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Thursday, April 14, 2005
The Trials and Tribulations of the Valley Theater
Sometime in February Beaverton's Valley Theater shut its doors. Again.
This isn't the first time the place has kicked the bucket. The Valley is a phoenix among Portland's second run cinemas. Word on the street is that it's already scheduled for another resurrection in the near future.
For lovers of local nostalgia and kistch, that's great news. Together with the ice rink and the bowling alley, the theater was part of a triplex that, for many who grew up in the area in the '70s and '80s, was just about the coolest place in the world, short of the nearest Chuck E. Cheese or Farrell's. As recently as the early '90s, a double feature at the Valley ran a mere $1.50.
Those days are long gone and the Valley closed temporarily sometime around 1997. After a long hiatus, it was reopened by a group of friends that put a lot of love into the place. Classic arcade games fill the lobby. Separate murals cover the corridors leading to the Valley's four theaters. The one on the left leads movie goers past the Helm's Deep scene from The Two Towers. A starscape filled with Tie Fighters covers the walls of the right corridor. A sneering Golemn wards off anyone attempting to access a supply closet. In the men's bathroom, an angry Chewbacca perpetually screams at anyone who dares use the urinals.
In recent years the owners cut back to single shows and up'ed the price to a more realistic $3.00. Instead of showing whatever second run movies came down the pipeline though, they occasionally mixed things up with classics. In January, they brought every movie in the Indiana Jones series to the big screen. Last October, the actor who played Leatherface in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre made an appearence.
Recently, the Valley's marquee, which has displayed the same lineup for weeks now, has been hit by vandals. Try as they might have, they couldn't come up with a clever riff on "Spongebob: The Movie." The sign now advertises "El Spongebobo." Here's hoping that the Valley will indeed rise from the grave, if only to allow more clever vandals a chance to screw with the titles of kid's movies.