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Hollywood stars to shine once again at Manos Theater

by James Fisher

REGIONAL WRITER

GRAFTON -- The news spread across Grafton like wildfire.

After five long years, the Manos Theater will once again be filled with the sounds and smells of the movie industry.

"I think it's wonderful," said Grafton resident Gwen Basford. "It's a cheap way to entertain the kids and spend some quality family time together."

The Manos Theater, once a staple of Saturday matinees, was closed in the mid 1990s. New owner Nelson Nelder hopes to reopen the doors within the next few weeks.

"There's still a couple of snags, but we're hoping to be showing movies in the next couple of weeks," Nelder said. "We're still waiting on the film companies and we needed to have a health inspection."

The Manos may be something of a novelty to the younger generation -- a theater that only shows one movie at a time. In this rush-rush world of fast food drive-thrus and antiseptic movie multiplexes, the day of the single movie theater has almost passed.

But Nelder, and many others in Grafton, reminisce about the days before the creation of the multiplex.

"I think a community theater is a good way to put it," said Grafton resident Jim Morgan. "Not only is there a movie screen, but there is a stage there and when I was a boy, you could not only go see a movie but there were plays and skits and other things there."

Morgan said reopening the Manos Theater recalls the days of families actually spending time together.

"This will be not only a place for the kids to go to congregate in a safe atmosphere close to home, but also a place for parents to take their younger children, which will be a good thing," he said.

Nelder said he and his family have been working on renovating the theater for some time and he has been encouraged by the positive response from town residents.

Nelder said he wants to be able to show current releases, although if public reaction shows a preference for more of a niche market, he is willing to go in that direction.

Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at jfisher@exponent-telegram.com.

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