April 19, 2005
CHURCHVILLE, MD — From a high of 47 in 1958 to a total of one today — that is the current state of the drive-in theater in Maryland following the announcement of the closure of the 53 year-old Bel Air Drive-In. According to the Baltimore Sun, patronage had fallen off dramatically and its operators could no longer afford the rent.
To read (and see) more about the end of the Bel Air, visit WBAL-TV, Channel 11 Baltimore’s website. For a forum about drive-ins and a survey about your own drive-in patronage (or lack thereof), visit our weekly poll.
For more information on drive-ins, check out Kipp and Jennifer Sherer’s wonderful website, drive-ins.com. [Editor’s note: I’ve been using it for years to visit drive-ins around the country.] Like our friends at CinemaTour and other sites, drive-ins.com is part of a growing community of like-minded enthusiasts, preservationists and fans. For more drive-in related websites, visit our drive-in theater links.
As the Bel-Air goes dark, perhaps forever, it offers another reminder of how quickly decades of memories can be extinguished. Here today, gone tomorrow. It’s another reason to pay homage to your favorite theaters with your good wishes and your attendance.
(Thank you to Edward Lopez who alerted us to this story.)
March 18, 2005
BROOKLYN, NY — The Flatbush Pavilion, which closed in May 2004, is going to become a swimming pool, according to a health club employee I spoke with. (Read this Daily Heights article for more information.)
There was some hope that the Pavilion—which opened in 1912 as the Bunny Theatre and at one time was repurposed as a mini-golf course—might find new life. But my source said the health club that bought the theater plans to build a swimming pool in the space.
February 25, 2005
CHICO, CA – Eric Hart, the new owner of Chico’s El Rey Theater, has disclosed plans to convert the century-old building to an office, retail and parking complex. The building will be gutted and the interior completely reconstructed.
This historic house opened in 1905 as the Majestic Theater. Operating first as a vaudeville house, it soon began showing movies, becoming Chico’s first cinema. In 1925, it was remodeled by the architectural firm of Stark and Flanders, and was renamed the National Theater. Closed briefly in 1939 for another remodeling, it re-opened as the American Theater. The final re-naming came in 1946, when the building was reconstructed after being gutted by a fire. In recent decades, the El Rey has been operated as a first-run house by United Artists and Regal Cinemas. It is one of the last large single-screen houses in Northern California.
Hart, who owns and has partly renovated the nearby Senator Theater, said that he would like to save the El Rey as a theater, but that the financial prospects for a large single screen cinema in this market were too poor. (Two older multiplex cinemas in Chico have recently closed, leaving the town with only Cinemark’s 14 screen Tinseltown complex and the small art film-oriented Pageant Theater downtown.)
February 22, 2005
BROOKLYN, NY — Unless Long Island University’s men’s basketball team finishes in the top four of the conference, and end up hosting the Northeast Conference Tournament, the Blackbirds' final game in the former Brooklyn Paramount Theatre will be Thursday, February 24th, according to this report from Newsday.
In eight months, LIU will open its new 2500-seat, $40 million arena next to the Paramount. The 1928 Brooklyn Paramount, at Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues, once sat over 4000, and was designed in extravagant French Baroque style by the Chicago firm of Rapp & Rapp.
The movie and vaudeville theater is perhaps best known for its rock and roll shows of the 50s, hosted by Alan Freed, where such stars as Little Richard, “Fats” Domino, Richie Valens, and Chuck Berry performed live.
January 19, 2005
QUEBEC CITY, CANADA — A story on Global TV in Quebec says the IMAX Le Theatre has closed due to falling attendence and losses of 2.5 million dollars. it opened in 1995.
For more information, visit the Radio Canada website with video:
January 12, 2005
Howard Haas has sent us this news about the impending closing of Cinema 1 on Wisconsin Ave.
I know your readers will want to know this sad news.
Somebody emailed me that the single screen Cinema 1, located at 5100 Wisconsin Ave in Washington DC, operated by Loews Cineplex, will close by next month. I telephoned today the theater, and the employee stated that Jan. 27 is the last day. He thinks the current movie “A Very Long Engagement” will be the last one.
Robert Headley’s book “Motion Picture Exhibition in Washington, D.C.” states the Cinema opened in 1965 with 826 seats. Many of us know it as the K.B. Cinema.
The theater’s ad in the Washington Post has stated that it has Washington D.C.’s 2nd largest screen. Apparently the competing new multiplexes are not matching its screen size. The Uptown has the largest screen in Washington.
January 7, 2005
January 6, 2005
SANTA MONICA, CA — The Aero Theatre reopens tonight! Closed since April 2003, the Aero has undergone a $1 million renovation effort by its new operators, the American Cinematheque, who will bring their programming prowess to this popular Santa Monica staple.
According to Variety, “Besides renewing the projection and sound systems, the single-screen theater’s capacity was reduced from 600 seats to 400 in order to install bigger, more comfortable seats. The new screen, which is 44 feet wide and 17 feet high, is three times the size of the original. A new concession stand was also installed.”
Director Paul Weitz will be on hand tonight for the theater’s first show: a screening of Weitz’s new film, “In Good Company,” starring Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and Scarlett Johansson.
For more information on upcoming events at the Aero, please visit the new Aero Theatre calendar.
December 23, 2004
ST. LOUIS, MO — The former Moolah Shriners Temple opened yesterday with an array of entertainment.
The 92 year old landmark structure will house the single screen Cinema, a bowling alley, apartments and offices.
Harman Mosley is taking a real chance on a single screen theater but has been successful both with the Chase Park Plaza Cinemas and the Galleria Cinemas. This will be the third theater in his St. Louis Cinema Chain.
The Moolah Temple has been restored to its original Arabian Nights design and the theater section will even feature a balcony. The opening feature will be “Meet the Fockers.” Harman had bid on “Phantom of the Opera” but was out bid by the Hi-Pointe.
More details are in the full article from the A&E section of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
December 6, 2004
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND — The Electric Cinema on Station Street will re-open this week.
The cinema was opened in 1909 in the centre of the city and has been showing movies almost ever since. Is the Electric the oldest working cinema in Great Britain? At the moment it seems it is by just a few months.
In the 1920’s and showing silent films the Electric changed its name to the “Select.” In the 1930’s the old Electric changed its name again and became the Tatler News Theatre. In the 1950’s another name change to the Jacey Cartoon cinema.