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The Warwick Won’t Die

July 7, 2011

It never really died, it just sort of faded away… but like a good movie it lingered in the imagination, stirring feelings and emotions. Memories like those uncomfortable chairs, and those thrilling high school dates. The old fashioned candy stand, the smell of movie popcorn. The cramped little booth with Tom McNulty handing out “two adults,” or “six children.” Then suddenly he would be inside shaking your hand and handing you the tickets. Two places at once… only in the Warwick. Some remember the Saturday matinees and being thrown out by Tom’s Dad. Probably well deserved. But still, the Warwick cast a long shadow in the old town’s history. It was a small theatre, but it lived a long time, through many lives, and now… it may live again.

Ejik van Otterloo, one of Marblehead’s wealthest men is developing the old site on Pleasant Street and it appears that he is going to lease 5,000 square feet to the Warwick Theatre Foundation. The plan is for two 100-seat screening rooms and a lobby/projection room. The foundation will be a 501c3 nonprofit organization, unlike most theatres today which are just plain non-profit and struggling.

One hopes in a world of universal entertainment in the palm of everyone’s hands that the nostalgic attraction of a small, dark movie theatre, with a medium size screen, no talking, no pausing the action, and paying twice, or more times, for seeing the same thing together will still be strong enough to attract couples and groups of friends to come and come and come again. It will take a strong regular patronage to keep it profitable, even in a nonprofit sense of the word. A $4.99 download in the comfort of your own home, unlimited “free” drinks and snacks, plenty of joking around and the all-important remote control in your own hands… that’s the competition. Maybe the 196o’s can come back again. Let’s hope so. We were so happy then… true?

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