|Since no full photo of the Southgate seems to exist, this is a rendering by the author as he remembers it from the mid-to-late 1970s.
The Southgate Quad Cinema opened in Milwaukie, Oregon in 1973. Boxy, puke colored and located off an expressway in the middle of an industrial area, it wasn't much to look at. But since it was mere minutes from my house (10 by car, 30 by bike), the Southgate is where I saw many of the films I grew up with (and remain personal favorites), including The Towering Inferno, Jaws, The Omen, Three Days of the Condor, Sorcerer, Black Sunday, Prophecy, The Gumball Rally, countless B-movies and the re-release of Star Wars.
My last visit was to see Star Trek: Insurrection in 1998. By then, the Southgate was weathered, run-down and archaic compared to the multiplexes that had sprung up all over town. It finally closed for good a few years later and was unceremoniously demolished shortly after…another childhood haunt now gone and forgotten. Except by me, of course. The Southgate was where I went on my first-ever date, mastered the art of theater-hopping and made movies a major part of my life. Theaters these days are bigger, louder and more comfortable, but sometimes I still miss that old place.