Woodward, Okla. —
Friday afternoons my Grandmother would pick my older brother and myself up from school and we would spend the evening in the old Ritz Theatre in my hometown.
The atmosphere in the Ritz was different from the busy multiplexes of today. There was only one screen in the theater. The auditorium was dark with a sense of anticipation. Everyone was in their seats before the opening cartoon and very few left once the movie started. The concession area was quiet and subdued.
It was an era of the cinema that has missed today's young generation.
That is all about to change.
The Woodward Arts Theatre and Josie Adams Culture Centre is bringing that era back to Woodward. After several months of preparation, movies will once again be shown at the Woodward Arts Theatre for the first time since the late 1970s.
"Retro movie showing is very popular in metro areas and in old theaters," Charlie Burns, arts theater director, said. "We (the Arts Council) feel that there is a demographic in Woodward interested in this undertaking. There is something special about the connection we make with certain movies. Our first trip to the theater, movies seen with family, our first date.
"The cinema experience itself cannot be re-created in one's living room. This event will also offer another form of family entertainment for Woodward and the surrounding communities."
Saturday, March 8, will be the premier showing with The Sound of Music at 3 p.m. and Raiders of the Lost Ark at 7 p.m.
Tickets are sold at the door and there will be concessions with popcorn, selected candies, and bottled water only.
Saturday's showing is sort of an experiment to see if there is interest in this type of entertainment in Woodward, Burns noted.
The plans are to start offering different themes or programs based on the time of year, holidays, etc. Burns said there is no set roster of movies at this time and the theatre council will rely on interest, requests, and the ability to get rights to show the movie from the movie companies.
Black and white movies, classic action stories, movies with a cult following, any movie of interest that this generation missed on the big screen will be shown if possible, Burns said.
"We hope that people will join us in the hope of reliving favorite memories and bring family and friends to make new memories," Burns said.
Go on line to woodwardartstheatre.com for information on up-coming movies or call Woodward Arts Theatre at 580-256-7120.