Grandpa always said that Paradise was the place where dreams could come true. He told me that it was the place where you could visit any place in the world, or even beyond. He insisted that, in Paradise, I was only limited by my imagination.
The Paradise Theater was a magical place when I was a kid. But now I’m an adult. Grandpa isn’t here anymore. Since he passed away six months ago, the Paradise Theater has been officially mine. And so are its problems.
As an adult in Paradise, I’m not longer limited by my imagination. I’m limited by money. Rather, I’m limited by a lack of it.
Some of my earliest memories in life take place within the walls of the Paradise. I remember the theater being filled to capacity night after night. I remember watching Grandpa as he ran the projector. I remember sitting on his shoulders as he stood in the dark while a classic movie played on the big screen.
The Paradise has been on the decline for a lot of years. After all, I only have one screen. It’s hard to compete with the multiplex at the mall with 18 screens and digital projectors. I’m still showing movies on celluloid. Kind of makes it hard to make money when every new movie comes out in 3D.
So I’m thinking it’s time to change. As of today, I’ve closed down the Paradise Theater. We aren’t closing permanently. Hopefully that will allow my five employees to breathe a sigh of relief. But we will be closing to rethink how we do things.
The first step will be to remodel. The look of the lobby has not been updated since 1987. For the record, that was before I was born. 1987 was when Grandpa first began running the place. That’s when he decided the Paradise needed a new look. Once he finished his remodel, he reopened just in time for the 50th anniversary. I figure I can do the same thing in time for the 80th anniversary of the Paradise.
As part of the remodel, the lobby won’t just be a lobby. We won’t just have a concessions stand with popcorn and Jujubes. We’re gonna have a full service coffee shop. Tables, chairs, live music when the occasion calls for it.
Finally, to complete the retro feel of our historic landmark of a theater, the Paradise will show only classic movies. Why should I show the new movies that can be seen in much higher quality for twice the price across town? No, the Paradise Theater will feature old movies that probably have not been seen on the big screen in many years. Admit it, wouldn’t you like to feel like a kid again, seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark in a dark theater?
So be sure to come back to the Paradise this January for our grand reopening for our 80th anniversary celebration. You’ll be able to come out and enjoy coffee, pastries, and a local band, yet to be determined. And then you can stick around for our first double feature: the 1937 classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (the first film ever shown at the Paradise) and 1987’s The Princess Bride (the first film shown after Grandpa’s original remodel). It’s gonna be a great night to celebrate the Paradise Theater’s past as we look to the future.