June 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
Did your childhood include Saturday matinees at the local movie theater? Mine did: 25 cents admission and 5 cents for a small box of popcorn. The movies weren’t noteworthy–I remember only that I saw The Blob, which kept me in a state of panic for weeks, and a Zorro serial–but they instilled in me a love of the big screen.
That history is what draws me to the Highland Park Theater at 56 & Figueroa. Like the Uptown Theater of my youth, it’s cheap ($5 before 6 p.m.; $4 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and the impressive, multi-story rooftop neon sign suggests it was the neighborhood movie house in days gone by. Alas, the auditorium has been divided into three narrow screening rooms and the balcony stairs are roped off.
The Highland still is a neighborhood theater, however, in a way that mall multiplexes aren’t. Though a little down at the heels, it attracts local kids, their parents and grannies with its first-run PG and PG-13 studio fare. (Occasionally something off-beat slips in, like the animated, hip-hop version of Little Red Riding Hood we saw there a few years back.)
Though the sound system is now Dolby Digital, the Highland most likely will never go high tech and 3-D and that’s just fine with me. Viewing a movie there takes me back to a simpler time, when Saturday afternoons went on forever and popcorn could be had for a nickel. And that alone is worth the price of admission.