Rose Theatre

Goodbye, Harvard Exit

Another great theatre fades to black. I often use this column to honor cinema's luminaries who have recently passed away; director Mike Nichols being the most recent. But the eminent closing of Seattle's Harvard Exit Theatre strikes a very personal note for me. The Exit is where I grew up watching movies, and if there was one theatre that I was trying to emulate when planning to reopen the Rose, it was the Harvard Exit.

Past Rocky's Reviews

Robert Osborne, 3/7/17

Poetry, 2/24/17

Amadeus, 2/2/17

POP QUIZ!, 1/21/17

I Am Not Your Negro, 1/12/17

Tangoheart, 1/5/17

Star-struck, 12/21/16

From the Balcony, 11/17/16

Mahler & Mom, 11/12/16

Alvin Ailey, 11/3/16

Community Arts Film Series, 9/29/16

17th Port Townsend Film Festival, 9/23/16

Off to Telluride, 8/31/16

PTFF Essay, 8/23/16

Wild Flowers, 8/2/16

Music Movies, 7/22/16

Summer Movies, 7/13/16

It’s Our Anniversary, 7/9/16

This Week, 6/30/16

Summer’s Greetings, 6/22/16

Love is in the air!, 6/17/16

5 New Movies, 6/8/16

Food Movies, 6/1/16

Tim Burton and more!, 5/28/16

This Week’s Great Films, 5/18/16

Steampunk Animation, Walken, Berlin Phil and more., 5/11/16

The King and I, My Golden Days and more., 5/4/16

This Week, 4/27/16

Spring Has Sprung!, 4/20/16

Spring Salutations, 4/14/16

This Week, 4/8/16

This Week, 3/30/16

J.J. Abrams, Sally Field and more., 3/23/16

New movies!, 3/18/16

A Week of Incredible International Cinema, 3/9/16

Michael Moore, Mustang, Maggie Smith and more, 3/1/16

Kaufman, Bergman, Moore and more., 2/24/16

7 Days of Oscar, 45 Years, Macbeth and more., 2/17/16

45 Years, Coen Brothers, Les Liasons Dangereuses and more, 2/10/16

Special Member Event + 6 New Movies!, 2/2/16

Elvis, Held-Over movies, Laurie Anderson, 1/26/16

This Week, 1/20/16

This Week, 1/12/16

This Week, 1/7/16

This Week, 12/31/15

Star Wars and The Big Short, 12/23/15

Spotlight Earns the Spotlight, 11/25/15

A Bounty of Great Movies, 11/20/15

Shakespeare & Cumberbatch Thrill Audiences, 11/10/15

On Tap at the Rose, 11/7/15

The Rocky Horror Picture Show - 40th Anniversary, 10/28/15

My Fair Lady: Winner of 8 Academy Awards, 10/15/15

Davis Guggenheim, 10/14/15

Lili Tomlin, 9/30/15

Meru, 8/19/15

Tangerine, 8/12/15

Hot Weather, Cool Movies, 7/28/15

Classics Night in the Starlight Room, 7/21/15

Amy -  Directed by Asif Kapadia, 7/20/15

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, 7/1/15

Manohla Dargis on The Wolfpack, 6/24/15

Pixar Rules!, 6/16/15

The Salt of the Earth and Woman in Gold Return, 6/14/15

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, 6/2/15

Stratford Festival in HD, 5/29/15

Kristen Stewart in THE CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, 5/6/15

Wild Tales is Wild Indeed, 4/28/15

The Alloy Orchestra Returns With Son of the Sheik, 4/23/15

The Hunting Ground: 2 weekend showings, 4/14/15

The Wrecking Crew Rocks!, 4/10/15

Seymour: An Introduction and The Wrecking Crew, 4/1/15

Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem and Red Army, 3/27/15

‘71, 3/20/15

Dance 422, 3/10/15

And Now For Something Completely Different, 3/3/15

Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne: Master Filmmakers, 2/25/15

Paul Newman: Coors Connoisseur, 2/20/15

Stewart Stern (1922 - 2015), 2/12/15

Mary Dore - She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, 2/4/15

Academy Award Nominees - Shorts, 1/27/15

Selma and JOHN, 1/22/15

Whiplash, 1/16/15

On the Waterfront, 1/13/15

Pride, 12/30/14

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), 12/23/14

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, 12/16/14

Citizenfour, 12/4/14

Mike Nichols, 1931-2014, 11/25/14

Return of the River Returns, 11/18/14

Director Jon Stewart, 11/15/14

Robert Horton, 11/4/14

Bill Murray Day at TIFF, 10/23/14

Tracks, 10/14/14

A Wealth of Great Entertainment, 10/8/14

Programming: How and Why I Select Movies, 9/30/14

Apocalypse Now, 9/16/14

Ward Serrill and Sophie Jane Mortimer, 9/11/14

Movies Movies Movies, 9/3/14

Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed, 8/28/14

Two dedicated movie fans, Jim O'Steen and Art Bernstein, ran the theatre and created a most welcoming venue.  People showed up early to sit in the spacious, warm lobby, to visit with friends, to drink tea and eat crackers (both free) or to play checkers or the beautiful piano.  While one of these gentlemen always greeted people at the door, the other would introduce the movie.  I had no designs at that young high school age of ever operating a theatre, but that unique, magic touch of personally introducing a film remained with me forever.  

Long before Seattle became known as a great film town, the Exit developed a reputation for quality programming.  If it was playing at the Exit, then you trusted Jim and Art and you knew that the movie was worth seeing. Two movies in particular that I saw at the Exit have always remained with me because it was one of my early exposures to Scandanavian cinema: Jan Troell's The Emigrant (1971), and its follow-up The New Land (1972).  And the Exit gave me my first viewing of Casablanca.

The Harvard Exit was home for me, and when the venerable Cinema Books first opened directly across the street from the theatre in 1977, my movie life expanded exponentially.

Being hooked on movies from a relatively young age, I developed a habit of saving every ticket stub that I acquired.  I still have that 40+ year collection, with numerous tickets from the Exit. 

"Here's looking at you, kid."