Eighty-three-year-old Margie Richmond is perched on her black folding chair in Village 8’s lobby. The ticket taker just grabbed me a bag of complimentary popcorn. And she’s telling stories, tales far more engaging than any of the eight movies playing behind closed doors. A wrestler once sold her a leopard cub. On first meeting, the wildcat cupped her cheeks with its paws and licked her. She named it Bruiser and potty-trained it. Then came Monique — a chimp — and her organ-grinder monkeys, one of whom once locked Richmond's daughter in a cage. She laughs remembering that. Richmond points a red polished nail to a red Chevy wagon outside. A clear plastic bag full of old theater popcorn peeks out the back window. Every day she feeds hundreds of geese and ducks in a park near the St. Matthews theater. They flock to her wagon the moment it’s parked.
While Richmond’s been in Louisville about 50 years, the Steubenville, Ohio, native resided a few blocks from the beach in Los Angeles in her 20s. She modeled fur coats in an auction house out there. Studied drama, too. After two marriages, three kids and several years spent working as an aide for disabled children, she arrived at Village 8 a dozen years ago and has ripped tickets ever since. On this day, she wears homemade Mickey and Minnie Mouse earrings, a gem-encrusted cross around her neck and a glittery silver and black bow on top of her head. She’s as sparkly as a Christmas present. Kids often hug her and call her “granny.” It’s her favorite job perk. “It makes my life worthwhile,” she says, a few tears in her ocean-blue eyes.