It’s been many years since Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley ruled the hardwood.
But that didn’t stop scores of Capital Region residents from turning out for a big screen showing of “Space Jam” at the GE Theatre inside Proctors on Saturday afternoon, the first day of the Animation Festival, which runs through Friday night.
The 1996 movie starred the above three NBA Hall-of-Famers, along with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the cast of characters from Warner Brother’s “Looney Tunes.”
B.J. Ragone, 24, of Bethlehem, was 10 when he saw “Space Jam” for the first time, and says it’s one of his all-time favorite movies. Ragone said he knew he would be coming to the Animation Festival this weekend when he saw on Proctors’ website last month that “Space Jam” would be one of the feature films.
“It was pretty cool to see it again,” Ragone said.
“Growing up, I was a big Michael Jordan fan. I had a Charles Barkley jersey and a Patrick Ewing jersey.”
Ragone added he liked the idea of an animation film festival. “You don’t see that too often.”
Ragone brought his girlfriend, Vera Murphy, 24, also of Bethlehem, who said they may return during the week to see some other movies.
The couple said the cost is certainly affordable. Admission is $3 for each movie and $15 for a festival pass, good for any feature. “Where can you get a $3 movie these days?” Ragone said.
Sharon Burns of Halfmoon brought her son, Cadin Nicholas Rourke, 5, who’s entering first grade at Shatekon Elementary School in the Shenendehowa district.
Burns said Cadin likes basketball a lot, while he added he’s a big fan of Bugs Bunny. Cadin said he had seen “Space Jam” at school and wanted to see it again on the big screen.
While Burns said they were disappointed to have missed the 12 p.m. showing of Sinbad — Legend of the Seven Seas,” they may return to Proctors today to see “Wallace & Gromit — Curse of the Were-Rabbit” at 4 p.m.
Lee Griffin, 38, of Albany, brought his niece, who’s visiting from Boise, Idaho to see “Coraline,” a darker movie released in 2009. McKenzie Benenate, 11, said it was the first time she had ever been to Schenectady, and was impressed with Proctors.
The fact that the festival was attracting patrons from locations a half hour away was music to the ears of Thom O’Connor of Proctors’ marketing department.
O’Connor said they want to make the Animation Festival an annual event, and he was very pleased with Saturday’s turnout. Part of the idea behind the event is “to make Proctors a gathering place in the Capital Region, whether it’s for movies, plays or music.”
Although the festival also features adult animation films, O’Connor said Proctors CEO Philip Morris “always thinks of families. We’re trying to create a new generation that loves Proctors.”
The Animation Festival continues today at noon with another showing of “Space Jam.” Adult-oriented movies like “Fritz the Cat” and “Persepolis” are shown late in the afternoon or early evening. A full schedule of movies and times is available at www.proctors.org.