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Theater closings and memories

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Theater closings and memories

Old 01-31-12, 05:27 PM
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Theater closings and memories

One of my favorite theaters growing up was shut down a few years ago due to low sales and poor maintenance. Today they started bulldozing it . Lots of good memories were had there. It was my first R-Rated movie. Me, my dad, and Grandfather saw Terminator 2: Judgement Day. I was eight years old and was an amazing experience that had me fall in love with Film.

For the majority of it's run, It was a single screen theater. The screen was huge for it's time. When Star wars Episode One was coming out, the theater advertised they would run nothing but Episode One all summer long That was a huge financial mistake as they did keep their word. Soon after, they switched to a multiplex. Huge mistake. The screens were obviously smaller and shittier. The last movie i saw there was Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship of the ring.

I think if they kept it a single screen and had not run Episode One all summer it would still be around. I'm not even sure if any theater still has single screen.
Old 01-31-12, 05:43 PM
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Re: Theater closings and memories

Does suck when things like that happen.

To help you cope, check out the following websites which chronicle movie theaters past and present:

http://cinematreasures.org/ (All theaters)

http://www.drive-ins.com/ (Focus on drive-ins)

Semi-random aside - I feel like going to the movies (before I was alive) used to be a much more common experience and societal norm than it is now. If you look at BoxOfficeMojo's Inflation Adjusted all-time numbers, Gone With The Wind made more than twice what Avatar did (12 additional films lead Avatar).

Personally, as much as I love watching movies on blu ray, it doesn't come close to the experience of watching with a crowd (non-disturbing) in a large theater.
Old 01-31-12, 05:48 PM
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Re: Theater closings and memories

Originally Posted by mhg83
I think if they kept it a single screen and had not run Episode One all summer it would still be around.
Old 01-31-12, 05:50 PM
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Re: Theater closings and memories

Here's my little piece of my childhood and how it came full circle. When I was 6, my mother and now step-father were dating. One night, we sent to the Judson Drive-In on the outskirts of San Antonio. The double feature that night? The Amityville Horror - and Kramer Vs. Kramer. I shit you not. But I saw many movies there. Place closed down in the late 80's.

Flash forward to 1998. I'm now all grown and living independently in Austin and going to school at UT. I'm now working at the Dobie Theater as an assistant manager and projectionist. For those who know, the Dobie and its owner Scott Dinger, had quite the funky setup there. This is also where I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time after pestering my parents for the longest time to take me to see it. The Dobie was also the big arthouse and Scott pretty much chose every independent and foreign flick, including having the distinction of showing Richard Linklater's first film Slacker back when no one else would.

One night as we are closing, I'm talking to Scott. Turns out he and his brother had another theater in Rockport Texas. I asked him how long he and his brother have been running theaters. "Oh, since the late 70's back when we did drive-ins." I told him about the Judson and how I loved going to see movies there. "Yeah, I owned it. I bought it back in 1977 after Star Wars came out. I sold it a few years later and bought the Dobie with the money back in 1980." So Scott had been running the theaters I frequented as a kid and adult. Good times and memories at those theaters.

Scott decided to sell the Dobie to Landmark Theaters a few years ago and they promptly ran it into the ground. Of course it was high time since Tim League started the Drafthouse a few blocks away. It was time to move on. Landmark shut it down a couple of years ago.
Old 01-31-12, 08:18 PM
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Re: Theater closings and memories

Originally Posted by mhg83
One of my favorite theaters growing up was shut down a few years ago due to low sales and poor maintenance. Today they started bulldozing it . Lots of good memories were had there. It was my first R-Rated movie. Me, my dad, and Grandfather saw Terminator 2: Judgement Day. I was eight years old and was an amazing experience that had me fall in love with Film.

For the majority of it's run, It was a single screen theater. The screen was huge for it's time. When Star wars Episode One was coming out, the theater advertised they would run nothing but Episode One all summer long That was a huge financial mistake as they did keep their word. Soon after, they switched to a multiplex. Huge mistake. The screens were obviously smaller and shittier. The last movie i saw there was Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship of the ring.

I think if they kept it a single screen and had not run Episode One all summer it would still be around. I'm not even sure if any theater still has single screen.
Go get a small brick or piece of the building. You can paint it or decorate or just keep it the way it is and use it as a bookend or something and you'll always have a piece of it.

My similar memory is a place that was also a single screen, it was a 2nd run theater that would usually only get a movie for 2 weeks at most and move on to something else. A lot of my earliest movie memories are from that place, including Jurassic Park (I was about 6) and the kids pack of popcorn, dino-gummies and a soda. Eventually they expanded to 3 screens and didn't last too long after that. It was only a dollar per ticket at first and then I think went to $2.50 or $3 when they expanded. The lobby lighting from the theater has made it through every change in business over the last 15 years including a Hollywood Video and now an Asian buffet. HV never used them but they were always hanging on the ceiling, now the buffet uses them in over the food stations. It's funny because the lights are a vibrant pink and blue neon and now remind me of my favorite director Dario Argento and his movie Inferno. It's almost like that building and my love of film has come full circle.
Old 02-01-12, 07:04 AM
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Re: Theater closings and memories

First movie I went to was ET in 1982 at the Medford Twin in Medford, MA, it's not some hair salon. Every single Wednesday from 1982 until about 2003 I went to the movies. I never missed a single Wednesday, then most of the smaller theaters in the Boston area closed, and I also got really fed up with people and I've probably been to the movies about 12 times in the last 10 years.

There was a theater in the town I live now that was converted into a Supermarket in the 90s. It was always odd to be buying lunch meat in the same spot where I saw "Howard the Duck"
Old 02-02-12, 12:08 AM
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Re: Theater closings and memories

My wife and I started dating in the summer of 1987, just as the first multiplex theater opened on Staten Island. On the same site was also a bowling alley with nice lounge areas, a pizzeria, ice cream joint, arcade, a decent restaurant, and a pool hall. It was THE hangout area for years.
There was nothing like seeing a big ticket movie on opening night in a theater packed with an excited crowd.
Saw some of the greatest movies in that theater. Some of the biggest bombs too.
Unfortunately, little by little things started to close and the crowds dwindled. The theater finally shut down about 5 years ago. It's an LA Fitness now.
There are three other multiplexes here, but it's never the same as the first one.

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