Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Holiday Movie Theaters - I & II

Holiday Theaters I & II
949 Northcrest Shopping Center
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805-1225
(219) 484-2223

Photo Credit: Adam Martin

Here it is, the last day off before I have to return to work and you would think that I would have spent the day relaxing, napping - and you know - just taking it easy.

But no. Instead, I got myself all riled up about the Holiday Theaters (and when I say Holiday Theaters - I don't acknowledge those piddly-ass 6 tiny ones off to the side - which should have never been built to begin with.)

I found pictures today. Not many, but some. And as I looked at them, I became angrier and angrier. My husband Mike walks in and wants to know why I'm pouting.

Look at this! I point to my laptop screen.


Look at this! I point with MORE emphasis.

What am I looking at?


Mike's been married to me for over 17 years now so he knows not to take the bait. This is what I was showing him.

This first picture is an aerial map of the area, dated 2002. You'll notice a building there. The second picture is an aerial map of the area, dated 2005. Huh! Now it ain't there

Yes friends, that's called the unnecessary demolishment of two of the best movie theaters that have ever existed in the state of Indiana.

Sigh. But I'm supposed to be writing about my memories - not gripin' about the people that destroyed a piece of my heart :(.

Moving On...

I grew up on the southwest side of Fort Wayne but by the time I was a teen, I had migrated to downtown and then eventually, the north side area. Naturally, I didn't go back to Waynedale for entertainment. I enjoyed the fruits of the north side.

One of the neatest things on the north side of Fort Wayne was a pair of theaters - or "The Holiday" as some of us called it.

Both theaters were huge. The screens were wide and rounded. The sound was better than having headphones on :). And to boot - the best movies in town played at Holiday. If you wanted to attend a date-night showing, you had to plan on getting there early.

The lobby was just massive. Space out the yin-yang. It was decorated (thinks) in kitschy mod-european. Large crowds of people gathered in the lobby. They either stood around or hung out around the fireplace area. It was a great time to catch up with friends. Glare at your enemies. Hide from those who stalked you. Remember, this was a time when you didn't have the safety of your cell phone to hide behind.

There was the concession area - it had all sorts of wonderful things. I'll pull out my "I was a poor girl card" and admit to you that I usually snuck a pop in shhhhh and when I was older (but still underaged), I brought in the occasional bottle of - well - stuff.

When the usher dude took the red rope down, you knew it was time to move forward toward your theater. Politely too. People were always anxious to get to their seats but you didn't see any idiotic behavior happening.

The seats...the seats weren't like the seats of today. Bub, if you were late for the movie, you had to step on people to get through and people frowned on that, so you minded your p's and q's and you got in there asap. Before the light's went down was best. Watch out for the nasty glares otherwise...

Maybe my memory is fading, but as crowded as those movies were, I just don't remember people being as irritating as they are today. I don't remember obnoxiously loud crunching or people talking. There was this self-imposed peer pressure. We were all there for a good time that was only going to last (in most cases) less than two hours.

SO - the big memory attached to this is....In 1986, I had my first, unofficial date with my husband at The Holiday. We were still in the, "you irritate me, I have no clue how we could possibly have mutual friends" phase. One day, we were bickering (our friend Daron calls this foreplay) about movies, and the next thing you know, we're both showing up - on purpose - to see Top Gun. I had already seen it but whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, and Anthony Edwards got my heart a-poundin'. And who cares if Kelly McGillis could have never been a rocket-scientist. It was the Berlin song that counted.

Soon after that first momentus event, we ended up officially dating. And look. Our marriage has lasted longer than Tom and Mimi's, Tom and Nicole's, and (so far) Tom and Katie's.

The Holiday Movie Theaters were awe-inspiring. As you probably know, there was one and then eventually, a second one was added on (early 70's) in such a way that you didn't really know that they weren't built at the same time.

Here's a drawing of what I and II would look like once II would be built. There was such an emphasis on the the theaters looking like one entity. I think that they did a great job!



There are some other photos you can enjoy which I found on a wonderful site - Cinema Tour.

Holiday Theater Sign (attached to the side of the building)
Interior Fireplace
Part of the Fireplace? Maybe where the sculpture was?


KurtGLMFT said...

Wow, what a vivid account. Brought back many memories of movies I saw with friends/dates there. I remember scrounging around for money on a Friday or Saturday to see the latest movie there. Since I grew up in Syracuse, going to the Holiday was an event, not easily matched today. When I think of a Theatre, the Holiday is what comes to mind, not the high tech, stadium seating, things we have today!

Kevin said...

I think your second photo of the fireplace was actually the fountain that was inside towards the east side of the bulding.

d said...

She said "Foreplay" hahahaha

Top Gun...gack...how about Earthquake with SURROUNDSOUND and Star Wars.

and lets not forget Holiday Theatre hosted the FWCS Safety Patrol year-end party with Mike the Talking Bike!


by DAVID SPEAKMAN - said...

Holiday had the largest screens in Indiana.

The films I saw there - ranging from Disney films as a kid to the sci-fi blockbusters as I got older, like Star Wars trilogy, Aliens and Bladerunner all bring back the fond memories I had in Fort Wayne.

Like you, I found out that the theatre was demolished long after I had moved away from the Summit City to the Silicon Valley.

Now the city has tons of little screen theatres that are debatable if they are more enjoyable than staying at home and watching HDTV.


Uvulapie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Uvulapie said...

An indie horror film was made in the Holiday Theater before it was demolished... The Spell of 13! A quick search of the title will get you more info. I've not seen it but a friend who used to work at the Holiday has and affirms that you get to see oodles of the theater.

Joe said...

I think of the Holiday theaters every time I am behind Kohls at Northcrest. Today it's like an unmarked graveyard of celluloid past.
Your posting sure brought back a lot of good movie memories - thanks!