Friday, November 04, 2005

Movie Going Memories

Hidden behind the monstrous Super Wal-Mart, here in my hometown, is the remnants of the former mall that sat on this spot since the mid 1960's. The only structure left is an annex building that houses some small businesses, a bank and the shell of the closed Cinema theater. I pass it every day as I drive my son to work. Every time I pass it I remember so many of the movies I saw there as a kid. The most memorable, of course, was Star Wars in 1977. I can still remember the thrill of those opening credits, John Williams' overture and a film the likes of which no one had ever seen before.

I remember my Mom and Dad were house sitting for my Aunt that week. I would have been 16 years old. I also remember being exhilarated coming out of the theater, walking to the car and for the ride back to my Aunt's house. Only those of us who experienced Star Wars fresh on its initial release can understand the feeling I describe. Does anyone remember that it was the radio advertising for the film that peaked the most interest? It was because of the heighted use of the unique sound effects created by Ben Burtt. I couldn't get enough of Star Wars that year. Darth Vader was THE most awesome villain ever! I had a copy of the People magazine with C3PO on the cover. I can still recall the text on the cover being about everyone who had made the movie was under 40. I guess this was unheard of then.

I became an avid monthly reader of Starlog magazine. I was always big into horror movies and always tried to get my monthly fix of Famous Monsters Of Filmland.

I also saw Jaws in this theater, I think. That was another experience. 1975, I saw the movie a couple of times, read the book, bought the making of books and also the John Williams soundtrack. I still have all of that stuff.

I left my mark on the paneling by the exit door once when I was a kid. I was waiting for my Mom to come out of the restroom and I was leaning against the wall. I had metal buttons on my jeans pockets and I made a long scratch in the paneling when I moved. Over the next twenty years, I would look at that scratch and recall those youthful days.

Old Cinema Doors. (note the huge Wal-Mart reflected in the glass)

I don't know of anything sadder for movie fans than an abandoned cinema. I wonder what were the last one-sheet film posters filling these frames?

Back then (up until the late 1980's) there was an indoor cinema at the other mall across town and a stand alone cinema at the strip mall below that. They were all OK in their own way. I saw many movies on those screens as well. Superman, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers were movies I saw. I think the last film I went to in the strip mall cinema was U2's Rattle And Hum.

The old Cinema is gutted now. Not even carpet remains. I expect to see it renovated into something soon. It has been empty for a lot of years. I always wished I had the money to buy something like this and turn it into the kind that show rare and independent films. Unfortunately, I think that would be an unwise investment in this age of the DVD.

1 comment:

Rita J. King said...

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