• September 23, 2010

    CityPlace project approval spells doom for St. Francis Theatre

    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

    Demolition of Showcase Cinemas in Toledo is imminent

    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 That plan was withdrawn months later.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

  • July 16, 2010

    Capitol Theatre in Woodstock ordered demolished

    WOODSTOCK, ONTARIO, CANADA —The city has ordered the demolition of the Capitol Theatre after a portion of its roof recently collapsed. The theater opened in 1908 as the Woodstock Opera House and became the Capitol when Famous Players bought the building in 1927. It closed in 1999.

    The full story is in the Oxford Review.

  • June 30, 2010

    Latest interior photos of Odeon (Paramount)

    NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND — Current owners of the building have allowed the Newcastle and Northumberland Society to tour the interior of the former Odeon Cinema, which closed in 2002, photos taken show many of its original features and fittings have been removed since closure. The cinema and neighboring buildings are earmarked for demolition.

    Urban Exploration website, 28 days later has been given permission to show the photos.

  • June 15, 2010

    Super Cinemas in Davenport to be demolished

    DAVENPORT, IA — Built in 1990 by National Amusements, the Super Cinemas building is about to be demolished. Prior to closing, it had operated as bargain cinema.

    Crews are beginning to dismantle and salvage items from the vacant movie theater in preparation for demolition later this week, said Dan Palmer, the chief executive officer of Tri-City Electric Co., the building’s owner.

    Palmer said Monday that by demolishing the 35,000-square-foot building, the developers will be left with a more attractive piece of frontage property to market. Tri-City Electric’s new headquarters sits adjacent and behind the theater property.

    There is more in the Quad-City Times.

  • June 1, 2010

    Movie theaters destroyed in rioting in Thailand

    BANGKOK, THAILAND — The widespread rioting and burning in Bangkok has claimed at least three theaters in the country’s capital. The ruined include include the classic single screen Siam Theater, the fifteen-screen SF World Cinemas megaplex, and the fourteen-screen theater owned by Major Cineplex in the wrecked Siam Paragon complex which included an IMAX auditorium.

    The SF World and Major multiplexes, shut for the last six weeks while protesters blockaded the streets around them, were host to the Bangkok International Film Festival in recent years. Organizers of the event had already planned on using different venues.

    Hardcore anti-government “Red Shirt” protesters dissatisfied with their leaders' surrender resorted to looting and torching the shopping malls, seen as symbols of a growing consumerist culture that has turned its back on Thailand’s rural poor.

    There is more in the Hollywood Reporter.

  • May 28, 2010

    Ford-Wyoming Drive-In shrinking

    DEARBORN, MI — The Ford-Wyoming Drive-In is down to 5 screens. Theaters 6-9 are being torn down as I type this. The snack bar has been cleaned out and the screens will be torn down before the end of May. The screens were offered for free around the drive-in circuit but no one wanted them.

  • May 17, 2010

    RKO Chester being razed

    BRONX, NY — Unfourtnatly, The demolition of the Chester has begun. The building has scaffolds all around it with demolition contractor signs on it. I passed it on the Cross Bronx Expressway yesterday (14 May 2010) and the roof beams are now exposed and parts of the parapit walls are being removed. I have tried to get a look inside but the roll down door on the side is always closed(I think the workers are getting access from the motel property next to the theater).

  • May 7, 2010

    Board votes demolish Atlantic Theater in Long Beach

    LONG BEACH, CA — The city’s Redevelopment Agency Board voted 4-0 to demolish the Atlantic Theater designed by the Boller Brothers and opened in 1941. One board member abstained as he was actively involved in efforts to save the theater. Its distinctive tower, terrazzo, and a fountain will be salvaged for later reuse.

    The board, citing potential safety concerns, voted 4-0 to demolish most of the property but to save the iconic RKO-style tower, the terrazzo floors, the tile surrounding a water fountain and tiles from the building’s facade.

    The removal of the theater makes way for a new library/community center in the long-awaited North Village Center, a 6.3-acre project along Atlantic Avenue between 56th and 59th streets that also will feature housing and retail.

    There is more in the Press-Telegram.

  • March 1, 2010

    Former Surf Theater (and hotel…) destroyed in fire

    HAMPTON BEACH, NH — The Surf Hotel which once contained the Surf Theater has burned to the ground. The lobby of the ocean side Surf Theater was most recently operating as Bucky’s Hot Dogs. Winds over 100mph were recorded last night at Hampton Beach. It was thought that the roof blew off and hit power lines, causing the blaze which engulfed the entire block.

    A fire fueled by heavy winds quickly spread from the Surf Motel to adjacent buildings and destroyed a block of businesses before it was brought under control early Friday morning.

    “This is a sad day,” said Hampton Beach Area Commission Chairman John Nyhan. “These folks have worked hard all these years, struggling to make ends meet these last few years. And to have this happen. It’s just horrible.”

    Vintage Picture (picture shows small marquee)

    Read more in Seacoast Online.

    -John Elwood