Back in the Dark Ages when I was a little girl there was no microwave popcorn. There weren't even microwaves (gasp)! Mom actually used to make popcorn on the stove. Here's how, courtesy of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook.
Put the oil in a 4 quart heavy pot and let it heat over medium heat for 30 seconds.
Stir in the kernels, turning with a spoon so that they are evenly covered with oil, then spread them in one layer on the bottom of the pot. (I just shake them around a bit).
Cover the pot, leaving a small space at the edge for escaping steam. As soon as the first kernel pops, move the pot gently and continuously back and forth over medium-high heat until the popping stops.
Turn into a warm bowl. Toss with melted butter, if desired, and salt to taste.