When I was a kid, movie theaters were my home away from home. In the heat of the summer, they offered air conditioned splendor and big screen excitement. Drive-ins allowed my family to bundle us up on a Friday or Saturday night and see a movie from the comfort of our car. Here are some of my homes away from home:
The Cinerama Theater -there weren't very many of them but we had one. Located on Viking Road just off Paradise, this was a terrific theater. I dragged my friends there to see many a film, including "Fantasia", "The Hindenburg" and "The Three Musketeers".
The Fox theater located in the Charleston Plaza Mall. This was a large and elegant theater located in the first mall in Las Vegas. On East Charleston, just south of downtown, this theater had a sign that could be seen for miles. We saw "The Sound of Music", "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "The Hot Rock" and on New Year's Eve, "The Poseidon Adventure".
The Stardust Drive-In located behind the hotel. We saw "Viva Las Vegas" there. My parents were big Elvis fans and my dad was working at the Golden Gate when they were filming the movie and stepped outside of the casino to watch the filming of the race.
The SkyWay Drive-In. After the Stardust Drive-In closed, we used to drive out Boulder Highway to this great Drive-In. My dad bundled us all up and took us to see "Night of the Living Dead" after my mother brought home a Reader's Digest that had an article, "The film you don't want your kids to see". My dad had a wicked sense of humor.
The Huntridge Theater at East Charleston and Maryland Parkway was the closest theater we had to an old fashioned movie palace. Complete with soundproof "cry room" for unruly babies, the theater was home to Disney films and Saturday afternoons the theater was filled with kids. In addition to the Disney films, my friend Alan and I saw "Kelly's Heroes" and "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" there.
Other theaters I loved were the long-gone MGM Grand Theater in the original MGM Grand Hotel (now Bally's). This theater had plush love-sets and a cocktail waitress that brought your drink order to you. You ordered just by pressing a button on the cocktail table in front of you. They only ran classic MGM films but I was already a big film buff by the time the hotel opened and they changed the bill every week. You got a handout with a synopsis of the film and the cast listing. They showed a cartoon, newsreel and then the film. It was old-fashioned and it was beyond great.
The Red Rock Theaters on West Charleston. We lived in Charleston Heights and this was the theater closest to us. Started as a a dual screened theater, it ultimately expanded to 11 theaters. The theaters in the back were placed around an old-time Main Street like square. We lived at this place, it seemed, when I was in high school. Between this and the MGM Grand theater, my weekends were spent at the movies. We saw "The Sting", "Billy Jack", "The Godfather" and every major (and minor) film that came out in the 1970s.
The Guild Theater, the El Portal and the Fremont Theaters were all located downtown. The Guild was more an art house back then. I saw "Next Stop, Greenwich Village", "The Passenger" and other art films of the 1970s there.
The Parkway Theaters across the street from the Boulevard Mall. The Parkway was a dual screen theater. We saw "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Star Wars" there.
How about you, which theater was your favorite?