Jonathan and Gayle Rej are bringing old-school movie-going back to town as the new owners of Atlanta's storied Plaza Theatre.
Do you think of yourselves as preservationists for keeping the Plaza alive?
Jonathan: Yes, I do. That was one of the reasons we bought the place. The building just seemed too important to let it go away or become a chain store. The uniqueness of a city is what gives it the character, not how close you are to a Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Most memorable movie-going experience?
Jonathan: Probably Star Wars in 1977. I was 5 and that was the first film I saw in a theater. I was terrified of Vader when he first came on the screen and I loved it.
Gayle: My mother used to check me out of Inman Middle School on Wednesday afternoons and we would go to Lenox to watch a movie. The first movie I watched completely by myself was The Muppet Movie. My mom came in at the end to get me and found me in tears -- so affected by the movie.
Can you give us a little insight into the Plaza's history?
Gayle: People are already asking when we're going to show The Women, which was the first film shown there in 1939. It is so campy that I think we could build an event around it! All of the past managers have encountered ghosts in the upstairs theater. I get creeped out if I have to go up there alone, but Jonny and I haven't seen or heard anything.