LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – No one says goodbye like the directors of a movie. And a place that has shown Louisville so much is preparing for its own farewell.
Village 8 Theaters in St. Matthews opened in the 1970s.
“My boys are now in their 40s and we came here when they were young,” said film buff Mary Cleary.
The theater showed thousands of films over the decades that followed. Red Ramsey was there for many of them. First as an observer, then as an employee.
“I’ve worked here since August 2000, so 22 years,” Ramsey said.
He did all the work in the building, eventually taking on the nickname “Popcorn man” for his lively way of selling the theater’s signature snack.
“I’m the popcorn man, the popcorn man, the popcorn man,” he tells customers. “I can make popcorn as fast as you can. I can make popcorn as fast as you can.”
The Village has become his home.
“I became friends with some clients just because I worked here,” Ramsey said.
It’s easy to see why he feels a certain way about the theater entering its final act.
“Probably a month ago my manager walked into the box office saying ‘Sorry Red, our last day is July 5,'” Ramsey said. “I was so sad.”
Much like the minutes leading up to showtime, there were glimpses of what was to come.
“They told us five years ago,” Ramsey said. “They were like ‘Okay, we’re going to close.’ But there were still things pending that they could move.”
Norton Healthcare owns the property and had prospective plans. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, closing doors for months and hurting theaters everywhere. Even those with new technology and reclining chairs.
Every movie buff loves a throwback story, and Village 8 gave it a try.
“Tuesdays are only $2,” Cleary said.
“You can’t beat that anywhere,” added Ruby Backert.
It just wasn’t enough.
“I will try not to shed a tear, especially in front of my colleagues,” Backert said. “But it can come out.”
Winnie the Pooh taught us that you’re lucky to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. For Red, it was Village 8.
“I don’t want this to end,” Ramsey said.
It is a theater loved until “the end”.
Many Village 8 employees will transition to Baxter Avenue Theatres.
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