Mr. Moviefone celebrates 20th anniversary

BURBANK, Calif. Twenty years ago /*Russ Leatherman*/ helped create the idea of /*Mr. Moviefone*/. Simply call 1-800-777-FILM and you are guided to the theater nearest you showing the movie you want to see.

What started out as an automated phone call has led to a generation of movie-goers who've always been able to buy tickets with a credit card, pick up or purchase tickets at a theater's kiosk or go online to buy or reserve a seat -- all Moviefone firsts.

"We didn't really realize we were doing it along the way, we were just young guys trying to build a business, but the whole thing was founded on making movie-going easier," said Leatherman. "We just kept innovating along the way so you'd have a better time when you went to the movies."

That effort proved to be worth $480 million in 1999 when Moviefone was sold to /*AOL*/, but the evolution continues with the fast-paced world around us. Now you can get a movie review in six seconds.

With the 20th anniversary, Facebook is now integrated into Moviefone, allowing you to log in to your account, pick a movie and invite your friends.

"It is a proud thing for me," said Leatherman. "The thing that I love most, and a lot of people have asked me 20 years later, 'You sold the company to AOL, what are you doing? Why aren't you on a boat sailing around the world or something?' The truth is, I love being part of the movie-going experience."

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