I've been doing a lot of fiddling around with Google Maps lately (some of it for future posts), and I got to thinking: what could be cooler than showing the satellite photos of the theaters wherein I first saw each Star Wars film!
(I know, I know. Believe me, I just felt a grave disturbance in the Force, as if millions of Blogistan eyes suddenly rolled, and then were suddenly silenced. Well, I refer you all to yesterday's disclaimer.)
First up is the Westgate Theater, in Beaverton, OR. This is where I first saw both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. I remember the main auditorium of the Westgate being very, very large, but I suspect that my memories may be skewed a bit. I'm not sure how old Google's satellite photos are, but I am surprised that the Westgate was apparently still standing at least within the last couple of years.
I can't show you the theater where I first saw Return of the Jedi, because it's definitely not there anymore. But it was here, in the Center Mall in Olean, NY. See that obvious addition on the mall's southern side, nearest the street (and not facing the creek)? That's a JC Penney, occupying the spot once held by the mall theater. That's where Return of the Jedi opened, when I was eleven. I saw it the second night it was out. What a freaking amazing experience that was. (The company that operated that theater later built a multiplex elsewhere in Olean, where I saw all three Original Trilogy films when their Special Editions came out in 1997.)
Fast-forward sixteen years, to the release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999. I saw that film at the Regal Cinemas outside Orchard Park, NY. This, coincidentally, was the first theater where I encountered the marvel that is stadium seating. Coincidentally, the Daughter was born exactly one month after The Phantom Menace opened. Judging by the complete absence of cars in front of the multiplex, contrasted with the large number of cars in front of the Target next door, I assume this photo was taken in the morning. This, incidentally, is where I'll be seeing Revenge of the Sith in less than three weeks. (We've got a group of six guys from The Store going.)
Finally, I saw Attack of the Clones at the Flix Cinema in Lancaster, NY, which is about a ten minute drive from where I live right now. I don't recall exactly why I went to this theater for that opening day, midnight showing as opposed to the Regal Cinema, since Flix does not have stadium seating; but Flix does have one amenity that I've never seen anywhere else: they let you put the butter on your popcorn yourself. Oh, my arteries took a beating that night.
(Boy -- movie theaters aren't much to look at from the air, are they? Just flat rooftops punctuated by large HVAC units. Ah, well. It's still cool.)