Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The last picture show

OK, all you Halls folks out there in cyberspace. Gather round and let's toast one to Danny Wallace.

You may not know Danny's name. But I guarantee he's had an impact on you in some way. Danny, you see, brought the movies to Halls.

In 1983, Danny opened a 4-theater multiplex on Neal Drive. The first movie I saw there was a re-release of "E.T." A few years later, he expanded to 7 theaters. I lost count a long time ago how many dates, rainy afternoons and Saturday nights I spent at that place.

Alas, the picture show is no more. After 23 years, Danny has closed his doors.

He says he can't compete with digital technology. Says he held on as long as he could.

I feel like a little part of me has passed on, too.

I'll never forget the Saturday the popcorn machine caught on fire. We sent ace reporter Nick Frantz out there with a camera. He came back with a photo of the troublesome machine. Got a few quotes from some church folks who were there to see "The Passion of the Christ."

Then there was the time I dropped by one afternoon to see this girl I was madly in love with at the time. She wasn't working, but I caught the picture anyway. Hey, it's the movies.

When I drove by the theater and saw the empty marquee, I thought about Duane and Sonny and Sam the Lion, characters from Larry McMurtry's book "The Last Picture Show." And remembered this:

"It would have taken Winchester '73 or Red River or some big movie like that to have crowded out the memories the boys kept having. They had been at the picture show so often with Jacy that it was hard to keep from thinking of her, lithely stretching herself in the back row... Such thoughts were dangerous to both of them.

"It didn't look like the town it had been when he was in high school."

No, guess it's unrealistic to expect anything to stay the same. But we'll miss you, Danny. Yes, we will.

We'll miss that old picture show.


Blogger Dewayne said...

Wow, this makes me really sad. Saw some good stuff here. Gremlins, Joe vs the Volcano, and Forest Gump with a certain Halls Shopper News Editor. (not Sandra)

It's a shame.

9:33 PM  

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