One simple step toward happiness every day for a year. Doesn't everyone want to be happy?
Join us on Facebook (more about these "Secrets")

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Go to a Movie Palace

When I was a kid, the theaters we went to were as exciting as the movies we saw.

Back when there was no VHS or DVD or cable, and the only movies we could see at home were the handful shown on the broadcast channels (seven whole channels in the L.A. market!), "going to the movies" was a pretty darned big deal.

Some elements of the experience were the same as now. A snack bar with Milk Duds, Jujubes, and other candies we couldn't buy anywhere else (or, if we could, they were a lot cheaper outside). And popcorn.

But other things were different. Seats bigger than any we had at home. A proscenium in front of the screen. A big screen. Real curtains, that a person could walk behind. (Sometimes there was a full stage behind the screen, as the theater had been converted from a "live" show place.) A balcony.

And decorations that can only be described as "rococo."

The places were big, cathedral big.

And then something happened. "Multiplexes" started opening--four-plexes, six-plexes--"cinema in a shoebox." Suddenly, being in a theater wasn't much different from being in your living room.

And the big movie palaces couldn't compete, so some of them did a terrible thing: they stuck a "plex" inside the palace. They chopped up the cathedral into a bunch of living rooms. One old theater in Pasadena, CA, even squeezed a couple of "theaters" into the balcony.

Well, here's something the multiplex owners don't want you to know: Some of these old movie palaces are still out there.

Some, like Disney's El Capitan, have been refurbished, and even have stage shows before the film. Others, like those in L.A.'s old theater district, are only opened for special events, like the L.A. Conservancy's "Last Remaining Seats" series. (They still look great, but they don't smell so good anymore.)

So get out and find a movie palace, restored or derelict, first run or revival house. Sit up close to the big screen or up in the balcony and dive in to the wonder of a movie (and turn off your cell phone, for Pete's sake).

You'll be happier.

No comments:

Post a Comment