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Movies provide holiday dessert

December 25, 2000

Movies provide holiday dessert



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


As might be expected on Christmas Day, the Valley Mall parking lot was empty Monday.

Except for one place.

Outside the RC Theaters, the lot still looked like it was the day before Christmas, jammed with vehicles dispensing their human cargo, the people bundled up and bustling out of the frigid winter air into the inviting warmth of the building.

And the people did not have the frenzied look of last-minute shoppers. Instead, they strolled casually through the lobby of the theater, often in couples, sometimes with children in tow.

"Today is just a good day to kick back and do whatever," said Deedee Platter, 33, Smithsburg, who had just seen "The Grinch" with her 6-year-old daughter Alicia. "I just promised her I would take her to see this and today seemed like a good day."

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Alicia shyly pronounced the movie to her satisfaction.

"Everything" she whispered to her mother when asked what she liked about it.

"The Grinch" been the hottest movie since it debuted around Thanksgiving, said Assistant Manager Mark Poor, 35, Hagerstown, supervising a crew of about 15 young people whose black and white uniforms were topped with red Santa hats. He's worked for theaters for 10 years and has worked Christmas Day for eight of those years, he said.

People have several reasons to visit the theater on Christmas, he said.

"You want to get away a little bit or maybe you got the gift certificates for Christmas and you want to use them, or maybe it's a few hours until dinner and you want something to do," he said.

Edwina Nesiba, 37, Hagerstown was coming to see this weekend's most popular movie, "Cast Away," with her son, Jasper Morse, 19, who is away at school in Denton,Texas, and surprised her with Christmas visit home.

"We like to see movies together - it's kind of a tradition," said Morse.

"It's something we like to do together," added his mother, who said it is a relaxing way to spend time with her son. "Holidays are a good time for that."

"Cast Away" got two thumbs up from Steve Johnson, 48, and his son Andrew, 13, both of Chambersburg.

"I liked it because it showed how hard it would be to survive for four years without anything," said Andrew.

His father gave the most common answer for coming to the theater on Christmas: "It's something to do." He added: "It's good to spend some time like this with family."

Another mother and son walked out of the "All The Pretty Horses," and both said it was "very good."

"There's just the two of us," said John Knepp, 50, of San Jose, Calif., visiting his mother, Helen Knepp, 87, Hagerstown.

"Miss Congeniality," which also opened this weekend, drew the attention of Tracy Sylvestre, 39, Falling Waters, W.V. She gave it seven on a scale of 1-10.

"I don't celebrate Christmas so it's just another day to me," she said. She was waiting for the rest of her family to finish with "Cast Away."

Poor said the day started out slowly, but was picking up. He expected about 1,500-2,000 movie-goers. A normal Saturday would draw 4,000-5,000, he said.

Like their customers, the teenage helpers were relaxed as well, playing video games, bouncing a ball and enjoying each other's company while waiting for the next rush.

"This is a pretty fun place to work," said Scott Cromer, 16, Hagerstown. "I really don't mind working today."

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