HAZARD — On Jan. 15, the owners of Fugate’s Cinema announced to the public that the theater would be closing for good. The Fugate family was not the first to open a cinema in the Hazard area. Prior to Fugate’s opening, the Family Theater was open on Main Street. A drive in theater once stood on the property that is now the Grand View Shopping Center. Several communities in Perry County, including Vicco and Bulan, had bustling movie theaters at one time. Since Fugate’s Cinema opened, Hazard also gained a second movie theater, when Hillside opened its doors. However, for many local citizens, the closing of Fugate’s Cinema brings with it a heavy heart because along with it comes the end of an era in entertainment.
The cinema was the last remaining establishment in the Fugate’s Entertainment complex, which at its peak, included a skating rink, bowling lanes, arcade, the 11th Frame Lounge, the cinema, the Time Machine pub, a water park, and the Riverboat Lounge. Most cities in the Eastern Kentucky Region do not offer all of the attractions the Fugate’s provided on their small stretch of land right off Highway 15 north of Hazard, which appropriately became named Entertainment Drive.
What remains for Entertainment Drive is still unknown. The Fugate family has consisted of visionaries, who for three decades, defined the night out experience in Hazard, but a lot has changed in three decades. When Fugate’s Entertainment boomed, so did the coal industry, and a lot of innovations have been made in at home entertainment, which have had effects on many entertainment establishments nationwide.
Fugate’s Cinema left the world with this message, which is still posted on the cinema’s Facebook timeline.
“Sorry to inform our loyal customers but we are now closed. Thanks for all the wonderful years.”
The post has 585 shares and over 100 comments from customers who are thankful for the memories and sad to see it go.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.