The Hebert family, of Craig, poses Thursday morning outside West Theatre on Victory Way. Dave Hebert began waiting outside the theater at 5 a.m. to be the first in line for the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” Shown in the back row, from left, are Dave, Patty, Spencer, and Rachel; in the front row are Sabrina, Heather, Mathew and Samuel.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

The Hebert family, of Craig, poses Thursday morning outside West Theatre on Victory Way. Dave Hebert began waiting outside the theater at 5 a.m. to be the first in line for the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” Shown in the back row, from left, are Dave, Patty, Spencer, and Rachel; in the front row are Sabrina, Heather, Mathew and Samuel.

Craig man turns out early for Harry Potter movie tickets

Quotable

“I always come with friends or family and it is just exciting to be the first one in line and in the theater. It is like one big family with everyone there because we talk about the movies and the series and people get all dressed up.”

— Dave Hebert, a Craig resident, on the atmosphere for a midnight showing of Harry Potter movies

Craig resident Dave Hebert woke early Thursday morning, well before sunrise, but for a far different reason than most who start their day at an early hour.

Hebert, 50, grabbed his lawn chair, a sleeping bag, and his most important item — a “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” book.

At 5 a.m., he set up outside West Theatre on Victory Way to secure his spot as the first person in line for the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” the final installment in the popular, eight-film franchise.

“This is a historical movie and the reviews have been great,” he said. “I have been a Harry Potter fan since the beginning of the movie series and it is just a fun and entertaining story.”

Being first in line for movie tickets wasn’t just for him, Hebert said, but also for seven of his eight children — Sabrina, James, Rachel, Samuel, Heather, Mathew and Spencer — who joined him outside the theater around noon with his wife, Patty.

“Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon and with young kids, it just became part of our family,” he said. “The movies are always good and enjoyable and very family friendly.”

However, that isn’t to say Hebert isn’t at heart a true fan of the boy who lived.

While waiting for his children to show up Thursday, Hebert said he began reading the final book, and he was halfway through finishing around 9:30 a.m. He expected to finish by the time the family headed into the 9 p.m. showing of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” a special showing West Theatre offered as a compliment to the final film.

“The seventh book is the only one I have read, but I think once I can get the other six away from my daughter Sabrina, I will read those as well,” he said. “The final book is the climax of the series and goes into a lot of detail on Harry Potter and (Lord) Voldemort, so I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie.”

A week before, Hebert had been forced to stay in bed after having surgery on both of his feet.

He passed the time by re-watching the seven previous wizard films.

“This is an epic battle between good and evil,” Hebert said. “There is supposed to be so much detail in the final movie and should be better than all the rest.”

Debbie Winder, who manages West Theatre, said the Harry Potter and “Twilight” series bring the biggest crowds into the theater.

“Every other Harry Potter movie we have sold out the first showing,” she said. “I am not sure what to expect (at the midnight premiere), but I hope people have fun and I hope we sell out again.”

This isn’t the first midnight premiere Hebert has been too, he said.

Starting in 1977, he attended all six midnight premieres of the “Star Wars” movies.

The same can be said for the three “Lord of the Rings” movies.

“I always come with friends or family and it is just exciting to be the first one in line and in the theater,” he said. “It is like one big family with everyone there because we talk about the movies and the series and people get all dressed up.”

The Hebert children, who dressed as their favorite Harry Potter characters and brought along homemade wizard wands, soon left their dad to finish his book. They returned later in the evening.

Still, Hebert said he didn’t mind waiting alone, as the premiere was great for family bonding.

“I think Harry Potter crosses a generational gap,” he said. “It is interesting to adults as well as the children and provides a nice, family atmosphere.”

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