Monday (Jan. 15, 2018) marked a sad day for movie theater enthusiasts and the economy in Schuylkill County.
Pearl Cinema 8, one of the Schuylkill Mall’s last holdouts, showed movies for the last time and closed its doors forever.
Those of us who grew up shopping with our parents, hanging out as teenagers, maybe working there at some point before taking our own children there can’t help but feel sentimental. In addition to seeing the brown and yellow-lit movie marquee from Route 61, I still remember how cool it was that our “new mall” had fountains like the ones I saw months earlier at the Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne, Bucks County. The Schuylkill Mall had 96 stores from one end to the other, from novelties and clothing to toys and music necessities. Who can forget the toy soldiers that stood at the one outside entrance to Hess’s?
Back to the theater, perhaps you hold memories there (I know I do!). Maybe it marked the first time you sat in a theater to see a feature film. While my first theater experience happened elsewhere (I believe it was in Pine Grove with “Herbie Goes Bananas” — eek!), the former United Artists Theatres marked a first film experience for both of my children.
Amber was just shy of her third birthday when her dad and I left a rainy birthday party at Knoebels and decided to see Disney’s “Cars.” I think I was just excited as she was to see it! As a NASCAR fan, the Pixar flick featured the voices of racing greats Darryl Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Richard Petty. We walked out of the theater saying, “When does it come out on DVD?” (Amber got the movie for Christmas that year!)
Jacob’s first film in a theater was Disney Pixar’s “Brave,” complete with 3-D glasses. He was 3, and like his sister, sat quietly and happily through the movie. Like “Cars,” Santa brought the film on DVD for Christmas that year.
While the Schuylkill Mall and the theater are now just memories, theater owners Bruce Taffet and Gina DiSanto plan to reopen elsewhere. At this point, plans are in the works to relocate to Pottsville. In Tuesday’s Republican-Herald edition (Jan. 16, 2018), Gina said, “It’s not goodbye. We will see you soon.”
Let’s hope so. Who doesn’t want to look forward to watching the latest flicks while enjoying a big tub of buttery popcorn?