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Island Cinema 7, 1132 14th Street (Fernandina Beach): 14 November 2014   4 comments

Posted at 11:14 pm in closing

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I'm not sure where the movie theater was originally in Fernandina. I know there was one, at least since the 1920s. My father told me that one of his tasks as a child was to accompany the old lady who was the theater organist to the theater for special early showings so she could see the movie and work out what she was going to play. (I'm not sure what function he performed exactly, or why this would have been a task given to a ten year old). One of the movies he always remembered with disappointment was 1925's "The Phantom Of The Opera" with Lon Cheney in the title role. Disappointment because about 20 minutes into the showing, the organist stood up and said "I've seen enough", and he never got to see the ending, something he regretted for 70 years, although I finally was able to get him a VHS of it in the 1990s if I recall correctly.

For most of my life, or at least for as long as I can recall seeing movies in Fernandina, the movie theater in town was on 14th Street near the new hospital. I know I saw probably at least a dozen movies there over the years, but for some reason the only one that I can specifically recall was a re-release of A Christmas Story with Ralphie shooting his eye out..

On my recent Star Wars pilgrimage, I was surprised and saddened to see the 14th Street theater closed. I found out later that there as a new multiplex out on A1A, complete with BigD large format screen. It appears that both theaters are Carmike properties and that there was an orderly transition, including staff retention from the closing of the old theater and the opening of the new one.

Here's the new complex, in the A1A strip next to the Winn-Dixie:
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UPDATE 2 March 2016: My sister has clarified my opening anecdote somewhat. She informs me that one of my father's older brothers worked for the theater and would run the advance screenings for the music lady. He let my father sit in on those screenings, so it was the older brother's job to help out the music lady, not my father's.

Written by ted on February 28th, 2016

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4 Responses to 'Island Cinema 7, 1132 14th Street (Fernandina Beach): 14 November 2014'

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  1. Ted, did you ever eat at the Doo Wop Diner there next to the theater?

    Joe Shlabotnik

    29 Feb 16 at 7:29 pm

  2. Yes and no. I ate there when it was a red vinyl booth Italian restaurant and thought it could be a hangout of mine, which meant it closed shortly thereafter. Have not tried the Doo-Wop incarnation of the storefront.

    ted

    1 Mar 16 at 12:41 am

  3. Why is the Fandango dude so angry?

    JBL

    1 Mar 16 at 9:48 am

  4. @JBL,

    Well if *you* had a hand suchly placed..

    ted

    2 Mar 16 at 12:17 am

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