Meaning behind cinema names

posted by Micronair on January 28, 2011 at 7:40 am

Not quite news, but nowhere else to post.

Has anyone researched the derivation of what I (in my younger years) took to be perfectly ‘normal’ cinema names, yet are really quite strange?

Locally (in North Staffs) we had the Essoldo, Danilo, Gaumont, Odeon, Ritz, Roxy, Rio and probably a few more that I can’t recall.

My brief research reveals:
Essoldo – from Esther, Solomon & Dorothy Schenkman
Gaumont – from Leon Gaumont – French cinema entrepreneur
Odeon – small Greek amphitheatre
Ritz – Cezar Ritz of classy hotel fame.

I can’t find anything relevant to the remainder

Thank you

Comments (15)

tonybutler on January 28, 2011 at 8:47 am

See the Roxy Theater in New York, NY – named after the nickname of its builder, Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel.

RobertEndres on January 28, 2011 at 9:42 am

While the definition of “Odeon” above is probably the reason for the name of the circuit, the popular explanation was that it referred to the founder Oscar Deutsch. He built so many cinemas in the U.K. that people said the name stood for “ Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation”. (Indeed there’s a two volume history of the circuit with that title.)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

New Bedford’s uniquely named Zeiterion Theatre was built and owned by the Zeitz family.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on January 28, 2011 at 11:31 am

Perhaps your local City Hall or main library has some detailed information on file as well as some historic photographs and/or newspaper stories and old advertising, etc. Good Luck!

moviebuff82 on January 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm

AMC’s Loews chain of theaters were named after Marcus Loew, a pioneer of the nickelodeon who brought showmanship to moviegoers for generations. Carmike Cinemas were named after the founder’s two sons, Carl and Mike. Frank Theaters was named after the founder. Jerry Lewis' theaters were named after him.

TLSLOEWS on January 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Way before AMC LOEWS,Loews Theatres as mentioned by Justin named most of the their theatres after the theatre they took over or built and named after the street or city where the theatre was located,such as Loews Crescent,a take over,or Loews Ackron in Ohio,or Loews 72nd.Street,you see what I mean.

Local619 on January 28, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I was told, 40 years ago, that in the early days there were a lot of three and four letter theatre names.. The signs were cheaper

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 29, 2011 at 9:54 am

Makes sense 619 from Mike local 629.

RickB on January 30, 2011 at 6:02 am

Note that Chicago’s Kenwood and Lexington became the Ken and the Lex , probably when they got new marquees.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on January 31, 2011 at 8:53 am

In Philadelphia, the Boyd Theatre was named after Alexander Boyd. The Stanley Theatre was named after Stanley Mastbaum, one of the 2 founders of The Stanley Comapny of America (also known, after mergers, as Stanley Warner, RKO Stanley Warner, RKO Century, Cineplex Odeon, and AMC Loews)

LawMann on January 31, 2011 at 9:20 am

The Wiltern theatre on the corner of Wilshire Blvd and Western Avenue in Los Angeles got it’s name from the two intersecting streets.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 31, 2011 at 11:41 am

As did the Picfair and Picwood.

CSWalczak on January 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm

My memory is a little hazy on this, but I think I recall reading somewhere that Essaness, a theater chain that used to own dozens of theaters, especially in the greater Chicagoland area, was a rendering of “S and S” – Silverman and Silverman.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 1, 2011 at 1:26 am

Wometco theatres of Florida was short for the WOlfson MEyer Theatre COmpany.

The Anco in Times Square was named for one of the owner’s daughters, ANna COhen.

The Angelika Theatres were named after the original owner’s wife.

Jewel and Gem, common legitimate theatre names, were translated to French as Bijou for cinema use.

The Eltinge (now the Empire) was named after a famous female impersonator from the era.

The Bunny (later Nova/Tapia) was named after silent star John Bunny then renamed for the new owner, Jesus Nova. The Tapia name reflected a policy change to Spanish language movies and was named after a famous legitimate Tapia Theatre in Puerto Rico that was itself named after poet/playwright Alejandro Tapia.

Many theatres were named for glamorous spots around the globe such as Tivoli, Rio, Rialto, Mecca, Savoy, Ritz, Lido, Coliseum, Olympia, Piccadilly, Westminster, Victoria, and Alhambra, or regal names like Empress, King, Tudor, Esquire, Prince, Princess, Windsor, Palace, and Royal.

For plain product description you can’t beat Laffmovie and Pussycat.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on February 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm

And the Southampton, England name of FORUM denotes that of a meeting or place of gathering.

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