LOGAN – Back in 1985, Back to the Future (Part 1) probably played at the then-dilapidated Capitol Theatre here in Logan.
But I doubt the original movie was ever presented to a more enthusiastic crowd than the one that greeted that film on Thursday evening at the restored Ellen Eccles Theatre.
Or, for that matter, a more rowdy audience by the time the evening came to a close.
It was the second night of the centennial celebration of the Ellen Eccles Theatre, playing tribute to the years when the “jewel of Cache Valley” served as a movie palace.
Things didn’t go as smoothly as they had the previous evening when the Cache Valley Center for the Arts saluted the theater’s early years as a venue for performing arts, however.
When a technical glitch delayed the start of Thursday’s program, CacheARTS executive director Wendi Hassan demonstrated that she’s an old-school trouper by stepping into a convenient spotlight to entertain the restless crowd with a 10-minute stand-up routine of Ellen Eccles Theatre trivia.
Eventually, the show began with a Looney Tunes cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny vs. Elmer Fudd set to music lifted from the opera “Barber of Seville.”
A brief newsreel followed the cartoon, with vintage film clips from the 1930s through the late 1950s.
Then came Back to the Future.
The film from director Robert Zemeckis starts slow but the Logan audience gradually warmed up to its subtle comedy.
They spontaneously cheered when on-screen underdog Crispin Glover cold-cocked bully Thomas F. Wilson over the delectably supine form of Lea Thompson.
They laughed when Michael J. Fox’s guitar playing was suddenly rejuvenated by his unsuspecting teenage parents finding true love.
They applauded wildly when Fox finally went – well, what else? – back to the future, thanks to a timely bolt of lightning.
Maybe you had to be there.
Back to the Future was a box office success, becoming the highest grossing film of 1985. But the movie got little respect in its initial release.
The film from Universal Studios received multiple award nominations, however, winning an Oscar and numerous prizes for science-fiction script and screenplay.
Over the years, Back to the Future has grown in esteem and is now considered by critics and audiences to be among the best films ever made. In 2007, the Library of Congress selected Back to the Future for preservation by the National Film Registry.
That makes Back to the Future a classic and the Cache Valley audience on Thursday evening sure seemed to agree.
The celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Ellen Eccles Theatre will conclude on Friday, Mar. 31 with a joint performance by celebrated singer-songwriters Marc Cohn and Shawn Colvin.
Best movie of all time!