Comments from swtaysun

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swtaysun commented about South City Cinema I & II on Mar 14, 2010 at 10:46 am

The South City was a very reliable place to see second run films from the mid-70’s through the late 80’s.
A South City newspaper ad in December hyping “Jaws” read “King Kong (the 1976 remake) is here but Jaws is still the King.
"The Hindenburg” was actually fun there in 1976!
The last film I saw there was “Hairspray” in 1988 and by then it was clear that it was starting to run down and with the Keller and Lindbergh recently built nearby and VHS and home video on the rise, the South City would soon be only a memory.

swtaysun commented about Mark Twain Theatre on Mar 2, 2010 at 2:25 pm

So many of the widescreen show boats of the 1970’s played here. The Mark Twain often featured large lobby card type pictures. “The Towering Inferno” was a big hit with fire laden pictures in the lobby. “Superman the Movie” was a typical attraction. As mentioned, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was a delight here. But it was difficult to sustain the crowds year round as shows like “Making Love” did not prove to be sell-outs. I remember the arrival of the misbegotten “1941” at the Mark Twain in 1979. All the concession people were wearing 1941 t-shirts and everyone was ready for a blockbuster…but it was just a bust.

Since I saw “1941” in December of 1979 at the Mark Twain and it was not twinned, it had to have happened later. As I recall, it was still a single as late as 1982.

swtaysun commented about South County Cinema on Mar 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm

When the South County Cinema was a wonderful one screen showplace in 1975 it was one of the lucky places to play “Jaws” that summer to packed houses. I recall the shark teeth on the marquee and the “Jaws” wording in between – wish someone would post a picture!

Sensurround was introduced in St. Louis at the South County for “Earthquake” in 1974 and it was so loud the first weekend that the Exit lights blinked which made several patrons understandably nervous. The Sensurround gadget took out the last two rows of seats on the left and right sides.

In 1977 when the South County was split in two, the theatre lost its simple lustre and was no longer the fun place it had been. When Sensurround returned in 1977 for “Rollercoaster” the patrons in the unfortunate other part of the theatre that was seeing “The Rescuers” got a full blast of Sensurround whenever the rumble scenes of “Rollercoaster” would take place.

When it was a single screen place, the screen itself had a magical blue glow in between shows that was Perfect for “Jaws” and other films.

“The Andromeda Strain” in 1971 and “Midway” in Sensurround in 1976 were two memorable attractions at the South County.

The first weekend of “Jaws” the crowds went completely around the South County theatre. The modern blockbuster film phenomenon was born. “Jaws” played at the South County from June all the way through September of 1975.

The single screen South County Cinema was, in its own way, a St. Louis theatre paradise.

swtaysun commented about Avalon Cinema on Mar 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm

One of the oddest moment in the life of the Avalon was in 1988 when “The Last Temptation of Christ” played and there were religious protesters who picketed the first weekend. If they had really wanted to picket a worthy film, they could have chosen the awful Barbra Streisand comedy “For Pete’s Sake” that played there in 1974.

swtaysun commented about Shenandoah Theatre on Mar 2, 2010 at 12:50 pm

The late 1960’s-early 1970’s era of the Shenandoah was a second-run paradise for kids with re-releases of “Swiss Family Robinson”, “The Parent Trap” and new fare such as “The Aristocats”. It was a magical place because when the lights went down there it was Very dark and the side lights were orange and blue neon. By that time the balcony was closed off so that was a mysterious place. And up front it was clear there was a stage along with the huge screen. One could wonder what performances Might pop out between the double features…but never did.

To drive by the sleepy parking lot where the Shenandoah once stood one might never know how much fun the local theatre there once provided. I recall a packed house for “The Trouble with Angels” in 1967 with kids, adults and everyone else from the neighborhood.

The specialty films that took over the Shenandoah in the mid-1970’s arrived as the once busy South Grand shopping areas that culminated in the big Sears store just past Grand and Gravois disappeared as the malls in the suburbs took the business and ended the long run of the Shenandoah, the bright light just off the Shaw neighborhood.