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Excellent article. I lived within walking distance of the Loma Theater in San Diego and saw the film five times over a period of two and a half years (133 week run). It was not an issue of being a major fan of the film, but rather the fact that it was the only theater within walking or biking distance from our home. I remember that the theater held a “second anniversary party”, and a photo appeared in the San Diego Union with some of the cast members (the kids, not the adults) and the theater manager, cutting a decorated cake.
The duration of 133 weeks coincides with my memory that the film made it past the 2 ½ year mark at the Loma but did not make it to the three year mark. I remember seeing “Rosemary’s Baby” (what a contrast to SOM!!) toward the end of sixth grade at the Loma, and the latter film debuted in c. June 1968. I don’t recall if Rosemary’s Baby was the first post-SOM feature film; it would be interesting to see a chronological list of films played at the Loma. The Loma played host to a number of limited “road show” engagements, including “Lawrence of Arabia” and later “E.T.” I don’t recall reserved seats for SOM, but I only attended matinees (because I walked there) and perhaps these were unreserved.
@TArbiter: Your recollection is most likely correct, Sound of Music began there in 1965 and—since it ran 2 ½ years—must have lasted until at least late 1967. I remember seeing “Rosemary’s Baby” at the Loma during sixth grade (1967-68), after Sound of Music concluded its run, so it must have been sometime in winter or spring of 1968. Internet Movie Database gives a March 1965 world premiere date of 29 March 1965 for Sound of Music (but it may not have opened immediately in San Diego), and a June 1968 USA premiere date for Rosemary’s Baby. So I must have seen the latter film shortly after
eseen the latter film about the time school let out in June 1968.
By the way, the “Gateway Village” military housing along Barnett St was torn down several years ago and replaced by condominiums. St. Charles Catholic Church is still there. MCRD is still there as you knew it, but NCTD was torn down and today hosts homes and shopping areas, called “Liberty Station”. If you lived in Gateway Village, then you would have attended Dewey Elementary, Collier Junior High, or Point Loma High, depending on your school grade at the time.
In the early to mid 1960s, the Loma ran Saturday morning matinees during the summer months. It may have been going on during the 40s and 50s but I was too young to have remembered. Usually a Disney flick, some cartoons, and a drawing for a free trip to Disneyland. At one point, if you presented I think a dozen Mountain Dew bottle caps, admission was free. Otherwise you paid 25 cents. It wasn’t a Saturday morning habit with me, but I recall going maybe half a dozen times as a kid.
The Loma held a “second anniversary party” for Sound Of Music when it hit the two year mark. They rounded up some of the child cast members and had a huge cake prepared. I remember seeing a photo in the Union of one of the two boys in the cast cutting the cake with Angela Cartwright (who by that time was appearing in “Lost In Space”). I don’t recall if the public was invited to the party or if it was just a PR stunt for the papers.