For one last time on Wednesday night couples made their way along King Street in anticipation of spending a magical few hours at the Tower Cinemas.
The pop-corn and ice cream lines were 10-deep and there were no complaints about the antiquated black vinyl seats.
There was an air of history in making inside the three darkened brick-lined theatres as the majestic crimson curtains parted for final time.
“I’m going to miss those curtains, you don’t get things like that at the new multiplexes,” veteran projectionist Andrew Turnbull observed.
This was a night that generations of staff and Newcastle’s movie-loving public came back to celebrate a place that became an essential part of the city’s cultural fabric for more than 40 years.
“I was an usher here on the opening night; I still remember the black tie and mustard shirt I wore,” former assistant manager Gary Stains said.
“Those were the days when men wore suits and women dressed up to the nines. The crowds went around the block. The place was full of cash.”
And it was those rivers of cash that saw Mr Stains become the victim of an armed hold-up at the cinema in the early 1980s.
“The bloke jumped the counter with a gun and tied me up. He said ‘behave or I’ll shoot you’.”
Like thousands of others, the final curtain call at the Tower Cinemas also represented the end of a chapter in Pauline Petro’s life.
“This was the first place my mum brought me to the movies when I was about 10. I remember we were running late to see Jaws. My mum and sister got to sit together but I had to sit by myself next to a stranger,” Ms Petro, said.
Friend Peggy Robson also recalled first going to the Tower Cinemas in her early teenage years.
“I’ve been coming here for more than 30 years,” she said.
“I feel a bit sad tonight. The Tower Cinemas is such an important part of Newcastle, I can’t believe it won’t be here any more.”
Current manager Jack Lodge said the cinema’s final week had yielded an extraordinary outpouring of emotion from the community.
“We have just had people walking in off the street, not to see a movie but to say thankyou for doing what we have been doing for so long,” ,” he said.
“They have shared some amazing memories with us.”
Mr Lodge said his final night on duty at the Towers was a bitter-sweet experience.
“It’s definitely been the highlight of my time with the company. I’ll probably be spending my time talking tonight rather than watching a movie.”
Among those Mr Lodge and many others were keen to catch up with was the Tower Cinema’s first manger Keith Turnbull.
Mr Turnbull, who retired in 2000, recalled advising Greater Union to build its Newcastle cinema on the block of land that he had identified in King Street.
“I’m pleased to be here tonight with plenty of old friends; there have been so many wonderful people who I worked with over the years,” he said.