Preservation Alert

  • December 12, 2007

    The (Mann) National Theatre loses final battle for historic landmark status

    LOS ANGELES, CA — The National Theatre, once the Mann National Theatre, opened March 27th, 1970 in the Westwood section of Los Angeles. It was one of the last single giant screens to be built and remained in operation until it’s final closure on October 2007.

    After an exhaustive study, tours, and two hearings, the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission denied Historic Monument status for it at their Nov 28th meeting. Demolition on the not so historic theater should begin in January and the new LEED-certified glass box with parking on top structure (retail building) should be built shortly thereafter."

    The theatre’s lobby substituted for that of the Northpoint Theatre, in San Francisco, in the recent film “Zodiac”. The Northpoint, another large screen theatre built in 1967 closed in 1997. The shell of the theatre remains but was gutted after it closed.

    A lengthy discussion on the theatre and the pros and cons of declaring it an historic landmark can be found here, at the Cinema Treasures at the National page.

    A brief article on the Mann National theatre can be found at the Curbed Los Angeles web site.

  • November 30, 2007

    The Quo Vadis Preservation Foundation needs your help

    WESTLAND, MI — Why save the Quo Vadis Entertainment Center? This is a great question to ask and a better place to start.

    Well… to get all the negative out of the way, first of all, its an old, run down building. It needs work, obviously. But people tend to ignore the history it has in favor of “its old, tear it down, build a generic drug store”. No, drug stores and condos aren’t what Westland needs. Michigan’s economy is bad enough, we need something to bring revenue into the city.

    The old Quo Vadis Entertainment Center (herein refered to as QV) stands empty, much like many other buildings, such as the BP station on Wayne and Warren, the Denny’s and Sams Club on Central City Pkwy. There are many potential uses for this old building, it could be turned into a meeting place for teens, an arcade, a theatre, or even used as a movie theater again. We’ve seen one local theatre (George Burns Theatre) meet a dreadful end as a Walgreens (which closed less than 2 years afterwards and sits vacant, mind you) and condos.

  • November 8, 2007

    Cumberland residents launch effort to save the Isle Theatre

    CUMBERLAND, WI — The people of Cumberland have started an initiative to restore and reopen the Isle Theatre. It has been closed for 10 years and demolition of the theatre is threatened.

    After 10 years of being out of business and the possibility of tearing down the building, people in Cumberland are trying to save their theatre, with the hope of keeping it alive for generations to come.

    Judy and chris… The Isle movie theatre has been a part of Cumberland since the 1920’s. It ran out of funds and closed 10 years ago…With ideas of the building being torn down, some people here are trying to bring it back.

    The entire story, including a picture of the facade, on Cumberland’s beginning efforts to save the theatre can be found at WEAU.

  • November 6, 2007

    Toronto Allenby Theatre – Coming down soon?

    TORONTO, ON, CANADA — Don’t be shocked to see this building come down soon. Currently vacant, the heritage designation only covers the facade, not the sides, back or roof, so it looks like ESSO is going to get their way and be able to put up a nice new gas station. All they have to do is keep the facade up and the first few feet.

    Read more about it in this Notice of Motion to save the theatre(pdf).

  • November 1, 2007

    Tinseltown Westchase in Houston to be replaced by an office building

    HOUSTON, TX — This story came from the Houston Business Journal(paid sub reqr’d). These theaters are designed with Art Deco fins, which have always reminded me of the Pan Pacific Theatre in Los Angeles, near where I grew up. I will miss these theaters.

  • October 30, 2007


    LOS ANGELES, CA — The following was sent in by Cinema Sightlines:

    “The National Theatre in Westwood is one of the 3 last big-screen, large capacity individual movie theatres still standing in greater Los Angeles. This theatre is a rare example of late 60s-early 70s modern architecture, with some historical significance regarding the motion picture events that have taken place there. Known for superior picture and sound presentation, The National Theatre has been a favorite movie showplace in Los Angeles for over 37 years.

    The property owner, Simms Development corp, has definite plans to demolish this irreplaceable theatre, to build condominiums and probably some commercial space.

    A group called Friends of the National Theatre is applying to the LA Cultural Heritage Commission to grant the building Historical-Cultural Monument status, which could delay demolition while the case is fully reviewed.

    The National application is the final item on the agenda of a meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 1 at 10am in Room 101 of City Hall.

  • October 12, 2007

    Unstable facade on historic Ohio Theatre!

    TOLEDO, OH — After architectural evaluation, the front sidewalk is now fenced off in front of the Ohio Theatre. A reinforcement bar was installed a year ago and the facade is now deemed unsafe.

    The theatre was built in 1921 and serves as a performing arts center and home to the Toledo Area Theatre Organ Society. Federal and State help is sought for restoration of this landmark. A major effort is underway to save this theatre.

  • September 26, 2007

    Petition To Save NYC’s Playpen Theater, Oldest Vaudeville House

    I would appreciate it if you can sign an online petition to save what is more than likely NYC’s oldest vaudeville Theater, the Playpen on 8th Avenue between 43rd & 44th Streets, which was known as the Ideal Theatre in 1916. The clock is ticking, and the Committee To Save The Playpen Theater amongst other preservationists, need all the help we can get to spare this intact Beaux Art gem. Demolition permits are pending, and we’re trying to convince developer Daniel Tishman to donate it to a non-profit. Please sign the online petition, post a brief comment, & forward the following to as many contacts as possible. Your assistance is invaluable!

    Playpen Petition

    For more information: Save the Playpen

  • Wayne Theatre to be torn down if money not raised

    WAYNE, MI — The 1927 Wayne Theatre located at 35164 Michigan Avenue, needs your help.

    The theater is in danger of demolition by the city of Wayne. For the past few years, volunteers have been removing old walls put up from a music store, and holding concerts on the front lawn in an attempt to raise money to restore the venue. Unfortunately, attendance was very low at the concerts and the city has stated that if the non-profit that owns the theater does not fix the bricking of the theater and have a funding plan in place, they will tear down the theater.

    $30,000 is needed to buy more time to get the rest of the money raised, and $60,000 will fund research into grants to restore the theater.

    As a volunteer at the theater, I encourage you and your friends to help donate to a worthy cause. Help to restore this beautiful theater into a showplace for the entire community of Southeastern Michigan. If every member on the site donated $5, we could make this goal happen and save the theater. More information on our theater is located at this web site as well as donation information. Donations can be made by paypal, mail(check, money order).

  • September 17, 2007

    Urgent appeal & proposal to save NYC’s oldest extant vaudeville theatre

    Committee To Save the Playpen Theater
    For Immediate Release (Preservationists, please pitch in and share your thoughts on our proposal and any ideas. We’re seeking a savior!)


    Michael Perlman,
    NYC Preservationist & theater enthusiast
    (917) 446-7775

    Orlando Lopes
    Theater Historical Society of America, NYC Dir.
    (631) 225-7071

    Oldest Extant Vaudeville Theater Slated For Demolition:
    Preservationists' Plea & Proposal

    NEW YORK, N.Y. (September 11, 2007) Citywide preservationists and theater historians are calling on developer Daniel Tishman of Tishman Realty & Construction, to halt the planned demolition of NYC’s Playpen Theater (693 8th Ave between 43rd & 44th St), an early 20th century architecturally & culturally significant theater. Demolition is expected as early as Thurs, Sept 13th, and a high-rise hotel or condo is proposed for the site.