Movies and Memories: Celebrating Marion’s newest theatre

Marion’s new theater is Mountain Marquee, located at 31 West Court Street.

I’ve missed being able to watch a movie on the big screen in my hometown.

My first silver screen memory was made in the mid-90s. “The Lion King” had just come out and everyone in my kindergarten class was talking about the main character, Simba, and how cool he and his singing warthog and meerkat friends were.

After I talked obsessively about the animated feature for what I image was days instead of weeks, my mom finally gave in and took my younger sister and me to the movies.

We bought a huge tub of popcorn, sodas and a box of candy, then made our way to seats located midway through the theater. When the lights started going down, I grabbed onto mom’s hand and she reassured me this was normal. “You can’t see the movie if the lights are on.” That explanation calmed my little nerves and for the next hour and a half I was transported to a magical, animated wonderland.

Going to the movies became a regular thing for my family after that. We would go on Thursday evenings during the summer, when ticket rates were cheaper, to see the latest film. As I grew older, my movie experience morphed. I went from going to films with my family to going to films with friends.

We watched romantic comedies, coming-of-age films and on Halloween we enjoyed the all night movies, although mom never let me stay past 10 p.m.

Then I started dating and movies became a time for us awkward high schoolers to get to know one another a little better with handholds and smooches.

In the early 2000s, I went off to college where I continued to enjoy movies and then I returned home to start a career at the newspaper.

It was during my second year as writer that I received a call that McDowell’s only movie theater at the time was in danger of closing.

I was hopeful that perhaps something could be done to save it, so I put my heart and soul into writing a story about their need for new digital equipment, but, alas, the pen was not mightier than the switch to HD and its doors closed. 

Since then I’ve traveled to Morganton and Asheville for movies, and every time I’ve been on the road I wished there was a local solution for my need to see movies on the big screen.

Those wishes must have been heard by someone up above, because Marion now has Mountain Marquee, which plays second-run, independent and arthouse films.

The quaint venue has already held several events that’ll not only draw in locals but also folks from out of town.

It’s a comfort to know that I can escape the worries of the world with a trip to the movies without having to drive 20 minutes or so east.

You can find a full listing of Mountain Marquee’s movies at

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