by Dave Warner

I took my wife to the movies in Little Falls yesterday to see Captain Marvel at Valley Cinema. Two things I’ve been able to do in this marriage – get her hooked on SciFi AND the Marvel series of movies.

But it’s not about that, but the fact that we went to a beautiful movie theater, three minutes from our house and saw an excellent movie, right here in Little Falls. I don’t think many people know how extraordinary the ability to do that is.

Take Amsterdam New York, just 45 minutes east of here and a city that is three times our size. The last year-round theater in all of Montgomery County, the 10-screen Emerald Cinemas in Amsterdam, closed its doors in February.

Amsterdam native and local historian Bob Cudmore, said that his research indicated that the city of Amsterdam had had an active movie theater since 1899, when early silent films were shown.

My point is, that we have many unique things here that MUCH larger towns and even counties in Upstate New York lack. We have a collegiate baseball team, a bowling alley, a quaint main street, a harbor, a movie theater, an art center and on and on. There is something more special about Little Falls that just its location and the river running through it.

Now, some of you already know about the theater, and you go there. This was my first time being there to see a movie though. I had been in the lobby last November to drop off a Christmas in Little Falls commercial for them to run, so I knew that it was pretty nice in there.

But, in this day of on-demand everything right to your living room, it’s important to understand that going to the theater is NOT the same as watching it on your TV, but better. It’s a treat to be able to have that experience. It’s also essential to keep businesses like this alive and well by frequenting them as often as possible.

For those of you who have never gone there, or haven’t gone in a long time, here’s what the experience was like.

The ticket prices were great (we paid $14 together to get in) and the popcorn and drinks were reasonable (another $16). Just thirty dollars for an afternoon date with my wife to see a great movie. On top of that, they were donating $2 from each ticket sold for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease as it is known. A bonus to be able to help out a charity.

The seats were comfortable, the screen is large, and they went through the process a few years back to upgrade their equipment to digital, so it’s as good as it gets when it comes to the image that you will see.

They were running commercials for local area businesses on the screen, and some of them were pretty well done. I even learned some things about several companies that I had seen, but not frequented.

It was the 4 o’clock showing and I thought that the place would be kind of empty, especially since the movie has been out for more than a week and this was a Saturday afternoon. That was not the case, as there was an excellent crowd there. Not too packed, but just right – probably a third of the theater was filled.

It has been a LONG time since I’ve seen an usher (I think that’s what they used to call them in movie theaters) come down to the front and talk to everyone before the show started. He spoke about upcoming movies and gave some little tidbits about each one.  It was fascinating and was helpful when thinking about what to see next.

But then he started to talk about Captain Marvel, that helped set the scene for the beginning of the movie. He even made sure that you knew there were hidden preview scenes two and five minutes into the credits. And you know what? Every single one of us stayed to see what those were.

It was a great movie. We left the theater, the sun was out, snow was blowing in the air, and the wind was cold. We both had to go to the bathroom, but who cared? We were only three minutes from home.