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Hail and farewell to Har-Mar

Posted at 10:45 AM on December 6, 2006 by Euan Kerr (3 Comments)

Har-Mar fades to black

What a surprise to learn that 11 screens at Har-Mar in Roseville will go dark on Friday. Or perhaps not. The new 14 screen AMC Rosedale megaplex up the road opens this weekend, and it sounds as though it will put Har-Mar's boxy utilitarianism to shame.

Built in 1970 Har-Mar has a grand front section with a high-ceilinged foyer which made you feel like you were in for something special. But many of the films I saw there were in the back section where a cattle chute design efficiently guides a patron into the dark labyrinth of sticky-floored cinematic caverns.

As I thought back my biggest memory was of joining a huge throng of people who flooded the front theaters to see the Red Green movie. Steve Smith, the dry Canadian wit who plays Red was there to introduce the show, a reward for fans who had pledged during a KTCA membership drive. There were thousands of people there, all eager to hear about Possum Lodge. I got the last ticket for the 7pm show even as people were lining up for tickets for the 9pm screening. It was amazing. There was huge excitement and Smith got a rapturous reception. He was a little late and as he spoke I realized they were actually showing the film on two screens, such was the interest.

Sadly the movie was pretty bad, struggling to make the jump from the intimacy of a 20 minute studio based show to a 90 minute movie. It was free though so everyone seemed happy as we spilled out into the cold and watched the other folks lining up.

So I am not sad to see Har-Mar go. But I bet there are people out there who are. People's lives change in movie theaters. It might be the movie that does it. More likely it's the people they are with.

Anyone have anything they'd like to share?

Comments (3)

Well, I've seen many a movie at the old Har Mar and I'll miss the front section's rather singular decor. The bathrooms alone have a stunning effect.

Posted by Julia Schrenkler | December 7, 2006 8:11 AM

HarMar is neither bad nor good. The general perception of architects on what will "excite" movie-goers has changed.

Here's what I think.

Now that Roseville's Twin Lakes development is gone, the HarMar theater space can become the CostCo store site that the Roseville city council tried to finesse-clunk through for the last three years.

Put in a 1 story parking ramp though and redesign that parking lot circulation - sheesh - its like it was intended to create accidents.

Posted by Greg H. | December 8, 2006 7:42 AM

I worked at Har Mar when I was in college and then twice later when i was desperate for a second job.

things went downhill once AMC took over. although they did repair the cavernous crack in the floor behind the 4-11's concession stand that was brimming with run-off soda syrup and butter-flavored topping. we used to only pop the popcorn twice a week and then store it in huge yellow bags in a back room, bringing it out and warming it up before serving it, but that practice went out of fashion back in '00.

People had sex in the 4-11 theatres, we used to have to chase homeless people out cause they would try to sleep under the seats. I snuck many, many classmates into High Fidelity.

I used to say my job at Har Mar was my way of breaking into the movie industry and now I'm at film school in LA. So, thanks Har Mar: #1 theatre in America!

Posted by Gabe | December 8, 2006 1:02 PM

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