A few events have had me thinking, recently, about the Senator Theatre more than I had in some time. The Senator, on York Rd in Govans, is a matter of feet from where I grew up. I was raised on Rosebank Ave, the street that runs along the South side of the theatre, and spent many afternoons and evenings walking to movies at the Senator. Disregarding the convenience of a 1 minute walk to the theatre, The Senator has always been my first choice of film venues. The 40 foot screen is far more vast than any other theatre I’ve been to making it an ideal place to watch modern first-run movies with wild effects and brilliant shots from high-tech cameras.
It’s been four months since the Senator stopped playing newly released films and I’ve been living in Federal Hill for the past 8 months so I hadn’t really noticed the theatre’s absence until last week. As an avid Netflix subscriber I hardly venture out to see movies in theatres anymore; mainly a matter of price and indifference toward a majority of movies released recently. There are movies, however, that when released I know I have to see on the big screen to get the full effect; movies like The Dark Knight, The Bourne trilogy, Star Trek, and, of course, Harry Potter. It wasn’t until making plans with friends to see The Half Blood Prince last week that I realized this would be the first Harry Potter movie I wouldn’t be seeing for the first time at the Senator. I’ve seen each of the previous 5 movies at the Senator and was sad to see this streak come to an end. We ended up at the Landmark Theatre in Harbor East, which I’m a huge fan of, but it wasn’t the same as sitting in the auditorium at the Senator. The screen paled in comparison and didn’t seem to engage me as much as it had for previous Harry Potter movies.
Earlier today the Senator was in the news again as an auction was held for the property. Baltimore city, which had been controlling the theatre for months, retained ownership for $810,000. The city is hoping that the theatre can “can be run as a community arts theater, showing films and also being used to stage live productions.” While this might be progress as far as some are concerned, the Senator Theatre (being used as the city intends) will be but a shell of it’s former self. As much as I enjoyed the 6th installment of the Harry Potter series, and will enjoy countless movies in the future, I couldn’t help but think to myself ‘I wish I could have seen this at the Senator.’