Saturday, May 31

Cinemental Journey

I knew it was coming, but it still hurt just a bit when I heard that the local theatre, Mooresville Movies, had closed after 36 years of entertaining the community.

While working my first job as assistant manager of the local Ben Franklin Department Store, I started working part-time for the Mooresville Cinema. After a while, I started managing the cinema as well. I left the department store and started cooking at the local Pizza Hut but kept my job at the cinema. Anyone who reads this blog, knows that I love the movies and I really loved working at the cinema. The owners, Jack Perry and his wife, Sandy, were great people and I greatly enjoyed working for them. Jack was the first of some very great bosses that I was lucky to have over the years. I left that job during the my brief foray into college and will always look back on those years with great warmth and fondness.

After I left, the movies continued to play and Jack built an even nicer theatre, Mooresville Movies, across town with more screens. More years passed, and Jack built another theatre and and his own little strip mall on the south side of town. It flourished for a decade under his stewardship and his son, Brent's, management. Alas, during those 10 years, Rave Motion Pictures built one of those gigantic 16 screen theatres in Plainfield and home video and HDTV grew even bigger; these gently eroded the ticket sales of Mooresville Movies. Jack passed away in 2005 and attendance continued to decline. Now Mooresville residents have no local movie venue. I'm sure some big chain will build a multiplex down by that new Wal-Mart in Camby, but it will never have that feel of hometown that my movie theatre did.

Over the years many men and women have come up to me to tell me they remember how I used to yell at them for talking, putting their feet on the back of the seats or some other minor infraction. Some tell me that I threw them out for further shenanigans; yet, they all do it with a note of affection and nostalgia. I love this about small-town life. The Mooresville Movies has always been a part of that life.

I was the voice of the Mooresville Cinema during the years that I was manager. I was Mooresville's answer to Moviefone. To this day, I still remember my script for each weeks release; it was the one Jack always used and it always began the same...

Thank you for calling your Mooresville Cinema, where families can afford to go to the movies! I would then give the name of the movie and its showtimes and always end with, See ya at the movies! Some nights I would answer the phone and give a live version. If, the caller interrupted to relay info to another party, I would stop and chastise them for interrupting me. The reaction was always the same...surprised stammering and a quick never got old:)

I could go on and on with remembrances of those days at the movies, but I don't want to sound as old as I currently feel.

Time moves on and things change; I don't feel like this one is for the better.

I just wanted to thank the entire Perry Family for being great friends and providing the community a great time at the movies.

See ya at the movies!

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