Hunt’s Theater

Evil Chicken laments that the Wildwood movie theater he first saw Star Wars in is now a condominium:

I mean really – condos? The theater closed in the late eighties and became a “Laser Tag” arena where players would run around shooting each other while people played sniper shooting at the players from the sidelines. The summer tourist attraction was originally located close to the “Jack Rabbit” roller coaster and “Dracula’s Castle”, both of which are now gone – just like the theater.

I know that theater well. It is where I saw Rocky II. I was thirteen, I think, and it wasn’t playing in Cape May. One had to go to the metropolis of Wildwood in order to see the big movie that summer. The only way to get there was a parent driving and my folks eschewed the tourist attractions, particularly during the height of the season. Yet, their little boy really wanted to see the hot movie.

My dad came to the rescue. Foreshadowing a later event, Dad drove me to Wildwood that busy night. I suspect he went to play bridge afterward, but frankly do not recall. He was in a wheelchair and avoided movie theaters, particularly at that time. I recall him pulling up and me jumping out. I paid and entered alone. Dear reader, it was 1979 . . . times were different.

The trailers were playing. Woody Woodpecker may have even been on as I recall cartoons before the movies. Anyhow, the theater was packed, the lights were out, and I had just come in from the bright sunny resort. Being blind, an usher escorted me down. He had a little flashlight. He took me pretty far up. He motioned to one particular aisle and said there was an empty seat in the middle.

The opening of the movie was on, folks were geared up, and I was trying to find this seat. I couldn’t see a thing! I sat on at least one person’s lap. I eventually found my seat and refused to leave for fear of never finding my way back.

I was a boy in the shadows of Philadelphia. I was the target audience for Rocky. What a rush!

How I got home, is all lost at this point. Dad probably picked me up. He made certain his little boy got to see the movie he really wanted to. That’s how Dad was.

Evil Chicken mentioned the nearby Dracula’s Castle. This was always in the shadow of the much better Brigatine Castle, but fun nonetheless. I have fond memories of the castle. Later, I even knew a couple folks who worked it. Anyhow, I too recently drove by this area. It’s neat seeing the boards getting ready for the season. So many memories . . .

As for Star Wars, I had a much different experience than most. Released in 1977, I did not attend. I am not a science fiction fan, and despite the hoopla, I had no interest in seeing this movie. The movie was re-released a year-and-a-half later. It was then that I saw it in a theater (Beach Theater, Cape May). I was most impressed. It really was a good movie.

Despite enjoying it and having seen the other two originals, I never made it through the “new” prequels. I tried. I even like Natalie Portman. I just couldn’t make it through. I still don’t like science fiction much.

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2 thoughts on “Hunt’s Theater”

  1. Ah, what memories. I can fully recall three of us going to the theater on opening night for Rocky, the original in 1976. None of us really expected it to be that good, but I can remember my friend’s brother and I both embarrassing my friend to no end, when Rocky knocked Apollo Creed down in their title fight and we both stood up and cheered like we were in a real arena watching a heavy weight boxing matchup. And we were not the only ones who did something like that. I was 18 at the time.

  2. I have since gotten into Star Wars. Fritz was fanatical about the series and I went through the entire catalog a few times with him. I even tried to read some of the books. It still isn’t me, but watching the movies with your son is tops!

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