Flickering memories

Film maker BRIAN McDONALD’s short film eulogizes the now demolished 70mm theatre in Seattle where he saw the films that shaped his love of movies. It’s called FLICKERING MEMORIES, and if you miss the passing of those movie palaces, then you may relate.

Going to the movies was such a big deal for me as a kid. This of course was the pre-video, pre-internet era. In my home town There was no cable TV, we had only two channels and one didn’t start till after lunch, when you would most likely get hour upon hour of CRICKET to watch, and that would be in black and white (Australia didn’t even get colour TV till about 1976). So, understandably, going to “the pictures” in the 1970’s was perhaps a bigger deal than it is for little kids today. I am still surprised when I hear kids skeptically ask “What’s on?” when given a chance to go to the movies… or even say they’d rather not go. When I was a kid I didn’t really care what was playing, I would go no matter what. It could be the “Shaggy DA” or the “Computer wore tennis shoes” for all I cared, just the chance to go was a big deal. But I didn’t have an Xbox or 100 channels of TV, an internet connection or a library of DVDs to choose from at home…

In my home town the movie palace was the beautiful old 1920’s CAPITOL theatre. That’s where I saw a lot of great movies (and all the crappy ones too) and experienced some of my best movie memories. There were those special days when Dad would take me to see a movie, just the two of us on a lad’s night out. On one memorable occasion I saw my first James Bond film with Dad. Sean Connery was steaming about the place strangling women with their own bikini tops and tossing baddies into molten mud… all before the opening titles. Ah yes, It’s the stuff cuddly childhood memories are made of.

As I got older I had the thrill of being trusted to walk to the theatre on my own steam and hook up with my mates to see the latest movie. I am reminded of that time in 1977 when I saw the original STAR WARS. There was an interruption that night, a blackout that lasted for about 20 minutes, so perhaps it’s fitting that the film burned when I saw the final episode. The circle is now complete. Anyway, the Capitol theatre was later torn down to make a KMART.

I have seen the same thing happen in every city I have lived in long enough to watch changes happen. Over the past 10 years here in San Francisco I’ve seen the nieghbourhood theatres such as the Royal and the ALHAMBRA get iether torn down or turned into 24 hour fitness centers…the Mighty CORONET (where Star Wars debuted in 1977) is no more… they are building a retirement home there. Oakland still has a bunch of great old theatres like the Paramount… or the Grand lake, which is where I saw Star Wars 3…

2 thoughts on “Flickering memories”

  1. I don’t know the answer to your question Amelia, as I don’t work at Pixar all the time. I’m just a lowly freelancer…*SNIFF*

    I certainly have been in there when they had a motor show, but I don’t know if it is an annual event… Could be though, there sure are a lot of car-buffs in there!


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.