Sunday, August 17, 2014

Reel to reel

"The only surviving movie house in Greenville. A renovated former live theatre built in the 1920’s and owned by Tony Macci. It had converted to movies by 1941, when the seating capacity was 460. It was split into two smaller theatres, each with 120 seats, in the late-1970’s or very early-1980’s." - from Cinema Treasures

The room was dark. I sat on my mother's lap, holding tight to her. A princess danced across the screen. Vague memories from 1950 when Cinderella opened in theatres. I was three the first time I went to Wayne Cinemas. It was there that I had my first date. The movie was Gone With the Wind. News reels showed us news from around the world. Cartoons entertained us before the main movie event. Wayne Cinemas, a staple to the scene in Greenville, Ohio. A landmark that held memories for us all.

I was saddened to hear that the theatre is closed. Even if it opens again, our memories are in that old theatre where we grew up to the movies that came our way. A medium bag of popcorn was around $3.99 back then. A ticket was about $.25. We didn't have much then, so this trip into town for our family was a major event. I never knew of my parents going to another movie in Greenville. It is indeed a treasured memory.

Sammy Force worked for Ken Whited at the little grocery in Painter Creek (or Rip Town to we locals). On Saturday nights, Sammy would pick up his girlfriend then make another stop to pick up my sister June and her friend Bev Whited (his bosses daughter). Off they went to Greenville and the Wayne Cinemas. If you got to the movie house for the 10:30 PM movie, you could stay after it was over and watch the first run of the movie for the next week for free. Two movies for the price of one. A date with two tag-a-longs.

We all have sweet memories of the Wayne Cinemas. Driving into Greenville and down Broadway, we were always greeted by the marque announcing the current movies playing. It was as welcoming as the circle in the middle of town. Greenville was the hub of activity for this area full of farm kids.

Now we have all sorts of theatres. I can go to a movie and have a beer and pizza. Our newest theatre has the Living Room where you can recline and put your feet up. A waiter drops by with your dinner and a glass of wine. It's better than your own living room. But is it really?

Going to the movies as a kid was a real treat. The candy bars in the case. The smell of popcorn in the little bags. A tasty soda with cubes of ice. A new movie...and sometimes an old movie. The hand of a date on yours or sitting in the lap of a parent. We had our memories in that old movie house. Reel to reel memories.

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