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I go to this theatre mainly for the IMAX experience. Breaking every rule of proper seating, I usually go in the daytime in the second week of the film after opening, and sit in the first row of the platform directly behind the wheelchair ramp and seats. I am usually one of maybe a dozen people in the theatre, and weekday audiences are much better than the raucous circus freaks that come in at night and spend 2 hours texting at a film that costs about $19 (explain how needy a person must be to text throughout a film). Sitting that close, I am immersed by the IMAX experience, sound and picture, and the daytime crowd disappears. The ETX screen next door is almost as good as IMAX ….. almost. Previously, in South Florida, the 2 IMAX screens were in South Miami in another AMC complex, and at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum and Discovery Center (but that theatre is waaaaay not deep, and stadium seating must be 25 feet up from front to back). Not a natural configuration, IMHO.
I saw “Star Trek The Motion Picture” (the really awful one that was 50% sweeping wide pans of the miniature Enterprise … gack that film BLEW) in this massive theatre when it was the Loew’s back in 1979. It was on par with the large screen at the mall theatre (NE 12th Avenue), but it was a lot newer and was superior as a facility. Yeah, the curtain opened and closed, but a lot of them still did that back in the day. I have to go to London to find a giant screen with proper exhibitor habits these days.
By the time I got to 12th Grade, my brother was managing the theatre with an old-timey exhibitor, known to me only as Jimmy Foof. Dunno where that name could have come from, but with my bro running the place every night, it gave me total access to what was playing, and that year (1973) it was “The Exorcist.” I went through a very short period of film craft interest, just in time to stay through maybe 30 showings of the film. I know every bump and sound in the film track. Max Von Sydow played a 70-80-something priest very convincingly to the point where, before imdb, I never knew his real age. The place had 2 large screens before they multiplexed into 8 smallish screens. At least the concession stand sold Pepsi, “real” Goobers and really good hot dogs. The place still stands, but has been repurposed as a furniture store in a small strip mall. With Oleta State Park right across Sunny Isles Blvd, everyone in the area knew when low tide was. Stinky, stinky mangroves.
The Bay Harbor theatre was where my high school always went for art films. This included 1971’s “Mary, Queen of Scots.” The school didn’t know about the brief bit in the film with gay subject and (imagine …. kissing), and whoever gave the go-ahead for the busloads of kids must have been mortified as the auditorium of 10-12th graders erupted into howls and screams at what the school film trip had given us that day. Truly glorious and hilarious high school memories.
I saw “How The West Was Won” in Cinerama (three projectors) at this theatre. I might have also seen “Hawaii” there. And possibly “The Greatest Story Ever Told” which I recall because the seats were sold individually, like in a live Broadway theatre. So everyone was walking around looking for this seat or block of seats, even when they came in late. Ushers with flashlights and everything.
The last film I saw at this theatre was “A Man For All Seasons,” that being the 1966 film. I was dragged there by history-loving parents for a family afternoon, and steamed the whole time. It was not exactly the kind of film an 8 YO wanted to see. There was no vestibule for the two aisles, so every time someone used the door, it wiped out half the screen. The doors faced West and caught all the sunlight from the very small lobby.
The last film I can recall seeing at this theatre was “The Longest Day.” It was someone’s birthday, and we all spent the day.
A mixed-use, Miami-Dade County complex is just finishing up construction on the site of the Miami Drive-In. There’s a branch library, and other outposts of county government open for use. I saw films here in 1972, during my 12th school year, and a classmate worked there (which is the only reason I can recall the date). I think I saw a Godzilla film at this theatre.
Back when a 12-YO kid could ride his bike from El Portal to Little River and see an afternoon of films, the Rosetta was it. The balcony, even back then (late 1960s to early 1970s) was where the stoners would sit. Sad when the theatre went adult and then closed.
Last film I recall seeing at this theatre was Bertolucci’s “Luna”. It was cutting-edge subject matter.