Welcome back Tribals!
This crazy valley that I have called my home for every one of my 28 years has certainly seen its fair share of changes. Many times have I heard visitors comment on how even after a two year absence, this city is almost unrecognizable. The very heart of this town seems to warrant this constant state of fluctuation and while not always for the best, it’s hard to argue that we have not grown exponentially over the last 50 years. Movie theaters have been no exception to our wavering infrastructure. And while you won’t hear any qualms from me regarding our new state-of-the-art cinemas, I feel like we owe it to ourselves to take a minute to reflect on how far we’ve come. So this week my friends, I’d like to take us all on a trip down memory lane!
The Cinerama Theater
At some point during the late 50’s- early 60’s, someone decided that dome-shaped everything was a good idea. I’ll be honest, I’m not even mad. Granted this capsule probably couldn’t house more than 200 people and the gigantic screens like we have today, though many of us go to the movies to escape from reality. What better way to do that than to step inside something out of a science fiction movie? If nothing else, this should highlight the disparities in architectural imagination, am I right?
The Stardust Drive-In
Check out this throwback! Does it freak you out to think that there’s a good possibility you or someone you know was probably conceived here? It should. Drive-ins were all the rage in decades past and you can bet that your parents frequently came here in an age when human interaction was necessary to everyday life. As you can see, this is a far cry from even our own aging West Wind Las Vegas Drive-In.
Some of you may even recognize this classic staple. The Huntridge eventually turned into a very popular concert venue during later years, but has since been sitting vacant near the downtown area. It’s crazy to think that at one time people would put on their Sunday best and gather here for some of history’s best films. Now when’s the last time any of us could say the same? Las Vegans have actually been quite vocal in attempting to save this historic theater from the same fate that just about every building over the age of 40 meets in Las Vegas. If you’re interested in joining the fight you should check out Save the Historic Huntridge Theater’s website.
The Red Rock 11 Theaters
Naturally I had to save the best for last. The Red Rock 11 Theaters is one that really hits home for me as I have many vivid memories of coming here when I was young and still full of imagination. Can you blame me?? I mean look at this place! There are very few places in Las Vegas that are built with any sense of creative architecture or personality. This place had it all; once you stepped through those doors you really felt like you were walking through London on a foggy night in the early 20th century. At least to me, it really doesn’t get any better than that. I feel like if Las Vegans are going to stand up for anything, it should be to bring back something just like this. Trust me, your children will thank you for it… and so will I 🙂
Now that you’ve come this far and you’re probably reeling with feelings of nostalgia, here’s a glimpse at what others had to say:
Certainly this doesn’t encompass all of Las Vegas’s classic cinemas, though these would certainly be among my favorites. If you’re interested in checking out even more, I would invite you to check out Classic Las Vegas’s website. There you will find a plethora of pictures, information, and people who are determined to keep the past in our memory. Also, another great site is Cinema Treasures which, as the name implies, is focused on preserving the memories of all of our great theaters throughout the ages, not just in Las Vegas. Surely we have come a long way and it’s even more exciting to think where the next generation will be watching their films. Every now and then though, it’s nice to revisit the past to find inspiration and appreciation for how things used to be. If anyone has a special memory from any one of these theaters I would especially love to hear it in the comments below!