having a regular hour out of the 23.5 it was open during which they would attend. For several summers, I Clarked out nightly--and during high school, I Clarked at least once every week or two during the school term--and so I saw some hundreds of double-bills representing so many of the good, or cultishly bad, movies from four continents. The Clark had a suggestion box into which you could put the name of any movie ever made, and they would usually find it, and schedule it, mailing you a free ticket for the day of performance--also a free ticket on your birthday. If I had to choose one experience--The Clark Theater, or Bard College--to be expunged from my memory, I'd have to admit I could have gotten along better without Bard.