May 25 - Happy Star Wars Day! As you may remember, the original Star Wars film premiered on May 25th, 1977. I made a pretty big deal about it in last year's WOMP-Blog, but I wanted to wax nostalgic again this year, at least just a little...and, only just a little about Star Wars itself, really. You see, just as Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull has hit the theaters, I've discovered that the multiplex, in which I saw Empire, Jedi, most of the Star Trek films, and the original Indy films on the days that they premiered, has closed. If you've ever been to Dubuque, Iowa, then you probably remember the Cinema 6. Believe it or not, Wikipedia has the following information about it on-line;
In the 1980s General Cinema built a new six-screen theater named Kennedy Mall Cinema 6 in the parking lot just west of the mall to replace the theater inside the mall. The theater later changed hands; General Cinema, once the largest theater chain in the US, is no longer in business. The theater was taken over by Carmike Cinemas Inc.. After a new Star Cinema was built in Dubuque in 2005, the existing theater changed its format - it began showing second run movies at a reduced rate instead of new films. In May of 2007, Carmike Cinemas decided not to renew its lease, and closed the Kennedy Mall Cinema 6.
Now, a year later, I can tell you that the above information only tells a tiny bit of the story. What Wikipedia did not (and perhaps can not?) tell you is that for the first decade or so that it was open, Cinema 6 was the only movie theater within 100 miles of my hometown of Prairie du Chien which showed films on the day they were released. Sometimes they even had sneak preview showings a day earlier! Back in the day, my nerdy friends and I would make the hour-long trip to Dubuque for nearly every early '80's Science-Fiction/Action-Adventure film opening, making them something like pilgrimages. And it was a bit like a "holy" place. It was there that I first heard a crotchety green elf proclaim "No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try." It was there that I saw Darth Vader, and his son, finally restore balance to the Force. Dubuque's Cinema 6 is where an enraged Kirk shouted "KHAN," where Spock's coffin was jettisoned into space, where Indy fought Nazis and snakes, where Rick Deckard hunted down replicants, where I learned why you shouldn't feed a mogwai after midnight, and where Peter Venkman got slimed...all for the very first time. Now, this palace of movie memories is abandoned, weeds and scrub trees growing in front of the box office window. I suppose that it's only a matter of time before the whole thing is knocked down and an Applebees is erected in it's place, but I like to imagine that it will be left alone instead. The encroaching vert would continue to grow, eventually consuming and hiding it. Centuries later, an adventuresome archeologist, perhaps using a transcript of this very WOMP-Blog entry as reference and inspiration, will unearth this lost temple, exposing its ancient secrets to the world of tomorrow. You never know...it could happen. Until then, I suppose I'll leave you for the night with your famously Hat-Wearing Comic Book Character of The Day - Indiana Jones!