Friday, September 10, 2010

So Long Warner Theater

Last Friday night, Jamie, Brittany Murdock, Curtis Delong and myself traveled downtown to the Warner Theater one last time and saw “The Wild Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.”  I don’t really recommend the movie, but I’ll save that for another blog post.

For seventy nine years, the Warner has been THE theater in downtown Morgantown.  I imagine my brother even saw a movie or two at the Warner when he was in college.  For the last few years it has been the Sunday gathering place for Stonebridge Baptist Church as well as being a great movie theater.

Any time I wanted to see a movie that wasn’t going to make it in the “mainstream” theaters, I could almost always count on the Warner to screen it.  Even movies that had gone through their season in those newer fancier theaters would often times make their way to the Warner.

I think one of the first times I was able to hang out with my good friend Trey Dunham, a group of us went to see a cheap movie at the Warner on a Friday night after a Cru meeting.  On another occasion, another friend encouraged me to go see the movie Pan’s Labyrinth because it was so pregnant with meaning but didn’t make it into the larger theaters.  I even remember watching the movie “Into The Wild” with a group of friends, and being completely caught off guard by some of the more raw scenes depicting the life and times of Christopher McCandless.  I had read the book, and it is one of my favorites, and the movie did an incredible job capturing the journal entries of Christopher and re-telling them on the big screen.  I also remember crying my eyes out as I watched Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris tell the story of Radio.  Great movies all, and many more movies that probably wouldn’t make their way into Morgantown otherwise had a season at the Warner.

I also remember a film festival in which my friends Cameron, Colleen, Karen, Jess, Kyle, Deanna, Meghan, and others produced and entered a film, and Colleen WON!  Such cool community stuff seemed to take place in the Warner.

It’s a shame that the Warner Theater is now closed.  Sunday night was it’s last showing.  Friday night, I bought the last large Cherry Coke that would ever be sold (it was the last large cup they had!).  It offered the people of Morgantown a theater that was part of the downtown life of the city.  If one lived in town, he could walk with a group of friends down to the warner and see a movie for a reasonable price.  The Warner didn’t have the latest sound system or stadium seating, but it had character.  In a nation that is just beyond 200 years in age, it’s not often that we have an opportunity to enjoy something that has age and character.  For the people of Morgantown, until Sunday night, a young person could walk into a theater that maybe their great grandparents visited on a date. 

So long Warner Theater.  Although I’ve lived in Morgantown for a small portion of your existence, I’m grateful for the many memories acquired while watching movies with friends in your historic space.

1 comment:

Nathan & Sarah said...

that's sad, I remember going to the Warner... so many memories!