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…Also, does anyone remember the wax museum during the first year Olde Towne opened? It was pretty lame, too.
Remember the Midnight Movies? Song Remains The Same, Dawn Of The Dead, Heavy Metal, Monty Python & The Holy Grail, WoodStock and a sixth film I don’t remember right now. We preferred the Del Amo midnight movies over Olde Towne or the South Bay 4’s down Hawthorne because Del Amo had a better selection/prints and we could sneak in burritos, fried chicken and beer. During Song Remains The Same and WoodStock someone near the back row would almost always spark one up after the opening credits.
The U.A. (closed and gone) on the corner of Crenshaw and PCH had the best RHPS print in the South Bay.
I worked at Bally’s Aladdin’s Castle downstairs next to McD’s (also now closed and gone). We traded arcade tokens for movie tickets.
I was in the ‘Rocket’ once. It held 10-12 kids and featured a 10 minute +/– instructional short about our solar system. As we exited we recieved round stickers that said something about Solar Pioneer or something like that. You missed nothing. I remember it was broken into and ransacked just before it was demolished.
The last I saw of the theatres was when Tarantino shot Robert Forster exiting theatre 2 for Jackie Brown in ‘96.
Anyone remember any films featuring the Cinerama Dome? The sequel to the first (and best) ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ shot the climax on the roof. The film ‘The Junk Man’ was one of writer/director/star H.B. Halicki’s last films.
‘The Big Picture’ starring Kevin Bacon had him filming a very cheesy music video featuring life-size PEZ dispensers. This segment was filmed directly across Sunset with just the top 10 feet or so of the Dome showing in the background.
Olde Towne Mall opened with 10 indoor rides. ‘Fantasia’ was a 2-story, overhead ski-lift conveyance funhouse ride located 1/3 of the mall from the North end with a rotating barrel gag (that always had pennies rolling and dropping on unsuspecting riders) and little scummy river bisecting the upper level and waterfall beneath the lower level car storage area. Most of the effects were large, plush animals nailed to the floor/walls. It sucked as much as you think it might. Maybe more because I think one 2-minute ride was $2.50. It opened when the Mall debuted and closed in ‘84. Security would throw our punk asses out when we spit on the dolls and punched holes in the barrel. We were very immature and stupid… but we had a lot of fun.
The 'Double-Decker Denzel Carousel’ was located mid-mall and featured the typical assortment of actual and mythical animals. It lasted the entire life of the mall until it was sold to a small theme park back east in ‘91. It had small swings on the upper level where you could catch a little air and screw up your balance. For a 10 year-old this was like a Zanax rush.
'The Haunted House’ Pretzel dark ride lasted from ‘80 to '82. It was directly across from the Shooting Gallery and had only a handful of run-of-the-mill gags including the big black bat on a garage door opener. It was closed during the week because no one rode it except naive tourists on the weekends. It also sported several lame pop-up box monsters that were constantly vandalized to the point people stole the chicken wire protecting the $5 gags until only the supporting stick would pop up, the crappy monster either stolen or face down and flooding the little, Haz-Mat creek that ran from the end of the ride to the car storage area. I remember one flooding took out the dress shop to the left of it and swamped out the security device store on the right that moved to the South end after the flood.
Going waaaay back to the first 6 months the mall was open and before The Mann Theatres debuted they had a small but impressive carnival in the huge 3 story area at the entire South end of the mall. I believe it was Pay-One-Price but you could also buy individual tickets because admission was free. There was a 'Parachute’ centrifugal wheel, a pair of ‘Hammer Heads’, the ‘Kiddy Kar Thrill Track’, a half scale ‘Ferris Wheel’ and a few, standard, small, circular kiddie rides. They filmed ‘The Fury’ at the carnival area (trashing the ‘Parachute’ ‘ride in '78). Plot Outline: A government agent is determined to come to his son’s rescue, when a sinister official kidnaps him to harbor his extremely powerful psychic abilities.The credits mistakenly credited 'Old Chicago Amusement Park, Bolingbrook, Illinois, USA ’ as the park but it was actually filmed the last few months before the Carnival closed and the remodeling for the theatres began. Of course there was the midway where, if you were real lucky, you could win a $2.00 Mr. Bill doll for $20.00 worth of darts. This area also blew goats.
Does any one else remember the indoor ‘Miniature Golf Course’ near mid mall and the ‘Sega Center Arcade’ at the North end near the Food Court? How about the glass-enclosed train tracks outside of the ‘Fantasia’ ride and ‘The Belgian Waffle House’ restaurant where you could run one of 4 trains on different tracks for .50?
The theatres completely fell into disrepair when they went to a $3 discount house. The floors felt like you were stuck in the La Brea Tar pits and it was obvious to anyone with a nose that several patrons decided the restrooms were just too far away and offloaded up in the back floor of the theatres. I remember the theatres would build a large model of a scene from one of their current movies right out front of the ticket line. “Caddy Shack' was the best followed by ‘Friday the 13th’. Somehow they talked the manager to display severed body parts and a huge amount of stage blood. These cool displays were also completely trashed within days.
The best time I remember at those theatres is when someone released a jar of moths during ‘Strange Brew’. Just like in the movie, the moths clustered around the only source of light in the room (the projection Room Window) completely ruining the next few showings and forcing the extremely, morbidly obese ‘Jewel’ to roll off her re-enforced bench to give out free passes. Also, their was a pretty impressive fight just outside the Box Office when a large crowd of rednecks started hazing anybody that was buying a ‘Purple Rain’ ticket.
Immature? Disrespectful? Complete lack of respect for others property through random acts of malicious vandalism? You betcha. Good Times, indeed. VIVA LA OLDE TOWNE!