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Thanks for your work on this. I think that you may have the listing for Denver CO wrong. Alien opened at the Continental rather than the Cooper. I could double check it at the Library’s microfilm section if you are interested. Great memories either way. Thanks again
Thanks for adding your memories Cliff. I had another thought this morning – I almost always went to matinees to avoid the traffic that I mentioned in my first post. I’ll bet they opened the balcony for evening and night screenings. We sure are lucky to have had this theatre in out past!!
Thanks for your post and memories Monty. I definitely remember That’s Entertainment. My dad and mom were big fans of those musicals. When I think back to my age at the time that may have been one of the last times that the whole family went to a film together. You could be right about the balcony – I just always remember the seeing the “Section Closed” ropes across the stairs. Maybe they opened it whenever they sold enough tickets to need the seats. Thanks again and cheers.
My thanks to those of you who have posted here previously. Especially to those with links to other pics of this treasure
Here are several of my memories for your perusal.
Bad – other than the fact that it was torn down to make way for a B&N the main bad one is what a pain it was to get in and out of the parking lot. The parking behind the theater was adequate except for the biggest sellouts but there were only two exits both onto Colorado Blvd and if someone was insisting on turning left across the traffic you could be there a looooong time. I do remember that, by the late 90’s they had opened a few exists at the back of the lot but they rarely had sellouts by then.
Good – the viewing experience really was a marvel. All of the sci-fi films were better there than any other theater – the Continental and Century 21 were tip top but still not quite as good. For my money, while Imax is amazing, it doesn’t achieve the same things that Cinerama did. I know this is just me being an old foggie because Imax is just fine but it isn’t the same for me.
Other – if you look at the pictures of the interior of the theater you will see alcoves with benches on either side of the main seating area. When it first opened these actually had snack stands in them. I don’t think this lasted very long as I am sure that the noise was a problem for those sitting close to them but I do remember them being there. Later they were used as smoking areas until the indoor smoking bans came along. You can also see pics of the balcony and the stairs leading to it. I’m pretty sure that I only sat up there once and I remember getting a bit of a headache as the curve of the screen distorted the picture a bit from that angle. By the late 70’s I’m pretty sure that is was permanently closed.
I saw the 1st three Star Wars films there on the first showing on their opening days and I have found that peoples memories of that first day back in ‘77 has gotten a bit confused. It opened on Wed May 25th and the very 1st showing was somewhere between noon and one thirty. I drove down with a bunch of frat brothers and we walked in about fifteen minutes before the film started and got good seats quite easily. The theater was only half to two thirds full. People seem to forget that a) that was a school day and b) nobody new what Star Wars was yet. Now I am not saying that by that evening – and certainly by that weekend – that there weren’t long lines to get in and each showing was a sellout, its just that did not happen on the very first showing. On a different note I’ll wonder how many young people would be able to understand, or imagine, a blockbuster film only opening at one theater and playing for months, or years (a la The Sound of Music which played at the Aladdin for something like two and a half years) on end.
One other tidbit – most of the films that showed there in the 60’s had an overture, entre act (or intermission) and closing music (that went on beyond the end of the credits.) One of the extras on the DVD box set for How the West Was Won mentions that one of the factors that went into length of that music was how long it took the massive curtains to open and close across that immense screen.
Cheers to all
It is very sad that this theater has closed. Whenever I visited Santa Fe one of the first things I did was but a newspaper to find out what was showing at this theater. A small intimate seating area was quite comfortable. My abiding memory will always be that there was a small wood fireplace in the coffee shop area. It was a slice of heaven to see a film at this theater.