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I grew up in Reno/Sparks, and I remember the Crest theatre at least as long ago as 1959. The Crest was right nextto or nearly so, the Wigwam cafe where we always went for banana cream pie after the movie. My big sister and I would ride the bus downtown together and see the movie that was showing there at the Crest or at the Majestic or the Granada where my sister was later an usherette. No feet on the backs of the seats or the ushers and usherettes would shine a flashlight on you. They wore little pillbox hats and tidy but classy little uniforms. And Jock is right about the “Positively no- one admitted after the start of the movie.” The Granada was very “art Nuveau”, and soft green. You would pay at the ticket booth, then walk up a curved sloped upward carpeted pathway to the posh dreamily lighted snack bar. The orange drink was fountaining up into the top of its tall window to make you thirsty, and the wall sconces that lighted the way around the bend into the theatre itself were like seashells you could imagine in buildings during the Great Gatsby era. the candy in the display cases was lighted softly and it was too beautiful to be real, or so it seemed. It all made you feel very very rich and important.
Back to the Crest though! The Crest did not seem brand new then, though nice enough, and was very tiny. I do not remember ever hearing about the Nevada theatre at all. It was not in that block near the Wigwam Cafe by the time I was big enough to ride the bus downtown. We saw all the greatest movies like Mary Poppins, Exodus, and the Music Man at the Majestic. They must have had a run at the Crest at a different time. None of the other theatres in my opinion came anywhere close to the Majestic! It was just that!
The Majestic in Reno was not a flat single story theatre, nor was it smaller than the Granada. It was huge to the point of dwarfing the Granada! I saw South Pacific there, Exodus, and many, many double features as well. The epoch movies of that day were often four hours long, so those never had a second feature, but always a newsreel and a cartoon or two. The bottom was a flat huge plush deck covered in many rows of chairs, and swept up into a very large section of the best seats to view that giant screen which were called Loges. Those were the best seats which would lean back for luxurious comfort, and were situated just far enough back for you to see the huge screen well. The loges cost more than the General tickets and we children would often sneak down after the movie started, and sit in the empty ones until the ushers caught us and made us move to the floor seats or the balcony which cost the same as the floor seats. The balcony was better for viewing the giant screen though than the floor seats even though it was far away. The Majestic had layers and layers of curtains which swept open one layer at a time, two layers that opened out to the sides and one fab one that pulled upward like a giant Balloon shade. It was transparent and magical looking as they pulled it open. I hope I never forget that spectacular sight. I actually recall three curtains in all., first one heavy velvet drape, and then one satin, then the transparent one. There were cut glass wall sconces and velvet/ corduroy seats and Victorian everything. It was very old, and very, very beautiful. Above the floor seats, and the loges, accessed by the same steps was the balcony. I have had the best kiss of my life in that very balcony, so I remember it well. That theatre was aptly named, and truly was The Majestic Theatre. It was mostly red colored decor inside. The Granada had the Green interior, and was beautiful but much smaller. I remember how it looked because I was an adult driving by when they tore it down. The front of that old dream filled building was torn away, and I couldn’t help but gasp! You see, I saw them! The seats we sat in when we saw Sparticus, the theatre we all grew up in, were just hanging there as if they didn’t matter at all. Like nothing had ever happened in there, and nobody had ever sat there and learned about foreign lands and castles and ancient stories re-enacted. And so it goes. There is a parking lot there now. And a very ugly, ugly one at that.