Michael Arnold, 45, of Jenison, said it was "horrible" to watch crews tear apart Studio 28 in the Grand Rapids-area community of Wyoming, but that he had to witness it. He saw "Star Wars" there as a child — his first movie in a theater.
"Every time I come out on 28th Street, I always look at this building because I have such a great memory of it," Arnold said.
Arnold snapped images on his cellphone to send to a friend to share the memories. He was among those who stopped by Tuesday to watch the exterior demolition begin. Some walked away with bricks.
Studio 28 opened in 1965 with one theater and seating for 1,000. It was converted into a multiplex in 1967 with the addition of a second screen, and after several expansions had 20 screens in 1988.
It closed in 2008, citing a decline in attendance.
The property, which has sat empty since then, was condemned by the city of Wyoming in December. Plans call for redevelopment at the site.