February 3, 2011
LAKE CHARLES, LA — When it opened in 1970, the Charles Theatre, later the Charles I-II-II, was a model of modern suburban single screen theater design. It closed in 2006 after it survived a battering by Hurricane Katrina and a subsequent tornado, ending its movie exhibition days as a discount house. It will soon only be a memory, as demolition preparations are underway.
It’s a landmark that brings back memories for many if not most long time residents of Lake Charles— the Charles Cinema. When it was first built it was what local preservationist AdleyCormier calls the “first suburban style movie house” and an early version of a multi-plex movie house with three screens showing three different movies at one time.
A story with video is here.
December 30, 2010
TOLEDO, OH — Once a prestige first-run and 70mm Cinerama house, the Showcase Toledo has been leveled. The theater was closed in 2005 by National Amusements. It originally opened as twin in 1964 and ended its days as a five-plex.
In fact, Waniewski says water leaks inside of the building left it in bad shape. He also says the theater’s seats had been damaged and that repairs would have been too costly for the building that just wasn’t selling.
The price tag has dropped from more than $7 million to around $3 million and a potential investor pulled out within the last year.
The story with a demolition video is here.
December 22, 2010
WOODSTOCK, ONTARIO, CANADA — The Capitol Theatre opened in 1908 as the Woodstock Opera House, has been demolished as demanded by the city last June when the structure’s roof collapsed. It was long operated by Famous Players and closed in 1999.
The Capitol, with its gold and burgundy carpeting, was where I worked as a teen in the ‘70s, where I met my future wife – she a cashier of some skill, me a red-coated usher, flashlight tucked neatly into my inner (ripped) pocket.
Then-owner Tom Naylor used to pull up in front of the theatre on packed Friday nights, parking his car Batman-style in a No Parking zone, an acknowledged, flashy perk for the only theatre owner in a small city.
The full reminiscence, with a picture, appeared here.
November 1, 2010
HATTIESBURG, MS — A fire early in the morning of October 30 destroyed the Beverly Drive-in. The theater had been closed since 2005, but there were hopes it might eventually reopen. The Beverly originally opened in 1948 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Only two operating drive-ins remain in Mississippi.
A fire that started around 3 a.m. reduced the historic landmark to nothing but a smoldering memory. Hattiesburg firefighters gained control of the blaze by 4:15 a.m., but by then only the screen’s metal framework remained. The cause of the blaze is not known.
The story, with a picture, is in the Clarion-Register.
October 21, 2010
RIVERDALE, UT — Despite the efforts of a Facebook group organized to help save it, the twin-domed Cinedome 70 has fallen victim to the wreckers. Opened in 1970 and closed in 2001, it was once a major venue for 70mm films.
Early Monday morning a wrecking crew began tearing apart and knocking down the old Cinedome 70. And as wood was snapping and it’s 40 year history was being wiped out – we caught up with folks who remember the theater in its glory days. One is former movie goer Sean Poole. “I grew up in Riverdale and this is where we would always come for movies.” April Sajt not only watched movies here – she and her entire family worker here. “My mom worked here. My older sister worked here. I worked here and then my younger sister worked here.”
The story and a video of the demolition are atABC4.
October 5, 2010
LOUISVILLE, KY — Following the announcement that the closed Showcase Cinemas in Toledo, OH will soon be demolished, National Theaters has confirmed that the Showcase Louisville closed since 2004, will also be torn down soon. As was the case with the Toledo Showcase, the theater opened in 1964 with one of its auditoriums equipped for 70mm Cinerama.
Steve Horton, vice president of operations, said the 20-acre property will be more marketable without a giant, deteriorating building that has in recent years become a target for vandals and loitering.
The company has wrapped a security fence around the property and begun the first phases of demolition. Horton said the building will be knocked down completely by year’s end.
The story is in the Louisville Courier-Journal.
September 29, 2010
September 28, 2010
ASBURY PARK, NJ — After almost 100 years, the Baronet Theatre was unfortunately razed last week.
Giberson said the roof of the Baronet caved in to the interior of the theatre, probably sometime during the winter.
“With the conditions found there, there was no saving it at this point,‘’ Giberson said.
Read the full story at APP.com.
September 23, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The Board of Supervisors has approved a developer’s plan for a new retail development on Market Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets which would result in the demolition of the St. Francis Theatre which opened in 1910 as the Empress. An attempt to at least preserve the facade failed.
Some opponents also wanted a historic theater facade renovated rather than torn down with two other buildings to make way for affordable electronics, sporting goods and other stores.
Transit and bicycle advocates said they didn’t want to stop the project but to ensure adequate safeguards for cyclists and pedestrians and limit parking to the 70 spaces allowed under the downtown plan.
The full story is at SFGate.
September 21, 2010
TOLEDO, OH — Workers have erected fencing around the Showcase Cinemas in preparation for the theater’s destruction. The theater closed in 2005. Plans to build hotels on the site have been dropped and the property will up for sale when the theater building is razed. It was once a 70mm Cinerama house.
The former theater at 3500 Secor Rd. closed in 2005. Last Spring, several regional hotel owners expressed interest in building on the West Toledo site. Under a site plan, the current structure, built in 1964, was to be demolished to make way for a pair of hotels and a retail strip on the property. That plan was withdrawn months later.
There is more at ToledoOnTheMove.com.