O ne of the benefits -- maybe the only benefit -- of being a well-seasoned (as in older) York countian is that I can recall things other people aren't old enough to remember.
If anyone remembers, for example, that the York Little Theatre on Belmont Street once was a movie theater, it's only because they're 65 or older.
But it's true.
In 1956, for example, Michael Redgrave starred in a film titled, "The Night My Number Came Up," at the Elmwood, which is what the York Little Theatre was called back in those days.
And if you are old enough to remember the Elmwood, you also would be old enough to recall that once upon a time, there were at least five movie theaters operating in York City -- all at the same time.
Hey, I saw movies in every one of them. Numerous times.
There were the Strand and the Capitol theaters, of course. Sixty years ago, they sat exactly where they sit today, on the corner of North George and West Philadelphia streets in downtown York.
I don't recall precisely which theater "Dr. Zhivago" appeared in -- it would have been in 1965 -- but the Strand or Capitol was packed that Saturday afternoon, and I ended up watching it from the very first row with my head tilted back at a 90-degree angle.
It was a long movie -- about 31/2 hours -- and by the time I got out of the theater, I couldn't move my head or neck. I would have been about 15 years old at the time, thank goodness, because if it happened to me today, I'd probably be paralyzed. There was a lesson to be learned there, and I learned it.
But there were three other movie theaters operating in York City in those years -- the Hiway Theater, the Southern Theater and the Holiday Theater, on the city's western, southern and eastern ends, respectively.
By the 1970s, they were all gone. The changing face of the business environment in downtown York, and the race riots in 1969, did the movie theaters in.
And except for the occasional vintage film shown at the Strand-Capitol and the cheap movies shown for a year or so at the refurbished Southern Theater before it was converted to a church, York City has pretty much been movie-less ever since.
I always thought that was a pity.
Then, last Friday, a story in The York Dispatch revealed that the York Redevelopment Authority approved the sale of a lot in the Northwest Triangle for about $50,000, to be used as the site of a movie theater complex.
I say "complex" because there will apparently be two screens on the parcel, to be located on the west side of North Beaver Street, between North Street and the Codorus Creek.
And those two screens, according to the project developer Penn Ketchum, will be the largest in York County.
Ketchum already owns theaters in Lititz, Lancaster County, and Wilmington, Del. He said the York City theaters will be open to the public sometime in 2014.
Hey, I wish him the best.
For one thing, the new movie theaters will be more or less in the same end of town as the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, the Sovereign Bank baseball stadium, Central Market and a host of restaurants and art centers.
"I think our project will help reinforce the viability of that whole swath of land and will generate some interest and some excitement and ... will bring some attention to the value of that area," Ketchum said.
It's a good fit.
There's no reason this shouldn't be well received by the public.
As someone who sees 100 movies a year, I can't wait.
Besides, York City once had as many movie theaters as the rest of York County combined. Then it had none.
So if it's finally back in the movie business, that's a good thing for York City.
Columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. E-mail: lhick firstname.lastname@example.org.