Wednesday, September 07, 2005

 

The Late Great Neighborhood Movie Theater

I stumbled across a wonderful website not too long ago that got me thinking about the neighborhood movie theaters of my childhood and how so many of them are gone now. The site, Cinema Treasures, is a treasure itself as it collects moviegoers' memories from around the country (and globe) of their favorite theaters. It also has a fair collection of photos of these theaters and it got me to thinking I should take photos of the movie houses I know before all of them have died to make way for nameless multiplexs at malls. I've amassed a fair collection of photos so far, but too many of the theaters of my childhood and young adulthood are only left to memories. The Haven, The City Line Cinema, The Drake, The Elmwood, The Trylon, The Crossbay, The Arion, The Casino, The Forest Hills Theater and The Lefferts are all gone. They've been torn down or turned into churches or fleamarkets or discount stores. But I won't forget watching a double bill of The Bad News Bears and The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training at The City Line Cinema (before it turned XXX and closed). Or my first date ever, at The Elmwood, with Denise. We took the bus to catch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and my heart nearly pounded through my chest as I worked up the courage to put my arm around her shoulder (then my arm nearly fell off, from lack of blood flow, when I refused to remove it). I won't forget how my Dad (who loved movies as much as me) and I sat through The Way We Were at The Casino so we could watch Murder By Death. Or standing outside The Crossbay for two hours the day after Thanksgiving with my friends Paul, Lisa and Richie, to assure ourselves a seat at Rocky IV. The Search for Historical Jesus and Pete's Dragon at The Lefferts. Watching E.T. for the first time, six months after it opened, at The Forest Hills with my Dad and a handful of other people and still wiping our eyes when ET died. Or how a red curtain rose before every performance at The Trylon (one of the last single screen theaters in Queens, NY at the time). The theaters maybe gone. But they live on forever in my memories. All the dates I took to the movies. All the popcorn. The double features. And all the friends. I miss these theaters. But I treasure the memories they gave me.
Do you have a treasured moviegoing memory or two? Share it here.

Comments:
I remember seeing Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom twice in a row with my Dad. We had walked in 5 minutes late and asked someone who worked there if we could stay for the next show, and we did. I have a ton of moviehouse memories. I saw Platoon in 1985 when I was 8 years old, in Fairfield, with my brother and his friend Matt Angel.

I was in London this past January and saw two films there, Million Dollar Baby and Garden State. Over there, they tell you when the commercials start, and when the actual movie will start. They post these times outside the theatre. in addition, they had a curtain that opened before the show. It was cool seeing a film in England.

Good topic!
 
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