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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

24, Lost, Prison Break, Fringe...all these series share their pedigree with the Alhambra...the Cliffhanger.

Every small town has one...the old movie theater. My Dad is 85 years old and this is the theater he went to as a kid. I use to love hearing the stories about how he would spend his whole week's allowance for the Saturday afternoon matinee...10 cents. What kept him coming back for more? The serials like Buck Rodgers. Each week the serial would end with Buck about to crash into a planet or his girl about to die at the hands of an evil alien. Dad would have to come back next week to see how Buck saved the day.

Even during the depression, the movie houses flourished. They were the only escape families like my Dad's had from the depression. At least for those two hours, they could forget about the job hunt, the bills, the drought and the War. This is where they got their news as well, aside from the radio. The newsreels would take them to far away places that they had only read about in a comic book late at night before they went to bed. The Alhambra is closed now but inside those doors still echo the sounds of rocket ships, Atlanta burning, Kansas tornadoes, Bogart, Gable, Indians on the warpath and a whispered "I love you" coming from a now empty seat in the 2nd row from the front. This is where my Dad dated my Mom.

I have often wondered if this is my release from some of those same things. My photos and narratives can take me away if only for a short time...I do so need both of them. Thanks for coming along with me.


Cynthia said...

What a perfect get-away the Alhambra must have been! It looks stately and exotic. At first glance, I thought it might be in a foreign country. Wonderful.
I can't wait to go photograph the old theatre in my downtown smalltown. ....
It's painted hot pink now. I think it's lost something in the translation.

Dan Felstead said...

I would love to see the old theater. Some of the old ones tend to be on the gaudy side but always interesting!


Bobbi said...

Unfortunately, my small hometown no longer has a movie theatre (it was on Main Street). But - the old building has been turned into a theatre of the living arts with plays, musicals and art shows.

Nice piece!

Dan Felstead said...

Thanks Bobbi,
I wish they would do that with the lest the old building would still get some use.


Heather said...

The lighting in this photo makes the Alhambra look like a truly magestic place to spend the evening. The small town I live in has the original theater on the town square. It only has three screens, but it's the only place in town to go for entertainment. Walking through the doors is like stepping back in time.

Dan Felstead said...

That's neat. It would be great to have the old theater still in use and then have a multiplex for those 5.1 Dolby surround sounds blockbusters like Star Trek!


The Muse said...

The facts are that in the worst of economic times...Hollywood reigns supreme!
So it is official, we look for escapism in some form.

Nestled here is the old theater...yes she still breathes...but no longer for film...she is a playhouse...her walls cradling young actors and actresses In Real Life.

Fantastic imagery Dan, and a lovely jaunt down memory lane once more...A path I never tire of traveling.

Dan Felstead said...

Thank you for your seems that many of the old theaters have been converted for local Actor troops. You are least they are still being used.


septembermom said...

Timeless memories must have been made at the Alhambra. Wonderful photo. My mom always talks about how all the kids loved to go to all day movies on Saturdays during the 40s. She grew up in some hard times, and I do think that they loved to live vicariously in that exciting Hollywood world. Seeing Casablanca and Gone with the Wind in one of those majestic theaters must have been amazing! Wish I could go back in time...

Dan Felstead said...

So do I do I