I was leaving McDonald’s this morning (Oatmeal and black coffee. I’m trying.) when I noticed the sign showing the closing of the UA Cinema Six in Conway.
The place had to be over 35 years old.
I suspected the old place might close down when the new theater in Conway opened. The new Cinemark with stadium seating, fat-boy chairs (yes!), digital projection, and floors that have not gotten sticky yet. I guess it was just a matter of time. Movie goers, me included, started going to Little Rock to see movies. The Rave and the Chenal IMAX were just a much better place to watch a show.
And as long as the old Cinemark was just as run down as the UA Cinema Six, they could both survive on the “I ain’t driving that far to see a movie” crowd in Conway. But once Cinemark rebuilt with a state-of-the-art place, it was all over for the old UA Cinema Six.
I saw lots of great movies at the UA Cinema Six . Real blockbusters. I saw Jaws, all three Star Wars, and Raiders Of The Lost Ark there. I saw Jason and Freddy Krueger make teen cutlets there. Godzilla stomped Tokyo there. Sinbad made voyages there.
Basically, if it came out bewteen 1975 – 1985, The UA Cinema Six is probably where I saw it.
But the thing I recall most is how that old movie theater was the social gathering place on Friday night during my middle school and Jr. High years (ie…before getting a driver’s license).
A typical Friday night at the UA Cinema Six circa 1979-82:
Our parents would drop us off at around 6:15. The usual suspects in our group were Me, Chris Curtis, Mike Feehan, Mike Clegg, Mark Clegg, and Eric Nay. One of us might be there with some little gal, but the core group was pretty consistant.
It seemed like every other kid from school was there as well. Lots of them. It was THE place to be for the young teen set on a non-football Friday night.
We might spend a little while in Wal-Mart poking around or we would head into Dr. Gonzo’s. (Head! Dr. Gonzo’s. I’m onnaroll! Man. Remember that sandlewood smell in Gonzo’s?)
About five minutes before the start time of the movie, we would buy our tickets and head to our seats. (Could NOT be late for the trailers!) There were two screens back then, and they were layed out the same. In each one, our ‘assigned seats’ were about midway down on the right side. One of our group even carved their initials in the wooden arm on one of the chairs. (I’m looking at you Clegg. Not saying which Clegg, but I am looking at you brother!)
After the movie, we would head over to McDonald’s and spend an hour or so there until our folks would pick us up at 10:00.
Lots of memories. Good memories.