I spent many Saturday afternoons at the State Theatre in Boonton. For just 50 cents, we could see the latest movie in that grand old building with our friends. I have many fond memories of that very unique theatre, where you entered underneath the big screen and walked up to your seat. There are just a few theaters in the country with this configuration.
As I recall, during those Saturday matinees, it would be rare to see an adult present in the audience. When the theater was filled to its maximum, the balcony would be opened to accommodate the overflow crowds. For me, that was a rare treat to be allowed upstairs. (Or maybe we snuck up there.)
Every Disney movie that played during the sixties I saw at the State Theatre, as well as the nearly four-hour saga, Gone with the Wind. I cried when Rex and Scarlett’s daughter, Bonnie, died after falling off of her horse; sobbed hysterically when Tony died in the arms of Maria in West Side Story, and held my breath while the Von Trapp family hide in the abbey from the Nazis in The Sound of Music.
I recall seeing The Godfather with Grandma, who regretted going with me because of the sex scene during the wedding. At the time, I believe I was seventeen, so I am surprised she went with me. She should have known, since it was rated “R.” What was she thinking?
The last flick I saw there was one of Dad’s all-time favorites: Smokey and the Bandit. We had been dating for five or six months at that time, and it was the perfect movie since it had cars to make Dad happy and Sally Field and Burt Reynolds for me.
The theatre was on its decline by then. I know this because I remember it had rained that day and the ceiling leaked. The precipitation added to the charm.
I hear it’s on sale now, so if you are looking for something to do with that million dollars hanging out in your bank account, there you go!