I liked your article about the Holly renovation. I remember going to movies there back in the '70s. What was the last movie they showed before they shut it down, and when? Also, didn't Jim Belushi have a hand in the fundraising?
— T.C., Eagle Point
Indeed, Jim Belushi did have a hand in raising money for the Holly Theatre, set to start construction on its next restoration phase in June.
In August 2015, Belushi was named as an honorary chairman of the historic theater's restoration project, contributing to the cause by starring in a sold-out benefit blues concert at EdenVale winery with his band, The Sacred Hearts. Our local celebrity also promoted the cause from a convertible at the 2015 Pear Blossom parade.
His work with the theater was also showcased on his DIY Network home-improvement reality show "Building Belushi," which primarily featured the renovation of his house overlooking the Rogue River.
The theater closed rather unceremoniously Oct. 27, 1986, with its last film being the forgotten Wes Craven horror film "Deadly Friend." At the time, the owners cited lack of attendance among other factors. A five-theater multiplex at Rogue Valley Mall had opened at the beginning of that month, giving Medford its second multiplex owned by Cinemark.
Of course, both the Movies 5 and Cinema 4 have gone by the wayside since December 1997, after Cinemark Tinseltown opened.
"Finding the entrance may be tricky for a first-time visitor," we wrote when Tinseltown opened. "It's on the west side, in a courtyard-walkway between the theater complex and the new Circuit City store."
Tinseltown was a big step up for local movie buffs, featuring 15 screens and stadium seating and Sony Dynamic Digital Sound, which meant that a digital sound signal was stored at the edge of the movie film, back before all-digital projectors took over. For '90s movie buffs, it meant you heard some rad whooshing sounds before the show started.
Cinemark closed the Cinema 4 (located where CSL Plasma is now located) immediately after Tinseltown opened. Movies 5 waffled between first- and second-run films before its closure in June 2003 to make room for Linens 'N Things.
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