Nickelodeon: Q & A

A few questions with Lisle Herbert, majority owner and operator of The Gold Town Nickelodeon

Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2004

Q: Why was the price for a ticket recently raised from $8 to $9?

A: "If we're going to show small films, and if we don't get big films, which we definitely try to do, then we should make more money on small films to justify this. For a town this small, it's a luxury to have a theater that shows the kind of movies we show. I'm hoping people who want to see something that they'd normally have to go to Seattle or a big city to see will come to the Nickelodeon and not complain about paying an extra dollar. I was down in Seattle recently. We went to see a movie at an old theater in the U-District, and it was $9. The concessions were three or four times what we charge."

Q: Why is there a reel break during most films?

A: "We built this theater to show a half-hour long film. The top projector is close enough to the ceiling so that in order to show hour-long reels I had to cut a hole in the ceiling so the wheel could turn. Most movies, I have to show an hour, then I'll put on another reel. Most theaters use a horizontal platter system. If I was in a good financial situation, I could buy one of those and set it up and have the film spliced together so it wouldn't break in the middle."

Q: Have you ever considered midnight movies?

A: "I don't think there's a big enough audience for that. Maybe with 'Rocky Horror Picture Show.' Maybe people (in their 20s) that are partying a lot may want to do something like that. But a lot of our audience is anywhere from (people in their 20s) to people in their 70s. That's one of the cool things about it. We get people who don't normally go to movies. People who have gotten sick of movies, because movies are so stupid.

We get people who love movies but don't want to keep having their intelligence assaulted and feel like they have to take a bath when they get out of the theater. One of the things I like the best is when these old folks come in."

Q: Have you considered showing more classics?

A: "I'd like to start doing that again. I'm kind of concerned about the cash flow. I don't want to take any other chances.

"The thing with classics is that people can get them on video. A few years ago we had this American film classic series with 'On The Waterfront,' 'Night of the Hunter,' 'Palm Beach Story' and 'Greed.' It was so wonderful to see them again on the big screen. I'd like to do that again if I could, but the question is, do I just want to have Lisle's little screening room, or do I want a theater? I would have a classic every month if it were up to me, and maybe I will if we make enough money where I could risk that. But we showed Charlie Chaplin's 'Modern Times' and Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis.' Unless you lived in the 1920s, people have never seen either of those films. We did poorly on that."

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