From my early days in the Bronx when I use to go to the Loew’s Paradise on the grand concourse where the theatre had moving clouds and stars on the ceiling to the grand dame of all theatres Radio City Music Hall movie going has always been an exciting experience for me. When I moved back to Fort Lauderdale I rediscovered The Gateway Theatre which had been built in the early 1950s.
The first time I was there was in the 1960s when we drove all the way up from Miami Beach---hey it was a long 40 mile drive back then--to see “Where The Boys Are” and we thought of it as spending a day in the country!
I moved back to Fort Lauderdale in 1979 and one of the first movies I went to was at The Gateway Theatre which by now had been remodeled to a 4 screen theatre and I have been going there at least once a week ever since then with very few exceptions. In 1999 I moved into The Gateway Terrace apartments---no connection with theatre--and thankfully, since I haven’t had a car since 2004, I am within walking distance of the theatre.
Their 4 screens always offered varied movies from what was called ‘art’ films to blockbusters, to the latest and best of gay themed films and many exceptional foreign films plus screenings of documentaries such as from Michael Moore. Now other new theatres are starting to offer the ‘odd’ films that once were exclusive to The Gateway but they don’t offer the friendliness, concern and care for the movie goer that this theatre does. From the people behind the concession stand to George K. and Ray there is always a friendly hello and a feeling they have known you forever! And I don’t dispute their claim of “the world’s best popcorn”!
A couple of years ago new owners took over and they have spent a lot of time and money refurbishing the place with new carpets, updated restrooms, new screens with some of the latest technology and just this past month bought new seats with head rests for each of the auditoriums.
They have offered special showings of classic movies in the summertime along with film festivals and fun showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with emphasis on the ‘show’.
They have also filled the place with pictures of classic movie stars, old album covers and on the outside of the theatre a board saluting those who made the film industry what it is today. Now I am just waiting for them to salute the customers who made The Gateway Theatre what it is today!
One of the features has always been their comment board on the left side of the theater where patrons put up cards with about what they thought of the movie they have just seen--and many are fun to read.
By the way did I mention they also have the best popcorn in town?? They have a reward card which can earn you free sodas, movies and that popcorn along with reduced theatre tickets Monday through Thursdays.
Now I am just waiting for them to erect a board listing their most loyal customers!
I always think of The Gateway Movie Theatre as a must see when you come to Fort Lauderdale as whether the movie is good or bad, it is just a fun place to go to.
For the record I am just a customer, don’t own any part of the theatre!
If you are interested in more information about the Gateway Theatre just go to http://classicgateway.com/abou