Movies before the Multi-Plex

I’m old enough to remember what it was like to go to a movie theater that had a REALLY big screen, big enough to immerse you totally in the experience of watching. That was before they started divvying up the big theaters into much smaller venues so they could show multiple choices at the same time. I can even remember seeing the first Star Wars movie on such a screen, and really miss the thrill.

But I didn’t ever live in a big enough city Back in the Day to have experienced the ultimate in movie-going… the old Movie Palaces that were built in the 1920s and 1930s. I love seeing pictures of these, and can imagine how special it felt to get SO out of your ordinary environment, if only for a couple of hours, just for the price of a movie ticket. I’m sure the photos of these lobbies and seating areas below don’t do justice to the spendiferousness that you would have been awed by.

As you can tell from the wording on some of the marquees below, few theaters like these still function as motion picture palaces. They started dying out by the mid-1950s. And by now they have either deteriorated from lack of upkeep and been leveled, or have been renovated to be “repurposed,” perhaps as convention venues. The maintenance would be too expensive these days to be able to function just as a regular theater on ticket and popcorn prices low enough to attract big enough audiences to make a profit.

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