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The Student News Site of Burlington High School

BHS Register

The Student News Site of Burlington High School

BHS Register

In Memoriam: Palace 9 Movie Theater

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Staff
A dumpster sits outside the former Palace 9 movie theater.
Penelope deRosset, age 8, posing in front of a poster for Annie 2014, at the Palace 9 Theater (Mary Beth McNulty)

One recent memory I have of Palace 9 is going to see “Ant-Man: Quantumania” on Five Dollar Ticket Tuesday with my sister and cousin. We were dropped off at the theater and then walked to a gas station nearby to invest our snack money wisely. We chose our treats and turned back. 

As we approached the theater, my cousin was nervous. “Are you sure we’re allowed to do this?” he asked. The answer was, of course, no. You’re not supposed to take outside food and drink into a movie theater. But everyone does it, right? 

As it turns out, “everyone” does not include my cousin. He did not relax even an inch as we bought our tickets and took our seats. He even refused a bite of the candy. 

When the end-credits scene was done, my cousin insisted that even with the goods eaten, we should sneak out the back. “They could see our reusable water bottles!”

I barely remember “Quantumania.” It was mediocre and forgettable. What I remember is the experience of spending time with my family. 

This illustrates a larger point. Palace 9, to me, isn’t just a run-down old building. It’s not the overpriced concessions. It’s not the comfy seats, or the Dolby Surround Sound, or the pre-movie trivia. It’s not even about the movies. It’s about the memories.

From “Frozen” to “Oppenheimer”, some of my greatest memories have been made in a movie theater. For birthdays and Christmases, my parents would take me to see movies. “It’s not just an object,” they’d say. “It’s an experience.” These gifts were meaningful because they made memories. A toy, I would lose interest in or break in a month or two. Memories last. 

Palace 9, one of three movie theaters in the Burlington area, is closing this November. The reasons are not surprising: the pandemic hit, the pandemic passed, people stuck to streaming movies from the comfort of their couch. 

In many ways, this feels like I’m losing a part of my childhood. With the theater gone, that part of my life is also gone. But I guess that’s just a part of growing up. The places you used to know change and sometimes vanish entirely. As I move past my childhood, the world also moves past the time of movie theaters. What was once a nationwide pastime and a weekly event for people is now becoming a rarer occasion. After all, why spend the time and money? In the era of streaming, you can watch any movie you want on-demand. 

We can never rewind time, and I will never have known movie theaters in their heyday. I may not be able to go back to my childhood, but at least I have these fond memories with me as I move into the future. 

Theaters, like toys, may be temporary, but memories are forever. 

Text on a TV explains that Palace 9 is closed. (Staff)
Palace 9 lobby in the process of cleaning out items after closing it’s doors for the last time. (Staff)
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Penelope deRosset, Staff Writer
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