February 19, 2007
BROOKLYN, NY — After suriving the turmoils of the 1970’s; blackout of 1977, loss of hundreds of manufacturing jobs, and White flight, Brooklyn’s Commodore Theater is being demolished.
It was at this theater that I saw one of the scariest movie ever made, “The Exorcist” with Linda Blair. And later grooved to the music of the Bee Gees in “Saturday Night Fever” with John Travolta.
The Williamsburg area is undergoing gentrification and there is no room for a grand dame like the Commodore. It’s out with the old and in with the bland and boring. The last movie I saw there was “Out of Sight” starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. The movie was playing in cinema 2 and you could hear the rumbling of the J train that is next to the theater.
Unlike the newer modern ‘movie theaters,’ the Commodore had seen better days. For the price of admission though, $6.00, you got a great bargain and helped to keep a neighborhood landmark operating.
So tip your hat to the Commodore for standing grand right up to the bitter end.
For a picture of the Commodore, go to Photo Bucket.
December 25, 2006
VILLA PARK, IL — Just happened to be driving by and saw that the former Villard Theatre in Villa Park, IL has been at least partially demolished. The auditorium is gone, but they are keeping the space towards the front that has been in use as retail. Supposedly they are building condos (of course).
December 13, 2006
SACRAMENTO, CA — The Village Theater (as it was known before changing to ‘Cinema’) is currently being torn down and will be completely gone by Christmas 2006. It was located on Fulton Ave. directly across from the historic Town & Country Village shopping center and next door to the former Federal Government office building.
After the Feds built a new building a few blocks away, parking for the theater became a problem as the new owners of the office building could not agree with theater owners on a fair price for use of the lot. After closing as a theater it was used as a bingo parlor for some time.
The building has been vacant for the most part since “The Palace Bingo” parlor moved into the former Federal building a few years back. Slowly becoming an eyesore, it seemed only a matter of time. As a kid (1950’s – 60’s), I spent many Saturdays in the Village where Dad would sent me with 50 cents… 35 to get in, 10 for popcorn and a nickel for candy. Fond memories as yet another local theater bites the dust.
December 8, 2006
LOMBARD, IL — Demolition work has begun on the 78 year-oldDuPage Theatre in downtown Lombard. Expected to take about 4-6 weeks to complete, the project is beginning at the east end of the long-vacant building, and includes lifting off the roof of the auditorium.
Plasterwork from the auditorium and foyer areas has already been removed for potential reuse. The facade and marquee will be saved as well. The DuPage is not completely lost, but will allow for the future redevelopment of the property.
At the present, there are three main plans for the theater’s future being weighed: complete demolition, allowing special tax funding to redevelop the theater, the construction of condos with retail and a theater as part of the development. Last night, at a village board meeting, a public hearing was held regarding extending the life of a special tax funding district around the downtown area.
To read more, go to, The Daily Herald.
November 6, 2006
November 3, 2006
TROTWOOD, OH — The Salem Mall Cinemas are no more. After 39 years of service, the cinemas were demolished yesterday. The Cinemas were a part of the now defunct Salem Mall which was being demolished over the summer to make way for new retail and a city center developement.
The Cinema originally opened in 1967 as a single screen. Later a second screen was added to the building and in the late 70s the original screen was twinned. A fourth screen was added that was accessed through a utility hallway. This I believe is the last mall in the Dayton area that had a cinema actually in the mall.
(Thanks to Jonathan Flynn for providing the photo.)
CHICAGO, IL — Demolition of the Rosewood Theater building on Montrose Avenue in Chicago, began Monday, October 30, 2006. The theater opened in 1916 and closed in 1953. The building is coming down to allow for expansion of the adjacent Montrose stop on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Ravenswood line.
I have a number of recent photographs of the exterior of the building before demolition and am taking more pictures as the demolition progresses. Email me at if you would like copies of the pictures.
The building was rather plain, but what interested me was the barrel-vaulted concrete roof that was supported from the outside by an exposed Pratt truss system, which meant that support columns were not needed in the auditorium.
(Thanks to Robert Feldman for providing the photo.)
YORK, ME — A sad followup to our story regarding their closing two months ago.
The York Beach Cinema was demolished on Tuesday, October 31st. The theater was originally built in the 1850s to house horses. It was converted to an opera house in the early 1900s. It switched to a silent-movie house in 1928, and has been showing films up to this summer. The theater was demolished so that a hotel can be built on the site.
Crews began knocking down the York Beach Cinema at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
By noon, construction manager Butch Mellette expected the 78-year-old movie theater to be a pile of rubble.
“It shouldn’t take more than four hours to get it down,” said Mellette. “We have to be careful though because of the adjacent building.”
For more information, see the Portsmouth Herald Maine news story.
October 16, 2006
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The Continental Theatre here in OKC was finally demolished in October 2006. I’ve taken many pics of the demolition, and would be happy to share some of them with you. My best movie-going memories were in that great building.
It opened in 1965 with “The Greatest Story Every Told.” Director George Steven even came for the opening. It closed in either 1983 or 1984.
(Thanks to Mike Rogers for providing the photos and story.)
August 3, 2006
VISALIA, CA — The Mooney Theater Drive-In Theater is slated for demolition in September 2006. This is a dual screen theater in perfect working order. What a classic, what a shame!