599 South Collier Boulevard, Suite 103, Marco
During a seasonal winter break, in the late 1800s, Thomas Edison in his home in Fort Myers experimented with film cameras and was soon famous for entertaining friends with Kinetoscopes, which were individual viewing machines.
Anyone lucky enough to be invited to a dinner party at the Edison home just might have had a brief preview of the most popular entertainment genre of the upcoming 20 century.
When the very first movie theater opened in Los Angeles in 1902, the earliest featured film showed black and white moving images of a blizzard in New York. The original California theater was a circus tent and the label on the outdoor marquee simply invited everyone into the “Electric Theater.”
In 1905 multiple mini-theaters sprang up featuring black and white silent movies — they were called movies because the pictures moved — but the longest of the films was only about 15 minutes. Because the projector in the middle of the makeshift theaters was loud and cranky, live piano players were provided to cover the noise and sometimes silence when the projector broke down. With the addition of an upright movie theater, piano music added to entertainment equation. The admission for the fast running movies was five cents and by 1907, over 2 million Americans had experienced a Nickelodeon.
In the beginning, food and drink were not allowed in Nickelodeons because in the time wasted to clean a theater, an entire performance could be completed. During the height of Nickelodeon popularity performing pianists often collapsed at their keyboards with shear exhaustion.
In the pressingly popular “Electric Theaters,” there was time for cleaning in between showings and soon “popped culture” began to appear as popcorn venders gathered outside theaters with portable roasting machines.
After popcorn, came candy and soft drinks, but in the Second World War sugar was rationed and candy was out of favor. Because of its inexpensive and plentiful nature, popcorn was endorsed by the War Department and returned with a flourish.
Popcorn today is still the number one American movie theater concession, but at the Marco Movies in the Marco Walk, the “Electric Theater” of Marco Island now offers more than most in a family owned theater.
A theater that features not only first-run major classics from Holley wood, but also offers a complete dinner or lunch menu alongside traditional movie theater popcorn.
Just as in the past, there is something special about going to a movie on a Saturday afternoon. With the culinary adventuress in tow and anxious to watch “The Bucket List” with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, we set out to enjoy a time honored tradition of a Saturday matinee. We were also excited and anxious for lunch at the Marco Movies.
After a warm family style welcome by Nick, Maggie, and Jon, we were impressed when Maggie began taking our food and drink orders on a hand held palm pilot that electronically sent our drink and food selections straight to the Marco Movie kitchen.
Even before the previews started we were well looked after as Maggie ushered out the treats. I chose the personal size New Yorker pizza for $9.50 and Buffalo-style chicken fingers for $7.95. The pizza was great and the buffalo chicken fingers, awesome.
Vicki Lynn decided on the Marco Movies healthy choice selection of the grilled chicken breast with a chopped spinach, feta and tomato coating, served with freshly made cucumber, tomato, and green onion salad for $12.50. Vicki Lynn is a picky eater but she proclaimed the grilled chicken breast with accouterments and green onion salad to be, “outstanding.”
When most first time visitors come to Marco Island, they are amazed by the Marco Movies.
“You mean you can actually eat a meal in a movie theater and have beer or wine?” is the most frequent and astonished query. Followed by, “How does that work?”
For me, the explanation is simple. Just imagine a multi-tiered theater but instead of rigid rows of chairs jammed together, there are widely spaced tables with comfortable chairs that actually lean back. On an upper tier, there is a horseshoe-shaped bar and chairs facing the screen, and serving throughout the film are attentive servers that bring anything from charbroiled hot dogs to nachos, to baked tilapia, to fried shrimp and calms, to fresh grouper straight from the gulf. The menu is so diverse the logistics challenge the imagination. Our compliments to Nick, Maggie, and the whole Marco Movies crew.
Quite simply the Marco Movies is a very comfortable and clean multi-movie theater with four separate first-run films playing simultaneously, and a restaurant with an amazing food and drink menu that would shame the average sport’s bar.
Bottled beer and wine are served throughout the films, and The Marco Movies is open seven days a week from 2:30 p.m. until the last of the evening films finishes. Marco Movies is always open at 12:00 noon on holidays and for special events. For movie schedules and special information call 642-1111 or visit www.marcomovies.com
For an afternoon or an evening where the entertainment is “On the Menu,” and “On the Screen,” join Nick, Maggie, Jon, and all the crew down at the Marco Walk and the Marco Movies!
For great movies, great food, and a cutting edge technology that combines eating and “Electric Theater” entertainment in one incredible, edible, package... Marco Movies!
Tom Williams writing has been published in Amsco School Publications; he is a local sailboat Captain and Marriott associate for 28 years. His debut action adventure novel is now under contract and will be published by ArcheBooks in the upcoming year. Tom is available at firstname.lastname@example.org