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Summer matinees

April 30, 2008 - LLee Janssen

The City Hall reporter informs me he'll be flexing time out of the office every other Wednesday during Council meeting weeks to catch a matinee at the new Cinema Center downtown.

The thought of matinees downtown takes me back to childhood, when summers meant watching reruns of the Mickey Mouse Club at one of our downtown theaters, the State, or seeing Mary Poppins for the first time at the Capitol, or maybe it was the antics of Jerry Lewis showing on screen at the Rialto.

We had plenty of choices, back in the day when mothers didn't think a thing about allowing their children to walk downtown to catch a show, and then hitch a ride home with dad after the movie and the end of his workday.

We still had choices when my young ones were coming up in Williamsport, though more often than not they were outside the city. The one remaining theater downtown in those years, the Capitol, was owned and operated at the time by the late Frances Carducci. He liked to show family films, and it was a convenient trip to take the boys. The last film we saw there: "All Dogs Go to Heaven."

The movies disappeared from the Loyal Plaza, but we still had The Ritz in Muncy and the screens at the original theater at the Lycoming Mall. What a kick it was to take a car full of pre-teen boys -- each of the boys was allowed one friend -- to go see "Hook" with them rapping along to the then-popular M.C. Hammer.

Movies were a family tradition around holidays, such as Thanksgiving when the blockbusters would come out. We followed the adventures of Superman, Batman and Dick Tracy, not to mention the "Back to the Future" trilogy, the hilarious "Home Alone" and every episode of the Star Wars saga.

Some people I've encountered since plans to open a cineplex downtown were announced have said they don't believe the theater downtown will fare well. They are among those who fear the area. But that's their loss. I go downtown to work most every day, and look forward to adding an occasional trip to the new theater as well. For those looking for fun and entertainment, perhaps I'll see you there!



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