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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinema Yak   » Favorite movie theatre experience?

   
Author Topic: Favorite movie theatre experience?
Steven Rood
New Member

Posts: 25
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Dec 2004


 - posted September 22, 2005 08:33 AM      Profile for Steven Rood   Email Steven Rood         Edit/Delete Post 
Curious what everyone's Favorite movie experience or memory is.

Besides seeing Star Wars in the theatre as a kid or seeing a reshowing of Casablanca at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, one memory that i still think about was seeing the movie Midway in a theatre that had "sensurround". I have always been sort of an audio nut, (more than a movie theatre nut) and even as a kid i was blown away by the feeling in your chest.

Many years later when THX came out, i also took it upon myself to be a self proclaimed (loser, really) watchdog for THX and contacted them whenever i could hear the sound from another movie through a wall, the Air Conditioning Noise level was too high, etc. They even sent me a THX t-shirt which did get a lot of inquiries.

stevo

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Jim Rankin
(Jim passed away in December 2006)
Posts: 123
From: Milwaukee, WI
Registered: Oct 2003


 - posted September 23, 2005 07:43 AM      Profile for Jim Rankin   Email Jim Rankin         Edit/Delete Post 
Evidently, I'm a lot older than you are Steve, so my memories go back to the early 1950s, and I am sad to say that there have been nothing to equal them in the ensuing years, and I have pity for the fellows born too late to enjoy some of the experiences I had. Today's multiplexes are just too small and sterile to engender the emotions and memories that the early movie palaces and the drive-ins did.

I recall in 1956 being at the recently demolished 41-Twin outdoor south of Milwaukee to see "Forbidden Planet" (the birth place of "Robbie the Robot") and thrilled to the huge image of the "Id Monster" on the giant 75-foot-high screen. This now classic inspiration for both Star Trek and Star Wars was no creature feature, but a surprisingly wonderful 'Shakesperean' sci-fi of the first water! With the smells of the surrounding farmers' fields, the crunch of the gravel underfoot, and the massive screen against the night sky, it was an experience seldom duplicated these days. You had to see that image in that vast size to make it the spellbinding sensation (even through tiny post speakers) that it will never be on the home screen! If you can get to see Forbidden Planet on a theatre screen, jump at it!

I was also priviledged to be at Milwaukee's former WARNER theatre of 1931 when it showed "Airport" in 1970. The movie seems dated today, but it was a block buster back then (the first of the so-called 'disaster films') and the only time that I ever was in a packed-out theatre with all 2700 seats filled and FEELING the audience laugh and scream as one when something happened on the screen. It was a special occasion recognized by the theatre as well since they did the unusual gesture of turning on ALL the 3000 3-color light bulbs hidden in the ceiling domes behind the gilded grilles along with the chandeliers and such. Little did I know at the time that the place would be divided into two cinemas in '73 and never again would there be such a large full house at any theatre here. Hearing the audience react as one with you, is a feeling that makes a mere movie take on a whole new perspective.

The WARNER is now called the GRAND and has been closed since '95, but has been returned to 'single screen' status, provided a new owner/operator can be found for this downtown theatre/office bldg. with no parking of its own, so that the younger genreations can experience what is unknown to them today: a good movie on a LARGE screen and a full house to feel it with!

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Amanda Jones
New Member

Posts: 14
From: Indianapolis, IN
Registered: Aug 2005


 - posted September 23, 2005 12:21 PM      Profile for Amanda Jones   Email Amanda Jones         Edit/Delete Post 
Let's see I have a few.

There was one I vaguely remember. It was when Goonies came out. I was 5 at the time and I remember being so amazed by the bathrooms because each bathroom stall had its own sink and mirror and vanity lights. It was awesome in my mind.

A few years ago, before GCC became AMC one of the GCC's in town always showed midnight horror movies in October. One night they showed the Shining which is my absolute favorite scary/horror movie. It was also a sell out crowd and the first time this theater ever had a sell out for a midnight showing besides Star Wars Episode I. I think the reason I enjoyed it so much was because of the atmosphere. Everyone was so into the movie and just having a good time and it is something I don't see anymore. Today people come to the movie, get their snacks, sit down and just watch. You never see emotion play out on their face or see them get involved.

The last was opening day of South Park movie. It opened on a Wednesday and a bunch of us were lucky enough not to have to work. Well I don't think lucky is the word because we were all stuck working Summer Movie Camp that morning. Any way there was 10 of us going and we ended up being the only 10 in the theater and we of course were being total dorks and being real loud and rowdy and just having a great ol' time. Again this is something I don't see anymore. The theater I currently work at I don't see the chuminess and commradery that my old theater had. Sure there are staff members friends with each other but they were friends prior to working there. I hear my staff talk and they don't do the things me and my coworkers did when I worked for GCC. At GCC we became friends because we worked together. We always had parties on the weekends and especially in the summer. In the summer every Tuesday sometimes Thursday nights we all got together at this one guys house to watch movies. We would get together from like 10 at night till 5 or 6 in the morning and then have to be at work at 8 for Summer Movie Camp. It was always so fun.

I guess the overall subject is that I miss GCC. [Frown]

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Richard A Stegman Jr
Member

Posts: 267
From: Calimesa,CA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 23, 2005 09:30 PM      Profile for Richard A Stegman Jr   Email Richard A Stegman Jr         Edit/Delete Post 
Some of my favorite memories occured at GCC theatres in Southern California between 1981-99.

Seeing "E.T." for the first time on my 12th birthday on the Black Box screen at the original Montclair Plaza triplex.

Seeing "Rocky Horror" for the first time in that same triplex,then joining a Rocky cast at the Inland Twin(RIP)before returning to Montclair and the triplex before moving to the theatres behind it housing screens 4-8.

Those are just two of my favorites.

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Steven Rood
New Member

Posts: 25
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Dec 2004


 - posted September 23, 2005 10:38 PM      Profile for Steven Rood   Email Steven Rood         Edit/Delete Post 
Jim,
I flew to Milwaukee for a friend's wedding a number of years ago and got to check out the town during the day with the Groom before the wedding that night. We went to see Once Were Warriors at the Oriental. Neat theatre. That movie left such an impression on me that it is still my favorite foreign film. (I also went back and saw Secret of Roan Innish the next day). Oh, and Bob introduced me to Kopps Creme. The best! I really had a good time in that city.

stevo

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Mark Campbell
Member

Posts: 437
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted September 24, 2005 11:55 PM      Profile for Mark Campbell   Email Mark Campbell         Edit/Delete Post 
For my 12th birthday, my dad took my friends and I to the the Rialto in Tacoma, WA, to see a double feature of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Airplane!" for $1 a ticket. A few of my friends and I went the next few weekends to see it again and again. This was one of the experiences tha made me get into the film biz. An odd double feature, I know, but they complimented each other. The Rialto added to the magic, with its grand, yet musty old atmophere. Perfect for those jungle and desert scenes! Luckily it had a good Dolby Stereo system. The sound of the the gun cocking in the opening credit sequence of "Raiders" would silence the whole audience. If only to go again! If anyone has pics of the Rialto they should post them. The theatre has been restored and is now a live venue, but not much exists on the web in the way of photos. Have not seen it since the '80s though...

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Jim Rankin
(Jim passed away in December 2006)
Posts: 123
From: Milwaukee, WI
Registered: Oct 2003


 - posted September 25, 2005 06:22 AM      Profile for Jim Rankin   Email Jim Rankin         Edit/Delete Post 
Steve Rood: I'm glad that you liked your day here in Milwaukee; the city is becoming known as a 'party town' what with all the trendy bars and clubs opening along Water St. near city hall. What you remember as "Kopps Creme" was Kopps Custard, a richer form of ice cream that I was amazed to find is little known outside of Wisconsin. Yes, their custard comes in some 50 flavors, so it takes a month of sundays to enjoy them all. Kopps is only one chain of Custard Stands; there are about 20 of them of various flavors and qualities.

With bratwursts, custard, brandy, German chocolates and kringles, and of course, beer, this is a good place to eat --and put on weight! But with seven months of winter (the time that the leaves are gone from the trees), I guess our ancestors found movies, food and bowling some of the few things they could enjoy while the snow flew outside. These days there are snowmobiles and winter sports for some, but I still miss the grand old palaces where you knew you sure weren't in your living room any more! And yes, the ornate ORIENTAL is still going strong as a triplex tastefully done, and the graceful French Empire style RIVERSIDE has just been given a new lease on life! The Spanish atmospheric (stars 'n' clouds) AVALON is being slowly restored, and these three, together with the opulent German Baroque road house of 1895, the PABST, we still have some of the glamour of the past, but only the ORIENTAL, a Landmark chain art house, is showing films at the moment. Please come again, and if it is during our hot and humid summer, you can relish the cream puffs during State Fair in August. Yum!

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Steven Rood
New Member

Posts: 25
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Dec 2004


 - posted September 25, 2005 06:34 PM      Profile for Steven Rood   Email Steven Rood         Edit/Delete Post 
Without hijacking my own thread, is state fair = Summerfest? Bob was going to try and take me but again, his darn wedding just got in the way. [Frown]

Thanks for the update.

s

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Jim Rankin
(Jim passed away in December 2006)
Posts: 123
From: Milwaukee, WI
Registered: Oct 2003


 - posted September 26, 2005 05:36 AM      Profile for Jim Rankin   Email Jim Rankin         Edit/Delete Post 
No, Steve, SUMMERFEST is a city event on the Festival Grounds (some 16 acres on the lakefront), whereas State Fair is on some 150 acres, 15 miles westward on the city limits and is the State enclave within Milw. county. The Festival Grounds host eight ethnic festivals (one each summer weekend) in addition to SummerFest and the Marcus Amphitheatre there seats 15,000 for lots of road show events. The State Fair grounds has a similar sized grandstand around the race track which also hosts touring artists during the Fair week in August. You would not recognize the site anymore, since there is a new six acre, three story exposition hall there, and the 1921 limestone grandstand is now a new, larger stainless steel and granite structure with the Milw. Mile now a banked high performnce track (it started as a much quieter horse and sulky track back in 1865). There had been a theatre there many years ago, but long ago demolished with no known photos of it. The Festival grounds, in contrast, had been first a shipyard, then a small airport, then a Nike missle base (complete with underground silos, machine gun pillboxes, and chainlink fences with barbed wire surrounded by a moat; how gald I am that that is gone!). How things change!

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Mark Lensenmayer
New Member

Posts: 27
From: Columbus, OH
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted September 26, 2005 06:46 PM      Profile for Mark Lensenmayer   Email Mark Lensenmayer         Edit/Delete Post 
Great movie experiences? Yes, I've had a few:

They include:

First Cinerama -- Early '60's Grand Cinerama BEST OF CINERAMA

First IMAX -- Cedar Point OH -- 1975? Saw MAN BELONGS TO THE EARTH 5 times! Still one of my favorite IMAX films
NAPOLEON -- Ohio Theatre early '80's -- the final reel with 3 projectors was amazing!

Best regular theatre engagements:

SUPERMAN -- 70mm -- Woodfield I in Chicago
MATRIX -- 35mm -- Marcus Crosswoods
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR -- 35mm mag -- York Plaza Cinema in Columbus
OKLAHOMA -- 70mm 30fps -- Cinema East in Columbus (OK, Whitehall)
SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND -- 70mm Oakbrook Theatre in Chicago -- My first experience with my favorite band, EARTH WIND AND FIRE
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK --- Continent Cinema -- Sneak Preview The most exciting audience reaction I've ever experienced. The place just went WILD when he shot the ninja. Remember, no one had seen the film at this point. Great even though there was no left channel sound!
BUGSY -- Continent Cinema Columbus -- First date with my wonderful wife. She learned that day that I am VERY picky about where I sit in a theatre!

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