Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A major part of childhood going away

When my family first moved to Dunn, N.C., in the mid-1980s, that small city had two movie theaters. There was the old Stewart Theater, the one-screen holdover from cinema's heyday. Then there was the Plaza, a newer, two-screen "multiplex" on the edge of town. I remember seeing "Gremlins" at the Stewart; it closed not long after. (It has now become a wonderful community theater facility.)

The Plaza kept on chugging, and for a city like Dunn it remained one of the few things for young people. Many a Friday night was spent first at the Plaza -- where your folks would drop you off -- and then followed by pizza at the Pizza Inn. You had to cross a busy highway -- on foot -- to get to the Pizza Inn. Relatively speaking, it wasn't that long ago; but looking back, it seems like a more innocent time. (Personal note: it was in the Plaza where I first, ahem, kissed a girl.)

Unfortunately, the Plaza's days are numbered. August 28 is the cinema's last day, even though it was recently refurbished. Regardless, one night last week only six customers paid to see a movie. And the assistant manager told the local paper that the last sell out was for "The Passion of the Christ" in 2004.

So, if kids in the Dunn-Coats-Erwin area are anything like we were, then probably the only thing left to do is to head out to the country and build bonfires. Yippee!

Any other N.C.-related "ghosts of childhood past" stories you want to share?


James C. said...
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James C. said...

Damn, that sucks. I took the family down to Dunn to meet my dad for a viewing of Wall-E at the Plaza about two months ago. It was a small theater but a good one, and I hate to hear it's closing its doors.

It would be nice if a private company could come in a turn it into a theater like the Mission Valley Cinemas, offering beer and more adult atmosphere. MVC seems to be doing alright these days. They could maybe try showing older, classic movies on the big screen. You don't see any theaters showing out-of-circulation movies on the big screen, and old-school blockbusters (like Jaws, perhaps?) would look AWESOME on the big screen.

"Time barrels on, like a runaway train..."