Sam Elliott has been an undeniable force in Hollywood for decades, and one of his fondest memories remains the ‘olden days’ of movie theaters.
“I used to go to a place called the Sequoia movie theater,” the western icon began for Sactown magazine. Sactown, of course, is shorthand for Sacramento, California, from which Elliott hails. The town once hosted the Sequoia, a movie theater the actor holds many family memories at.
“I used to go to Saturday matinees a lot with my sister Glenda. The classic films, the serials, Creature from the Black Lagoon—I liked them all,” he reveals.
Yet the Sequoia holds far more significance for the Hollywood stalwart.
For Sam Elliott, “Going to the movies in the olden days was what I think made me want to be an actor. In fact, I’m sure it is. The experience of going into a dark theater and seeing that light come through the old celluloid film, which is what it was in my day, made me want to make people feel something, the same thing I was feeling in the audience,” he reveals.
Indeed, Elliot says he’s “had tunnel vision career-wise ever since.”
And we can’t imagine it ending up any other way. Westerns – and Hollywood at large – are far better for Sam Elliott’s acting career if you ask any Outsider.
Sam Elliott and the Theaters of Youth
The Sequoia isn’t the only movie theater from Sacramento Elliott has fond memories of, either.
“I remember The Crest—I remember the name “The Crest” more than anything else,” he reveals. It was here that the icon many more films, but so long ago that the unique name is what sticks out.
If there’s any doubt that the “olden days” at the movies shaped Sam Elliott, then his further listing of Sacramento theaters will put it to rest.
“I Annie Get Your Gun at the Alhambra Theatre with my parents and my sister,” Elliott adds. “I remember that specifically. It was the big theater in town. There was another one by Tower Drugs, The Tower Theatre. I saw Jailhouse Rock on a rainy, rainy day there one day in the ’50s,” he continues.
It was the Alhambra, however, that Sam Elliott calls “the place” to be. “It was pretty grand. I remember it had a really big front [entrance] and a long walkway—it was incredible.”
As glorious as these memories are for the actor, they’re echoes of a bygone age. Elliott doesn’t see the same magic in today’s theaters – not even close.
“The world we’re in now in the movie game, it’s too bad. They don’t have those movie houses around these days, but going to them was really the ideal way to see anything on film,” he tells Sactown. “I kind of long for those days in some ways. Well, maybe I appreciate them more than I long for them.”