During the Depression, movie houses were havens of escapism from the grim realities outside-a dreamlike vacation for a pittance. They would even have cool things like entertainment and promotional give-aways to drum up business. You caught the double feature, got a little soft shoe and walked out with a stoneware set.
Nowadays, you can pretty much rely on getting none of these things from the mundane and ugly movieplex and have them light your wallet on fire. Fortunately, there still a few old movie houses left to save the day.
Take the venerable, mammoth Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland. Not only, does this deco jewel still glitter above the shores of Lake Merritt, but just like the old days, they have decided to reward their patrons’ loyalty by throwing in the popcorn for free on Tuesdays. No stage show, but they still got an organist wailing away on the Mighty Wurlitzer.
In the eighties, like other old houses (sad, sad forgotten Alexandria!) they added more screens, so you have just as much options as those blah concrete boxes. What’s more, the guys that run the place are socially conscious and do things like encourage people to vote and get involved by putting it on their marquee. So you can feel good about giving them your money instead of creepy Cinemark’s Century or others of the ilk.
Grand Lake Theatre
3200 Grand Avenue
$7 Seniors/ Kids