The demolition of the former Showcase Cinemas complex to make way for an Amazon warehouse marks the end of an era for long-time local residents.
Regular readers of our through the years column will note that it was 40 years ago this week that ground was broken for the original Showcase multiplex.
Over the years, Showcase expanded its screens, from the original eight screens to 20 screens in the early 2000s, wIth a total capacity of more than 4000 patrons, making it among the largest movie theater complexes in New England.
For Revere residents of a certain age, the Showcase Cinema complex was a place to gather and watch movies with friends, dates, and family. We have no doubt that there is barely one resident of our city who at some time did not catch a movie at the Showcase complex.
But for older residents, the memories go back even further. The site originally was the location of the Revere Drive-In Theatre, which opened in 1948 and was one of the first drive-ins in this region.
The company that operated the drive-in theatre was owned by the Redstone family, which went into business in 1936, operating a small chain of movie theaters in the Boston area.
Ultimately, Sumner Redstone, the son of the founder, catapulted his family’s theatre-chain business, National Amusements, into the stratosphere of the entertainment industry world-wide when he bought entertainment giants Viacom, Paramount Pictures, and CBS.
Despite all of the corporate turmoil that ensued in the aftermath of these purchases and among the Redstone family, the local cinema complex remained a steady force in Revere, providing entertainment for generations of residents from Revere and surrounding communities.
Although the Revere Showcase complex survived the changes in the movie business and consumer habits, it proved no match for the COVID-19 pandemic, shutting its doors in early 2020 and never reopening.
We include the movie listings each week in our through the years column because movies uniquely can bring us back to a certain time and place in our lives, resurrecting long-forgotten and fond memories. Reading those long-ago movie listings each week reminds us of specific occasions, such as when our father would take the crew to see a war movie, or when we saw a film with a group of friends, or with our dates, and then with our spouses, and later with our own children.
We know we join with all of our fellow residents in bidding a sad farewell to the movie theater at Copeland Circle, where Squire Rd. and Route 1 meet, that entertained us so well for 72 years, and in expressing the thought, “Thanks for the memories.”