The Royal

Here’s a photo of The Royal Theatre. I think it’s on College Street in Little Italy, but I could be mistaken. When I was a kid we had the Fox Theatre in our neighbourhood. It had one of those grand old marquees with all the lights and such that overhand the sidewalk. Very majestic, especially to a kid. Then one day is was gone — replaced by a boring billboard style sign. I suppose with the ongoing cost of upkeep it made sense to replace it. I was around 15 years old by then. I remember even at that young age thinking what a tragedy it was that the community didn’t get together and try to save it with a fundraisers or something. Seems like an odd thing to ponder at 15, I don’t know. I saw my first movie (without my folks) at the Fox. I was around 11 years old or so. It was the Omega Man, with Charleston Heston, based on the Richard Matheson book “I Am Legend.” You might recall the Will Smith remake a few years back. The original’s very dated but I remember at the time being blown away by the concept of a world without humans. The next great movie for my young mind was “Planet of the Apes, based on a 1963 french book by Pierre Boulle. That one just blew my mind. Poseidon Adventure and Jaws are also high on my list of incredible movies of their day. My all time favourite of that era is actually a three-way tie between Bladerunner, Aliens and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I’d say they don’t make ’em like they used to, but they still do, actually. Anyway, it’s a shame those old neighbourhood theatres with the lovely marquees have, for the most part, gone the way of the dodo.

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