Village Theatre Looking for a Few Good Ideas
By Joe Ditler
(Photo: Courtesy Coronado Public Library)
CORONADO - The Village Theatre will be opening early this summer with a new look, three theatre screens, the best digital sound money can buy, and an age-old mission to entertain.
Workers are putting the finishing touches on Coronado’s legendary theatre even as this is written. The inside framing is now covered with walls, ceiling and paint. Tiles and carpets have been ordered and will be in place once the dust clears. And the cracked and aging terrazzo has been restored.
Guests will have three options for movie watching. There will be the main theatre, which seats 215. And there will be two smaller theatres that seat 45 each. Two of the three theatres will be 3-D capable.
Lance Alspaugh, CEO of Five Star Theatres, is eager to begin building film agendas for the new theatre. “Our goal is to show movies people want to see. With that in mind our film buyer is already looking at various types of films and film festivals for us to consider.”
The Village Theatre would like to hear from you:
What films would you like to see? Independent? Foreign? Classic? Film Noir?
Visit the Village Theatre Facebook Poll to submit your response.
VILLAGE THEATRE MEMORIES
(Photo: Courtesy Coronado Public Library)
The Village Theatre opened March 18, 1947 with a studio preview attended by hundreds. The event was so large a second screening had to be arranged.
Giant spotlights filled the sky over Coronado with bright beams of light that could be seen from Mexico, Alpine, Point Loma, and even by ships at sea.
The next night residents watched a double feature, “Irish Eyes are Smiling,” and “The Well Groomed Bride.” That same week they experienced “San Antonio,” with Errol Flynn, “Rainbow Island,” with Dorothy Lamour, and “The Big Sleep,” with Bogie and Bacall.
Henley 3-6161 was her original telephone number. Through the closing of the theatre in 2000 the phone number remained 435-6161. The last film showed there was Jim Carrey’s
“How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Here are some recollections of the Village Theatre gathered over the years:
“My allowance for doing the lawn mowing was 25 cents a week in the mid 50's, which got me a 15 cent ticket, and two of the 5 cent items at the snack bar.” – Terrence Goodbody
“Pop Millar, the juvenile officer at the Coronado Police Department, would host all of us kids to a weekend matinee throughout the 1940s and ‘50s. He would lead us down Orange Avenue like the Pied Piper to our destination - a film at the Village Theatre.” – Vince Flynn
“In seventh grade (1953) I saw ‘House of Wax’ at the Village Theatre. It was my first 3-D film, glasses and all. It was so scary I almost wet my pants. My parents found out and I was punished, but it was nothing like the punishment of nightmares I experienced for months to come.” – Kathy Stevens-Clark
“In the early Fifties the left side of the theatre was for Junior High students. The right side was for High School students. The center was delegated for the ‘old people.’” – Ky Winchester-Roberts
“I have fond memories of the Village Theatre. My first job was there, selling tickets for the weekend matinees. I was 15. They paid me a few dollars an hour, but even better, I got free popcorn and my friends could ride up Orange Avenue on their bikes and visit me in that cool old box office.” – Sarah Ritchie-Holder
“In 1952 my brother and I were seven and five years old when we went to see Peter Pan at the Village Theater. We were so excited about Tinkerbell’s flying abilities that we rolled around under our beds to get covered with ‘pixie dust,’ then made a fantastic leap off the front porch wall (24 inches tall) in a vain attempt to fly.” – Jim Newhall
“When we were kids they would show surf movies. You never heard such noise from a crowd. We would flick bottle caps at the screen, sometimes sailing over the heads of the crowd up into the screen. The longest trajectories got the most applause.” – John Gillem
“I saw American Graffiti when it first opened at the Village Theater in 1973. The theater was packed and Mr. Demmon (the band teacher) was sitting with his wife in the first row. The minute the music and the movie started, he was whooping it up - hands and arms in the air. Movies were $1.25.” – Dede Haas
“I used to work for Burt Kramer, manager of the theater, changing the marquee outside when movies changed. I used to pick up the large cans of film in San Diego when they weren't delivered. I got free movies and 35 cents an hour. Can't beat that.” – Pike Meade
“I worked as the popcorn girl in 1956-57 for 75 cents an hour. I served plain popcorn for 10 cents and buttered (real butter) for 25 cents. Mr. Kramer wouldn’t let us sit during the quiet periods, but we had to be cleaning the glass or something. Can’t wait for it to reopen! Maybe I’ll go back to work!” – Marilyn Moyle-Rees
“There was a film that came out in 1971 called ‘Friends’. It was a sensitive story about two young lovers in France. It had an Elton John soundtrack. I must have taken half a dozen dates to the Village Theatre to see it. Each one thought I was the most sensitive and romantic person on the island because of it (smile).” – Joe Ditler
“There was a great ice cream parlor called the Beachcomber next door where the dry cleaner is now. They specialized in ‘suicide sundaes.’ If you could eat two you got the third for free. My friend from high school, Patty Murphy (Jepson), worked the box office and snuck us in sometimes. We necked with our boyfriends in the back row and necked in the front row. It was a typical small town theater, which I've missed like crazy.” – Jane Reynolds-Meade
“We used to ride our bikes up and down the aisles while they were putting final touches on the theater (1947) and Mr. Kramer would get so mad at us. Those were the days.” – Tommy Keck
What films would you like to see? Independent? Foreign? Classic? Film Noir? Visit the Village Theatre Facebook Poll to submit your response.
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