I have some great memories of seeing films at the National: I saw most of the Star Trek films there, and waited in a long line to see opening night of the James Bond film Licence to Kill inside its great cavernous auditorium. I also saw the opening night of Mission: Impossible there. I am sad to see the old behemoth go, even though as a piece of architecture it isn't anything of sterling beauty; all utilitarian '70s decor with a screening room enshrouded in beige pleated curtains as its sole decoration. I can't imagine there was much effort made to save it, not like there would be if somebody got the Philistine idea of taking a wrecking ball to the Fox in Westwood. Regardless, the loss of the old movie palaces is a loss of our movie heritage.
The theater had a cameo appearance in this year's Zodiac, where it masquerades as a San Francisco theater showing Dirty Harry. Fincher couldn't have picked a more perfect theater to project the 1970s period feeling of the movie. I'll bet that the National did show Dirty Harry when it premiered.