February 11, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY, UT — This shocking and sad news is just in from Grant Smith, our dedicated Utah theaters expert and volunteer:
The Villa Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah will close after showings on February 18th, according to a news story on KSL last night. The theater has been sold and the new owner will not continue to operate the building as a theater. No one knows at this point who the buyer is or what fate awaits the building, but the news story indicated that the theater might be demolished.
For more information on the closing of the Villa, please visit Grant Smith’s incredible website.
Grant is interviewed extensively in the KSL broadcast that all but confirms the imminent demolition of this 1949 movie house, which still has one of the largest screens in America.
As you may recall, Cinema Treasures worked with USA Today in late 2001 to publish a list of the 10 greatest classic cinemas to watch movies in. The Villa was certainly one of those. Its loss would be immeasurable.
If you were outraged over the loss of the Indian Hills Theater, then contact the Utah Heritage Foundation and these organizations immediately, courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Thanks to Stephen Ruffus who also alerted us to the Villa story.
November 22, 2002
HONOLULU, HI — Consolidated Amusmements, which had operated the historic Waikiki 1, 2, 3 theaters, has announced their abrupt closure. According to the Honolulu Advertiser, the company has cited dwindling attendance in closing the triplex and said plans to close the theater have been discussed since 1990.
The Waikiki 3 theater is actually the original Waikiki Theatre which opened in 1936 and was later joined by the Waikiki 1 & 2. Consolidated Amusements opened a nearby megaplex a few years ago which has been slowly killing their one-time flagship cinema, the Waikiki.
With the busy holiday season, the company decided to close the older theater and switch its employees to the megaplex in order to avoid having to hire seasonal help.
Along with the shuttering of the Hawaii Cinerama Theater, the passing of the Waikiki is a major blow to movie theater enthusiasts on the island. No further word is available on the fate of these three theaters.
October 29, 2002
LA JOLLA, CA — Another post-war movie house may soon meet its end as the Cove Theatre, the venerable, single screen art house cinema, has been sold to HPA Properties. According to the Union Tribune, Landmark Theatres, which has operated the Cove since 1983, has until January 16th to vacate the property.
Following that date, the owners “‘are looking at the chance of converting it to a multi-theater property or to retail use.’” Despite the news, Landmark is still hoping to negotiate with HPA to remain at the theater.
Landmark CEO, Paul Richardson is also quoted in the article saying, “‘The Cove would be difficult to 'multiplex.’ It’s long and narrow. It doesn’t have a balcony, which in many old theaters allows room for installing extra screens. We would consider running it with more than one screen, but that has to be done well.‘”
The 650-seat Cove opened in 1948.
October 24, 2002
CHICAGO, IL — According to a new report in the Chicago Tribune, the upcoming opening of the new 21-screen, AMC River East may be the death knell of several nearby, older movie houses including the 1970s-era McClurg Court and, most notably, the 1930s-era streamline moderne Esquire Theatre.
Unlike the McClurg Court and Esquire, Loews Cineplex will probably retain its 9-screen multiplex at 600 N. Michigan despite the competition. The 2-screen Loews theater at 900 N. Michigan, however, may also be closed in the shakeup.
The nearby Water Tower triplex, which is currently operated by Village Theatres, could emerge unscathed as well with its current programming policy of art house fare.
According to Barry Schain, though, a broker who has worked with several large movie theater chains and is quoted in the Tribune, “‘There are now five theaters with 23 screens in the area, and we’ll end up with two theaters and 30 screens … The writing is on the wall for the smaller theaters.’”
The Tribune is also reporting that if these theaters close, they will likely be repurposed or torn down to make way for alternate development. The McClurg Court has been rumored to be converted into a live performance venue, while the Esquire was sold months ago to another developer with speculation swirling that “a hotel at the Esquire” is probable.
The Tribune cites a “health club” as the next business for the 900 N. Michigan Loews location.
We’ll keep you posted…
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft for keeping his ear to the ground.)
September 18, 2002
PASADENA, CA — The Friends of the Raymond desperately need your help!
If you can donate even one dollar (or pound or looney or shekel or franc) to help save this beautiful 1927 movie palace, please consider taking the time to send a donation to the group which is in desperate need of $3,000 within the next 12 days.
We just received this urgent email from Gina Zamparelli of the Friends:
We are truly in critical need for donations! I am working non-stop to raise the money we need to continue our effort to preserve The Raymond Theatre. I am sending donation mailers, asking local
businesses for assistance, applying for grants, putting up ebay auctions, selling raffle tickets, and it’s still not enough to keep up with the consistent flow of money needed for to keep our lawsuit ongoing.
I need to be honest with everyone… We have a $5,000 legal bill due on Monday, Sept. 30th. To continue our lawsuit we need to raise $3,000 by the end of this month. We also have another legal bill for $5,000 plus, due in exactly one month and three weeks. We also need to stage a fundraiser in November to raise the final $5,000 payment for our lawsuit.
We need a bare minimum of $2,000 to $3,000 to produce a benefit large enough to raise the money we need. We need a down payment on the venue next week. What does this all mean? We have some large legal fee’s ahead. Most critical, we need to raise $3,000 by the end of the month. If we fall short in paying our Attorney, the lawsuit will stop. If this happens, The Raymond Theater’s future will be in serious jeopardy.
I am starting a two-week campaign to see if we can all pull together and raise enough to keep our lawsuit ongoing and make our next payment by Sept 30th. I hope everyone will consider giving something. Even the smallest donation means a great deal to this effort. Everyone can spare $1 or $5. If you can give $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 or more, it would make a substantial difference in our effort.
FACTS ABOUT DONATING TO FRIENDS OF THE RAYMOND:
- Your donation is tax-deductible.
- You can donate anonymously. Just be sure to state your wishes along with your donation.
- We can also except money as a loan. This means that if we win the lawsuit, and you so request, we will send you back your money however the court awards it back to us, in full or pro-rated.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN DONATE:
Donation: A gift of any amount would be appreciated. You can send your donation to our P.O. Box or donate online by Pay Pal (see information below).
You can also purchase raffle tickets:
The raffle prizes are as follows:
1st: 3 days/2 night vacation for two at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
2nd: $500 in cash
3rd: Go-Video Duel Deck DVD/VCR Player
4th: 2 Adult Passes to Disneyland, Anaheim, CA
5th: $50 Starbucks Coffee Gift Certificate
$1 for 1 ticket
$5 for 6 tickets
$10 for 12 tickets
$20 for 25 tickets
$50 for 60 tickets
$100 for 125 tickets
$200 to $500 + donation – One raffle ticket for every dollar you donate!
Drawing will be held October 12, 2002
Winners need not be present to win.
SEND YOUR DONATION TO:
Friends of the Raymond Theatre
PO Box 91189
Pasadena, CA 91109-1189
You can also donate or purchase raffle tickets online by PayPal at: www.PayPal.com. Our e-mail address for PayPal is: .
Just send us a note and let us know if you are sending a donation or requesting raffle tickets! Please send me an e-mail and let me know if you can donate to help us through this critical time. Together I know we can do it! I will keep everyone posted on who has donated and how much we have raised in the next two weeks.
For more information on the Raymond Theatre, please visit their website. This is a beautiful movie palace that deserves to be saved.
August 8, 2002
LINDENHURST, NY — The Lindenhurst Theatre, the last remaining single screen theater on the south shore of Long Island, may become the next victim of Walgreen’s takeover and destruction of old movie houses. According to the Suffolk Life Newspapers, the drug store chain may be eyeing the shuttered theater as its next target.
Battle lines are already being formed between preservation groups and the retailer in preparation for a fight that has been waged (and mostly lost) around the country. In one recent instance, though, the San Francisco Planning Commission rejected Walgreen’s plans to convert the old Cinema 21.
Other theaters were not so lucky as the George Burns Theater in Livonia, Michigan, the RKO Kingsway in Brooklyn, New York, and the Strand Theater in Key West, Florida, all have been taken over by the chain.
The late Deco Lindenhurst Theatre opened on December 25, 1948 under the Prudential Theatre Circuit and closed July 18, 2002. The theater has 625 seats on the main floor and 140 in the loge. According to the Suffolk Life, the theater’s ticket box and neon refreshment sign have already been removed in preparation for … ?
(Thanks to Orlando Lopes for the update.)
August 7, 2002
DAYTON, OH — Dayton’s oldest movie house, the former Alhambra Theater, will be torn down by the St. Mary Neighborhood Development Corp. which purchased the theater two years ago in an attempt to resurrect the building, according to a report in the Dayton Daily News.
Attempts to save the old Alhambra, which opened in 1912, were hampered by its lingering reputation as an adult theater named the Cinema X. This later incarnation of the Alhambra became the scourge of the mayor in 1999 when patrons were discovered having sex inside, and it had also been the focus of protests back in 1977.
With the non-profit development group now declaring that all options have been exhausted, Dayton’s oldest movie house will soon meet the wrecking ball. New housing is slated to replace it unless, of course, an eleventh hour miracle takes place.
August 5, 2002
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the Regal Entertainment Group is looking to sell its leases at three prominent movie houses, the 1984-era Galaxy, and two vintage houses, the UA Alexandria and the UA Metro.
Michael McCormac, who is handling the transactions, is quoted as saying that the “‘contracts are going back and forth,’ and if completed, the movie houses ‘probably would remain theaters for a period of time, then they would be 'bye-bye’.‘ … The Metro would probably be retail, and the Alexandria could be a combination (of retail and non-retail).’”
According to the Chronicle, Regal “owns the lease at the Metro, the lease at the Galaxy and the Alexandria’s lease and property”. All three theaters have been on the market for the past year with deals for the Metro and Alexandria nearing completion.
The shakeout is impacting other area theaters as they attempt to secure their future in a shaky exhibition market. Landmark “will temporarily close the Lumiere later this year for renovation, the Roxie is trying to build a second screen, and Century Theatres recently opened a high-end CineArts movie house in Palo Alto, where it took over a longtime Landmark space.”
In other area news, the Park Theatre in Menlo Park is also slated to be closed and possibly torn down.
(Thanks to Gary Meyer for this update.)
July 10, 2002
CHICAGO, IL — The Esquire Theatre is slated to be sold next month to a real estate developer, according to the Chicago Tribune, and its future as a movie house is now anything but certain. The 1938 Art Moderne movie house is currently operated as a six-screen multiplex by Loews Cineplex.
The sale to Mark Hunt for $13.5 million is scheduled to be completed in advance of a new 21-screen AMC megaplex opening nearby. The imminent doom of the remaining smaller movie houses in the area has already claimed the once popular McClurg Court and is now threatening the Esquire after almost 65 years of exhibition.
There is still a chance that the Esquire could remain in operation and perhaps become the anchor for a larger retail and entertainment complex. Alternately, the theater may be torn down and converted for any number of uses including a hotel, office and residential space, or for retail use.
We’ll keep you posted …
(Thanks to Michael Garay and Bryan Krefft for the news.)
July 8, 2002
SANTA MONICA, CA — We’ve just received this report in from local resident Jody Hummer regarding the historic Aero Theater located on Santa Monica’s fashionable Montana Avenue:
There’s a sign that says ‘Save the Aero’ on the Aero Theater in Santa Monica. The owner says Robert Redford [who grew up attending the Aero as a kid] and Sundance, who were reported to be interested in saving the theater for independent film, have “pulled out.” We don’t know the details yet.
I stopped by yesterday and Chris, the operator, said the Aero is hanging on by a thread and may have to leave next month. If you are in the LA area, go see a film here soon or send letters of support to:
The Aero Theater
1328 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Built by the Donald Douglas Company in 1939, the Aero Theater was originally opened as a continuous 24-hour movie theater for aircraft workers who operated in shifts around the clock. It later became a beloved neighborhood theater and has anchored the now posh Montana Avenue section of Santa Monica.