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Topic: Once More into the Past! Post Reply | Post New Topic
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 128959
Posted: 22 September 2022 at 4:41pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Random googling lead me to this image, yesterday:

The Sahara was a movie theater where I saw many a show--mostly Saturday matinees--when I was a kid in Edmonton, living in the Bel Air apartments.

That's one of the Bel Air blocks in the background, tho based on the movies playing at the Sahara, this was a few years before I moved into that one. The Sahara was not a first-run theater, so this picture probably dates from around 1960, four years earlier. And, yes, the Sahara did have an "Arabian" motif in the lobby.

It was torn down in 1973.

The kitchen window of the apartment I lived it is just peeking around the roof of the Sahara's attached restaurant. These were my last years in Edmonton. We moved to Calgary in 1966.

Don't you feel your lives are enriched by knowing this stuff?

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Mark Haslett
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 19 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5642
Posted: 22 September 2022 at 5:02pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Do you recognize “Sahara” inspired architecture in your “set designs?”

It looks like a place that, especially given that it’s a movie theater, could
have taken deep-root in MY young subconscious!
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Michael Penn
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 12 April 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 11847
Posted: 22 September 2022 at 5:15pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

SEPARATE TABLES is a real John Byrne type movie.

(I've never seen KINGS GO FORTH.)

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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 128959
Posted: 22 September 2022 at 5:27pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

What set me on this latest cyber-wandering was a brief resurgence of a minor fascination that has followed me much of my life.

That complex of apartments, the Bel Air, was new when we moved in, in 1954 (the “owner’s manuals” were still in the refrigerator and oven) and over the next twelve years we bounced thru three of the many blocks, as well as returning to England for a couple of years before “settling” back in Edmonton.

This nomadic life made me much aware that others had lived and would live in the same apartments and houses. Other kids would have their bedrooms where I had. It was a sometimes strange sensation, with my hyperactive imagination, to think of those “ghosts” moving thru the same space thru which I moved.

(One key exception was the house we moved into in 1961. That was brand new, built at my parents order.)

Sometimes, in later years, I would wonder if any of my old spaces were occupied by kids who might be buying my comics as I had bought Marvel and DC.

As to the Sahara influencing my art—I would not be at all surprised if that faux Egyptian lobby had crept, in part, into some of my drawings. Unconsciously, anyway.

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Ron Grant
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 18 December 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 227
Posted: 22 September 2022 at 5:50pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Hi John I thought  the Sahara was a restaurant  attached to the Westmount cinemas.
Had to Google it myself I stand corrected  later they sold the cinema to famous players


Edited by Ron Grant on 22 September 2022 at 5:55pm
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Ron Grant
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 18 December 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 227
Posted: 22 September 2022 at 6:10pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

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Paul Wills
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 18 August 2018
Location: United States
Posts: 620
Posted: 22 September 2022 at 6:21pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Hopefully the neon lights at night did not infiltrate your bedroom 
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Robin Taylor
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 1222
Posted: 23 September 2022 at 3:40pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

This is WILD. My partner lived in those buildings at one point

RT
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 128959
Posted: 23 September 2022 at 3:56pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Odd to see that ad refer to the Sahara as “suburban”. The Westmount and Inglewood neighborhoods were fully urbanized. The Westmount shopping center, across the street from the Bel Air, was a huge sprawl, one of the largest in the city.
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Robin Taylor
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 1222
Posted: 23 September 2022 at 4:49pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Westmount mall has fallen into a fair amount of decline over the last few decades. The box stores on the periphery like Home Depot are doing fine but inside the mall is very quiet. The city has expanded out 100 blocks in all directions so Westmount isnt the suburbs anymore, but not the core either

RT  
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 128959
Posted: 23 September 2022 at 7:14pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

The last time I saw Edmonton was around 1992. I’d gone back to Calgary to visit friends and family, and Dad and I drove up to make a photographic record of all the places we’d lived there. This included the Bel Air, so of course we stopped by Westmount.

Pretty depressing. It used to be an open strip mall, but they’d roofed it over, which made it kind of gloomy inside.

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Ron Grant
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 18 December 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 227
Posted: 23 September 2022 at 7:29pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Hope you don't mind I am adding a little more history as the building was not torn down in 1971.I watched Raiders of the lost ark there in 1981. 
Operated as the Sahara Theatre and Restaurant 1956-1965 
Was sold to Famous Players in 1965 renamed the Westmount  Cinema and the Sahara Restaurant ran separately.
In 1972 the cinema twined renamed Westmont Cinema A&B
Closed in 1985 and was torn down 1987

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