Overdoing it on the downtown theater

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A South Marion Citizen editorial

There are a lot of people who like to go to the movies. We can see the advantage of having a theater downtown in Ocala, where people can participate in the activities on and around the square and take in a show.

The Marion Theater has a group that is trying to revitalize it, and they’re working hard to get it done.

A little while ago it was a “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme timed to match the opening of a film, and it was a rousing success. With pirates “invading” Magnolia Avenue, complete with thunderous roars of a cannon that made you wonder of the old buildings could take the vibrations, the area was turned into an impromptu festival for hundreds of people.

Then a couple of weeks ago came the opening of “Cars 2.” There were some vehicles from the movie and a lot of others planned, but a storm that could only be described as a monsoon swept over the area shortly before the 4 p.m. starting time, and that held the crowd down considerably.

Fast forward to last week and “Transformers.” Again, some rain hit the area just before 4, but this time it wasn’t nearly as devastating as the week before. But when 6 o’clock rolled around for the costume judging, only one entrant could be found.

Let us say that he might have won anyway, because he looked great, but there were no others to compete in the “contest.”

It made us wonder if perhaps the theater people are overdoing it a bit. The novelty wore off after the pirates, and it hasn’t been the same since.

Entertainment was limited in the “old” days. Television was a few fuzzy channels, and even videotapes hadn’t been invented. So the movies was a great way to have fun, but people only went when there was a picture they wanted to see.

Things have changed over the years, and now it’s too easy to get films on DVDs or on cable. So some feel there have to be glitzy shows and attractions to get people to come.

There are, however, just a few things that will draw the people into this theater, just like in the old days – good films, reasonable prices, comfortable seating and convenient free parking. Make sure all that is put together, and you probably will get people to come out.

So keep up trying to get people to the theater, but don’t go wild with the promotions, and certainly, don’t plan too many of them for 4 o’clock on a summer afternoon. At that time you’re either going to get heat or rain, and a lot of people would rather stay home in their air conditioning than fight that battle.