Comments from MickeyZ

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MickeyZ commented about Strand Theatre on Dec 8, 2015 at 12:24 pm

I used to go the Art Cinema in the early days of the Rocky Horror midnight shows there. I’m guessing this was the summer of 1978?

I don’t remember exactly when we picked up on Rocky Horror — it was definitely before the summer — but a bunch of us used to walk across the bridge from Highland Park to go see it. My recollection is that there were very few of us in the theater at the beginning of the summer, but by the end of it, the place was always packed. The group of us pioneers had special privileges, of course, and could always able to get in. The owners were great — they’d let us smoke and drink, in the beginning at least, and even allowed people to set up their bongs in the space in front of the front row.

The Art Cinema was dark and dingy, the seats were uncomfortable, the floors always covered with litter, the sound dodgy at best — in other words, the perfect place to watch Rocky Horror.

Friday and Sundays nights the midnight movies were Eraserhead and Pink Flamingos, which I also went to see every weekend for that entire summer. I can’t recall which was which — it seems to me Eraserhead was programmed for Sunday night, but that might have been Pink Flamingos. In any event, the theater was rarely if ever full, and I remember quite often the theater would gradually empty out through the course of the movie, until there were very few of us left at the end. Needless to say, this only added to the thrill of it.

I loved going to the Art Cinema and no theater has ever been able to reproduce its magic. I also went to see Rocky Horror at the Waverly, but it wasn’t the same – it was already too institutionalized there. The showings at the Art Cinema soon became victims to the film’s success as well, and before long, when “everybody” was going to see it, it didn’t feel as magical anymore, and we stopped going.

There was a second, larger theater just down the road (toward the river) from the Art Cinema, which used to show a lot of double features. I remember walking over there to see Arthur with my brother, and seeing a Mash/Italian Job double-header with my father. I don’t remember the name of the theater however. It might only have seemed larger to me, because I was pretty young when I went there.