Remember the old neighborhood theaters? I remember my older brothers dragging me to the Kailua Theater when I was about 4 or 5 years old – to see the 3 Stooges movie. We got there late and sat in the front role. The screen was soo big that I was a bit overwhelmed. In fact, I was pretty scared and asked my brothers to move further back. But they paid no attention to me as they watched the slapstick comedy and munched on Milk Duds and Jujubes. But after a short cry, I adjusted.
After the Kailua Theater was torn down to make way for Motor Supply, Kailua Drive In was built. That’s were we spent most of our Saturday nights. I was mostly in the back seat.
Wait a minute, before you start ragging on me, it was because my father and older brother had the front seat. I had to watch the movie between them and under the rear view mirror. But at least the mosquito punk was burning in the front seat and I didn’t have to breathe in all those fumes.
Then later when Aikahi shopping center was built, the Aikahi Theater came up. I went to a few movies there. As well as the Holiday Theater in the front part of the Kailua Holiday Mart.
But most of my time was spent in the town theaters – especially Liberty Theater on Nuuanu avenue to watch Chinese Kung-Fu movies. Then later at Empress Theater after Liberty Theater was torn down.
Remember Empress Theater?
Who remembers what the name of this theater was before it became Empress Theater?
What ever happened to all those old theaters? A lot of them are still around town – or at least their shell is – although they’re not theaters any more. Remember these?
Some theaters have been torn down and replaced with businesses. Sadly.
Here’s one that I used to pass almost everyday on my way to buying lunch when I was working at The Honolulu Advertiser.
People pass it almost everyday and probably don’t realize that it was a movie house. But just take a few steps back and look at the building – there’s no mistaking that this was a movie house way back in the day.
Can you name this theater?
I remember the old Kaneohe Theater. Been there a few times, but not to see any movies. We used to go there after it turned into a video game parlor and we used to head there to play Space Invaders.
Then there were the Jerry Lewis Twin Theaters in Kaneohe. Anyone remember where those 2, side by side theaters used to be? I remember going there once to see a movie.
Remember the Waikiki 3 Theater?
Weird that it would be named that Waikiki 3 Theater only after the Waikiki 1 and 2 were built. You’d think it would’ve been named the Wakiki 1 Theater or just keep the name of the Waikiki Theater.
Speaking of the Waikiki 1 and 2 Theaters, I remember going there many, many times to see movies. I remember seeing The Exorcist there. I was on a daytime date and they wouldn’t sell me tickets because I was too young (Rated R). So I asked a guy to buy the tickets for me – which he gladly did. Ho, good thing it was on a daytime date. That movie was spooky.
I also remember the Kapahulu Theater. My mom dropped me off there one night so I could see 5 Summer Stories. And I remember seeing it again a few years later at the Aikahi Theater when it made a comeback as 5 Summer Stories Plus 4.
And speaking of surf movies – we went to a ton of them at the Roosevelt Auditorium. Was that place even air conditioned? I don’t think so because I remember at one surf movie, during the intermission, a guy sitting right in the middle of the theater lit up a doobie – and the smoke just went straight up. No one even bothered him either (remember, this was the 70’s).
Remember Toyo Theater? They used to show naughty Japanese movies there (as I used to see in the newspaper ads). And I used to get confused with Toyo and Toho Theater. Now, where was Toho Theater?
What theaters do you remember? Anyone remember the Liliha Theater? What’s in it place now? Any theater memories to share?