For a long time there was one movie theater in town. The building was a big, windowless square that just sort of existed, for lack of a better word, in the middle of an always empty parking lot. The entryway displayed posters of the movies that were showing on any of the six screens. Carpet was last installed during the height of 80s sci-fi film mania. It looked like a star scape, but with that special 80s flair that no one really misses.
A big circle of cash registers, pop corn machines and soda fountains staffed by a group of teenagers taking in the splendor of first jobs and required uniforms met patrons as they entered the lobby. There was a claw machine off to one side of the room where a small child would be perpetually tossing quarter after quarter in an attempt to gain some coveted stuffed toy. I think there was a pinball machine too to add to the retro flair of the space. Lights were dim and the track lighting that ran through the entire building along the baseboards guided folks to their destination.
The seats in the theater were just the worst. Curved ply wood, polished last some thirty years ago, covered in a cushion that went flat when Return of the Jedi was released made sure no one slept during a movie. The theater predates stadium seating. Which is odd, because that style was pretty much invented at the same time as stadiums. This is one place one could actually say, “down in front!” and mean it. The sound was terrible. Speakers popped from time to time and surround sound was a thing for fancy, city folk.
It was the most charming theater I have been to, and it was reduced to rubble this week. Continue reading