Saturday, December 20, 2008


This is --or rather, was-- the Onate Theater in Belen. For years kids could go there on weekends and watch The Lone Ranger, Rex Allen, Bob Steele, Gene Autry and other cowboy stars on the silver screen. Mothers and fathers would gather the family and watch the latest Disney creation, and boys would take their girlfriends to a hot romantic movie, and if they were lucky, could steal a kiss or two in the dark. But times changed. Television came to town. At first, black-and-white TV had a limited audience. Then came color, then came more channels and better programming. The movie audience grew smaller. Finally, the inevitable happened. Outgo exceeded income and the theater was forced to shut down.

But, as Scarlett O'Hara said, tomorrow's another day. People, buildings, businesses and towns can stay alive by constantly re-inventing themselves. So it was with the Onate Theater. It died and was reborn as Harla Mays, a place that may not fill your mind with exciting fantasys, but can fill your stomach with good food. Here today, gone tomorrow? Perhaps, but I am sure that in one way or another this building will continue to be an important part of the Belen scene.

No comments: