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The Mexican place was “Don Ricardo’s.” Nice frozen margaritas and good food at most times, but I went there once for breakfast (I worked at the American Handicrafts store next door while going to grad school), and was served a cup of coffee with a dead “cucaracha” floating on top. I don’t think I went back after that.
The theatres…I saw a number of films there, but have virtually no memory of the place rather than it being a standard small mall multiplex. The one thing I do remember was that the marquee was located on the front of the parking garage at the opposite end of the mall, which probably confused a lot of moviegoers.
The Peppertree was a nice, small triple-plex. No great shakes, but not a bad place to watch a film. When I lived in the area (‘79-'82), the site was anchored by a Ralph’s (not Pretty Good) Grocery, and the Peppertree was flanked, if I recall correctly, by a tiny disco and a health-food store and restaurant that served lots of sandwiches with avocado and alfalfa sprouts on thick, whole-grain bread. The Farrell’s was at the south end of the parking lot.
A follow-up: that last time I went there was December 14, 1963, because it was the day of the Baldwin Hills Dam collapse and flood just a few miles away. The incident took place while I was at the Palms with my aunt, and we didn’t find out about the disaster until we got out of the theatre. It was quite a time — three weeks earlier, JFK had been murdered, and, three weeks thereafter, we left L.A., where I had lived all my young life, and moved to Europe, where my father had been transferred. Tumultuous times, indeed.
This was where I went to see movies as a young child — everything from “The Music Man” to Disney flicks. By those days, it had been “modernized” by draping curtains all over the interior. What I mainly remember was the screen curtain in broad vertical stripes of primary colors. There was a big fire at the theatre in ‘62-'63, and it was closed for awhile. When it reopened, it had a new, solid-gold curtain. The last film I saw here was “Lilies of the Field” in late '63, just before our family left L.A.
Images is the sort of place that could never survive if not for a prestigious and “intellectual” college a block away, where students will want to see films that won’t show up at the local multiplex.
I lived nearby in ‘78-'79. In those days, there were no other theatres around, unless you wanted to drive to North Adams or Bennington, Vermont. Images was always on a semi-weekly schedule then, alternating foreign films with high-quality Hollywood releases, each running three or four days (sometimes on double- or even triple-bills). The biggest draws would last an entire week. It was a matter of “if you don’t like what they’re showing, wait a few days.”
I went there a number of times in the early ‘70s. At the time, they had “redecorated” it in a modern motif, with lots of mirrors, dark fabric, and track lighting. It didn’t seem a bad place to catch a good film.
I went there once, during a college vacation, to see “Rocky” in the spring of 1977. Tiny, nondescript theatre. What I remember most about it was that, when my fiancÃ©e and I paid our admissions, they only printed out one ticket, tore it in half, and gave us each one of the stubs. Knowing something about the “movie biz,” I recognized that as a common way of scamming the distributor — since it would only record as one ticket sold, they would only have to pay the percentage of the take for that one admission, and pocket it for the second. Don’t know if that was a common practice at the Flick, but it was the first time it ever happened to me.
I remember the excitement when this was first constructed. It was promised to be a genuine “movie palace” where first-run films would be shown (as opposed to the second-run Cinema I and II across the street at Shopper’s World). Unfortunately, it turned out to be a concrete box with all the charm of a warehouse — it definitely looked like it had been designed and built by the lowest bidder. Saw “2001” (which, incidentally, was NOT first-run) there a few months after it opened. While I must have gone back at other times, I don’t have a single other memory of the place.
Growing up, I probably saw more films here than everywhere else combined. As someone noted earlier, it was around the plainest theatre I’ve ever attended — very much like an old-fashioned school auditorium with a projector installed. You went here for the great movies, not the small-town atmosphere. I also recall that the screen could be rolled up and the proscenium used — never saw a play there, but the M.I.T./Wellesley College Symphony gave a concert once where I sat in the balcony.
I remember the strict hierarchy of theatres in that part of the greater Boston area in the ‘60s and '70s. First-run would always be at a single downtown theatre (generally, the most prestigious pictures opened at one of the Cheris, even though those theatres were pretty small and unimpressive). Second-run would be here at Shopper’s World, along with other mall theatres north and south. Third-run would go to the Wellesley Community Theatre and lots of other, similar small movie houses in suburban towns. I always knew a film was “big” in my parents’ minds when we took it in at the Cinemas, rather than waiting until it got to Wellesley.