It’s impossible for me to resist the marquee of an old movie palace. They’re relics of an era when going to the cinema was a big deal, when (long before my theatre experience began) a live orchestra performed from its unseen pit in the floor, right along with the movie.
Resistance to these art deco gems is futile. And why try? The rewards of taking a look inside are beyond what photos can show. Sometimes, you’ll find former movie palaces that are repurposed, or degraded by a modernization attempt; but mostly, a visit inside is a trip back in time. Sure, the seats are hard and narrow, and the rows aren’t staggered, but the atmospheric soaking makes you quickly forget your discomfort. Especially when you look up at the ceilings—oh, the ceilings are so grandly decorative! And there are colorful carpets and entries to take in, with gloriously vivid original neon, that the deco theaters employ proudly to strut their oceanic curves and sways. They don’t have much in common with today’s modern cineplexes.
But what these old theatres have—that today’s spacious, cushy cineplexes will never have—is a history, and with a bit of exploring and imagination you can uncover something of it—like being part of a Hollywood dream sequence that takes you back to cinema’s noble beginnings. ♣
When I’m shooting, I’m frequently time traveling HERE.