Episode #181 — Eric Lankford & Bear from K9 Cinema

Today we finally touch on a topic that doesn’t get the serious level of attention it deserves — hot tub maintenance during the winter months in cold-weather climes. To get even more specific, we’re talking about 20-seater hot tubs found on screened-in porches in the Upper Midwest and the inherent dangers of low water levels, frozen pipes, creepy basements stocked full of snacks for when the hot tub is in use, and the mice attracted to the general area to both get away from the kind of weather that leads to frozen pipes and get close to the snack supply. Or something like that.
Warren Oates may be dreaming of plump field mice stuffed so full of Gardetto’s that they become quick cat snacks, but that’s the stuff of Heidi’s nightmares. We’re pretty sure between facing a) a campground frequented by a killer in a William Shatner mask and b) a garage full of mouse traps, she’d pick option “a.” But back to the matter at hand: the giant hot tub. If we ever run out of interesting people to interview — and let’s be clear that we never will — we’ll have to do a retrospective of everything that poor, bubbling pond has witnessed through the years. It would make for a great tell-all.
Based on our preliminary discussions, you might believe we’re going to either chat with a person in charge of hot tub maintenance or someone with humane options for mouse catching. Maybe some other time, but this week we have a much more exciting guest. Step aside, Yogi, Winnie-the-Pooh, the Care Bears, and even Bear Grylls. We have a new favorite Bear in town and he’s the inspiration for K9 Cinemas, a dog-friendly, indoor movie theater. Have you ever left to go see the latest movie in the theater, only to turn around and see your dog gazing sorrowfully out the front window, watching you back out of the driveway in your car? Or maybe you’ve been terrified while watching some haunted doll movie and wished that your dog was there to comfort you. Or at least provide some fur to bury your face in so you don’t have to watch. Then K9 Cinemas is what you’re looking for.
We spoke with Eric Lankford, and his wonderful dog Bear, about what motivated him to want to open a dog-friendly movie theater. Sure, those of us with dogs might have taken them to an outdoor movie in the park at some point, but why not bring them inside? Eric shared how he wasn’t a fan of being separated from Bear, and how that led to the idea for the puppy cinema experience. And for those of you worried about how loud sounds can stress or scare dogs, Eric takes that into consideration when choosing movies and deciding the volume of them. He wants to make it a safe and comfortable experience for both humans and canines.
If you’re thinking about dogs in a movie theater and wondering how bad it smells, and what the floor is covered in, you’re not alone. But Eric has that covered, including an intermission for dog (and human) potty breaks, and bags to clean up the evidence of what occurs during that break (for the dogs, of course — there aren’t any waste bags for the human patrons because a line must be drawn somewhere).
Eric started K9 Cinemas in Texas and is now offering it in Indiana. He has expansion plans and Captain can’t wait for his own local showing of “The Journey of Natty Gann.” (He refuses to go see “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale,” though. Too much crying in the audience.) That’s not to say Eric is only focused on dog movies, though. He talked about what sorts of movies are shown, including plans for first run movies — especially now that his company is working with AMC Theatres.
Be sure to listen to this week’s episode to hear all about K9 Cinemas, how dogs get along in a movie theater setting, discussions of promotions that worked or failed, Eric’s plans for the business’s future, and why an agent from the ATF checked in with him. If you want to know more about this dog-friendly cinema experience, check out the website for K9 Cinemas or their Facebook page. Now, if you’ll excuse us, Luke is off to watch the Game Show Network in the hopes of finding an equally fantastic future guest. “Supermarket Sweep,” you’d better deliver!

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