So, my good friend Hannah recently posted some of her favorite movie theater memories to her own blog. Since I've got nothing better to talk about, I'm just going to steal this idea.
--There was one movie theater in all of Wellington, and it had one screen, so it showed one movie per week, one showing daily (two on Saturdays). Unless the Community Theatre had something going on or there was a football game that week, it was literally the only show in town. Needless to say, if a movie was ever held over for a second week, it was phenomenally popular. (Unlike certain other entertainment establishments) Also, because it was such a small market theater (the next closest theaters were half an hour or more away), it took a LONG time to get the more popular movies. It felt like an entire year after its initial release that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made its way to our little monoplex. I remember the night we went to see it. It was the only time I remember people lined up outside the front door of the theater for tickets. All throughout the movie, hundreds of kids (it was actually a pretty big auditorium) were laughing, cheering, and quoting memorable lines from the long-since memorized trailer. It was absolutely electric.
Oh, and it was held over. Twice.
--If e'er anything couldn't be found in our local Wal-Mart, our family would take a trek (maybe monthly? I don't remember) to Wichita for shopping, lunch, and whatever other business mom or dad may have had up there. Many of these trips featured a stop at The Palace, which was a huge pink dollar theater. It had a very cool vibe--kind of this neon retro-classic movie theater atmosphere. I don't have a ton of specific memories that really stand out other than it was always a treat. Plus, it was on the outskirts of town, so spotting it was sort of like looking for the tip of the Matterhorn as you got closer to Disneyland. Not quite as exciting, but same concept.
--After the first Ninja Turtles movie, the next majorly-anticipated film release was easily Jurassic Park. I remember we were in California visiting our family the week before its release. I really loved the local morning news program on KTLA. That week, they had a Jurassic Park feature every single day. Something about one of the dinosaurs, or one of the actors, or the special effects. Something. The hype machine was going full-swing. We went home, and the Wellington theater (the Regent) actually got the movie within a few months of its release. It was a miracle! A lot of people forget what a great movie JP1 really was or how mind-blowing the dinosaurs were at that point in time, even without HD or THX or 3-D. That night at the Regent was a dream come true.
--I actually knew surprisingly little about Lord of the Rings before the movie came out. I went with my friend Holly, who was and is a LotR fanatic, and the new Wellington 6-plex. This is after the Regent was long gone and an old Wal-Mart was converted into a six-screen movie theater. You'd walk into the "lobby," and it was this huge, cavernous, empty room with a thirty-foot ceiling and absolutely nothing in an open space the size of a grocery store except for a small laser tag course tucked away in one corner and a few 1990s arcade games in the exact opposite corner. The theaters were all either too big or too small, and none of the seats were comfortable anywhere. This was the setting where I first saw Fellowship of the Ring. Despite what was nearly the worst movie theater conditions I've ever heard of, I was blown away.
--One of my roommates was an MK from Venezuela. While we were rooming together, the country underwent a major labor strike. Seemed like just about everybody stopped going in to work. My roommie told me about a phone conversation he'd had with his mom. Apparently, the movie theater was still running, but the delivery company that brought the films was not. Their theater was like the old Regent: one movie per week. His mom said her primary concern in getting the nation-wide labor crisis resolved was that she was tired of seeing the same movie every week and wanted them to show something else.
I have more. I'll finish this later.