March 26, 2008
HONOLULU, HI — The historic Varsity Theatre was demolished today, nine months after closing as a movie house. Attempts to preserve the building failed because it apparently was structurally unsound. The Varsity opened in 1939.
I posted a photo of the demolition on my website.
FROM Lowell Angel: Demolition began yesterday of Honolulu’s last operating freestanding movie theatre, the 1939 Varsity, which closed last June after 68 years.
Located a short distance from the University of Hawaii campus, it opened on September 8, 1939 with the film “Stagecoach,” with John Wayne and directed by John Ford. It was a second-run house throughout most of its life but in recent years was the local art house.
March 21, 2008
HOLLYWOOD, FL — AMC Sheridan Plaza Theatres, is no more. It was torn down last month by the mall owner, in order to accomadate a Kohl’s department store. I installed the projection equipment and was the opening Projectionist/ Asst. Mgr. ( Union!) when the place opened in 1985. One of our frequent guests was the man himself, Stan Durwood, owner and founder of the AMC chain. Stan liked to visit us, because it was warmer in Hollywood than it was in his hometown of Kansas City. Even in his 70’s and 80’s, Stan would bring his weight lifting equipment when he came south.
In later years, AMC had added five newer auditoriums to bring the complex up to twelve screens, all with Simplex XL projectors which, went down with the building. I saw it being torn down and saw into “my” former booths and all of the equipment was still inside, including the Christie Platters. Oh well.
February 27, 2008
PHILADELPHIA, PA — I can’t believe they demolished my neighborhood theater, the Orleans 8. The theater was falling apart anyway. I heard from a reliable source that they’re going to close Franklin Mills Mall and Donald Trump will buy the property and build another casino. That’s my favorite mall. They’re going to build a Target in place of the Orleans 8, with Pepboys, and the other shops on that lot.
January 30, 2008
The Westchase Cimemark in Houston, TX is to be demolished sometime early this year…any help with the date of the implosion would be great.
I’ve googled and searched for most of the evening and no specific date or demolition company has come up in any of the searches.
December 24, 2007
DENVER, CO — The early reports of the summer 2007 season being the last for the twin screen Cinderella Drive-In (technically Sheridan Colo.) are proving true. This theatre is currently in the early stages of demolition. Apartments are planned for the site. The 88 Drive-In in Commerce City is now the Denver metro area’s last drive in theatre.
October 11, 2007
ST. AUSTELL, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — The opening date was Saturday 11th July 1936, the first film shown at the Odeon Cinema was a charity screening of “Jack of All Trades”. As a matter of interest, the last film shown on its closing night Thursday 23rd August 2007, was again a charity screening, of “The Smallest Show on Earth”.
This magnificent building, in my opinion the finest example of it’s type is currently being stripped out in preparation for destruction, which should occur in the next few weeks (Mid Oct 07). A victim of a short sighted council and town centre ‘regeneration’.
Whilst the building would have benefited from refurbishment and investment, the money has gone instead to build a new, no doubt glass and chrome anytown cinema in the town. The “replacement” cinema is not to be completed until 2008/09.
August 29, 2007
HOUSTON, TX — Sadly the AMC Meyer Park 16 of has been closed. The building has been gutted & parts distributed to the other theatres in the chain. The building still stands so hopefully one day someone will make something of it. It was one of the original megaplexes in the Houston market; but with the recent decline in the surrounding neighborhoods AMC decided not to renew its lease on the 20 year old building.
August 1, 2007
Like a prisoner on Death Row with connections to the governor’s mansion, Lakehurst Cinema survived quite a few threats to its existence over the last decade.
But the Grim Reaper, in the form of demolition equipment, finally arrived this week.
The 12-screen multiplex, once touted as the largest of its kind in North America, started coming down in chunks Wednesday, and crews worked through a broken water main to continue taking down the structure Thursday.
You can read the full story at Suburban Chicago News.
July 4, 2007
WYANDOTTE, MI — The long limbo of Wyandotte’s large art deco theater is about to end; unfortunately, with its destruction, as reported in Detroit’s metromode.
The Wyandotte was the first multi-screen theater built in Michigan when opened in 1936. Ironically consultants to the city reportedly claimed that the theater couldn’t be viable now without ten or more screens. It only ever had two, and couldn’t be renovated to include more than six.
While the deco styling was cool, even when I was a kid, it seemed a little sparse for the huge space in the main theater, and I was always struck more by the large Indian heads motifs, which seemed very unique.
Though the theater went through the inevitable descent through second-run films, it’s been closed for years, and weathered a couple of attempts at failed renovations that have left it gutted. Though my friends and I rode our bikes or made long summer walks to see matinees, my best and last first-run memory of the place is sitting with feet on the backs of seats, only a couple of rows back from the massive screen, watching “Stand By Me.” Even the empty and closed presence of the theater rekindled those memories. It’ll be missed.
July 2, 2007
CHICAGO, IL — The Nortown Theater, designed in 1930 by J.E.O. Pridmore in what the late founder of the Theatre Historical Society, Ben Hall, described as “King Neptune-Gothic-Atmospheric” style, is currently being demolished.
After suffering years of neglect under a series of owners, starting with triplexing, use as a church, and later a Pakistani community center, the Nortown was left a ghost of its former self, damaged and stripped multiple times.
The current demolition work is limited mostly to the interior, while parts of the shell will likely remain up for a while. The small fraction of decor that remained to this point is being carefully salvaged by Urban Remains, a Chicago salvage firm.