March 21, 2017
From WUFT.org: The Ocala Drive-In Theatre in Belleview brings the Americana experience of old drive-in theaters to a new generation.
Though the drive-in first opened in 1948, it has closed, reopened and changed hands several times since then. It’s also had many updates since it first opened, including new projectors, projector bulbs, screen paint and sound systems.
“Nostalgia. A lot of nostalgia here,” said Nancy Bigi, a cashier who currently works at the drive-in and who worked there in the ’70s and ’80s. “It brings back old memories, [for me] and the new generation,” Bigi said.
Like a drive-thru restaurant, you pay at the first window and then pull forward. The inside of the theater is a field with two screens on opposing ends with a projector booth and concession building in the center.
Typically, the drive-in shows two movies in one session for $6 per adult. A refurbished concession building offers the Ms. Pac-Man arcade game and snacks for movie-goers. The concession building also has several painted murals on each wall to enhance the retro aesthetic.
The large grassy area and a larger arcade present opportunities for fun for the whole family. When the drive-in isn’t showing movies, it hosts flea markets in its 20-acre field.
March 9, 2017
From the Beaumont Enterprise: The Jefferson was jumpin' this past weekend with movie lovers and concert goers, but that’s not the reason a net stretches across much of the theater ceiling. That net is meant to catch bits of loosened plaster that might fall onto the heads of patrons at the downtown Beaumont venue. The net is there out of an abundance of caution, said Lenny Caballero, director of the City of Beaumont’s event facilities department.
March 7, 2017
From the Times Union:After a heated and lengthy discussion, the City of Albany Common Council voted 12-3 on Monday night to sell the Palace Theatre to the Palace Performing Arts Center, a non-profit that operates the theater.
The vote came after more than a year of contract deliberations. The sale price, though not final, sits at $750,000. The money will be paid to the city of Albany at $25,000 a year over a 30 year period.
From Pictorial: In a grimy illustration of the old saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, here’s a chance to feast your eyes upon some ancient candy wrappers, rediscovered in a historic Chicago movie palace.
DNA Info shares the latest from Eric J. Nordstrom, founder of a firm called Urban Remains, which sells bits and pieces salvaged from historic buildings. Apparently nobody cleaned out spaces below the balcony seating at the currently closed Congress Theater—confirming every gross suspicion you’ve ever had about cleanliness in those sticky auditoriums—and so Nordstrom found a pile of precious, beautifully revolting antique trash. Baby Ruths, Dots, Milk Duds, Red Hots, they’re all here. Apparently the packaging for a Butterfinger has barely changed in all this time.
February 28, 2017
From 13abc.com: The Maumee Indoor Theatre is owned by the city of Maumee and managed by Great Eastern Theatres.
The building opened in 1946, then closed 50 years later in 1996.
In 2000, the city bought the property and spent $3M renovating the space.
By the time it reopened in 2004, the Maumee Indoor Theatre was more than before.
The facility was now an event space, capable of hosting live shows or Q&A sessions.
It also has a basement room for parties.
But at its core, the Maumee Indoor Theatre is a two-screen movie house.
“We’re part of the Ohio Historical Theatre Association,” explains Sam Johnson, Executive Director of the Maumee Indoor Theatre. “We’re part of a National Historic Landmark. So, you know, we are an historic building. They tried to restore it in the same Art Deco style. So, we tried to keep everything as much the same as we could while renovating it and bringing it up and making it nice.”
February 26, 2017
From DNAinfo.com: It’s hard to tell just how intricately designed the Congress Theater’s facade is from the street.
So, with permission from the developer, urban archaeologist Eric Nordstrom climbed the historic theater’s scaffolding to get up close.
What he found was incredibly detailed Italian renaissance-style terra cotta, featuring faces with “unsettling frozen” expressions, eagles and symbols, all of which left him awestruck.
“My mind’s eye was in perpetual awe of the skillfully executed design elements packaged into each and every terra cotta panel contributing to the collection of richly ornamented assemblages found throughout the distinctive facade,” Nordstrom wrote on his blog.
February 24, 2017
From the Kearney Hub: The historic Grand Theatre in downtown Norfolk is up for sale, bringing disappointment to many who tried to restore the landmark for the past 12 years.
The Norfolk Daily News reported that the property is listed for $200,000.
The former theater building was built in 1920. It became the Rialto in 1940. Then it became the smaller divided Cinema theaters in the 1970s before it eventually closed.
Businessman J. Paul McIntosh donated the property in 2005 to the Norfolk Community Theatre, which tried to obtain money to renovate the structure was but unable to raise the millions needed to make necessary improvements to the interior.
February 19, 2017
From the Billings Gazette: With a March 15 deadline looming for the city of Billings to take over ownership of the Babcock Theater, an advisory committee has four recommendations for what can be done with the 110-year-old downtown landmark.
Meeting Monday, the Babcock Ad-Hoc Advisory Committee approved a report drafted by City Administrator Tina Volek that includes four possible courses the Billings City Council will hear during its Feb. 21 work session:
-Ask the committee, which includes four city council representatives, to continue exploring options for the use of the theater, which is at Second Avenue North and N. Broadway. -Ask the committee to negotiate with Kim Olsen, who currently manages the theater for Babcock LLC, to continue managing the theater for a year, while seeking a nonprofit organization to ultimately take over theater operations. -Instruct city staff to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the sale of the theater. -Instruct city staff to issue an RFP for an outside organization to manage the facility for five or more years.
From The Pueblo Chieftain: From Davy Crockett’s “Old Betsy” to temporary closures and war taxes, the historic Skyline Theater has withstood a roller coaster of ups and downs in its 100-year history.
In September 1917, L.A. Jones, proprietor of the Busy Corner Store announced that he intended to build a state-of-the-art theater in downtown Canon City, the likes of which would cost an estimated $20,000 investment, according to newspaper accounts of the time.
By December that year, the Canon City Daily Record was touting the soon-to-be-completed theater as a “new, modern moving picture theater” on which “a great deal of money is being spent to make this the finest cinema theater in any small town in the west.”
February 13, 2017
From the Press-Democrat: Looking back, as any social scientist (or grandparent) will tell you, can be instructive. And it can also be comforting in those moments when we need comfort.
Last month we went to the circus. Today, let’s pack up our snacks, put the kids in their “jammies” and go to the drive-in.
Those who are old enough to have made a trip or two to the drive-in movies may not be able to remember what film they saw, but they are sure to come forth with a carload of nostalgia.
We have to be careful about nostalgia. It isn’t history.
It is wistful, sentimental, a longing to retrieve some aspect of one’s past.
History is far more complex. It is, in its simplest form, chronology, a record of past events, a study of a people or an institution, often including a theory or interpretation of those events.
History is more trustworthy by far. Memory is too often pushed off the truth track by emotions, by sentiment if you prefer.
So we save the nostalgia for now. And start with the history. Consider it a hook on which to hang your hatful of memories.
The whole notion of outdoor movies is as quirky as any accidental invention. It was a man named Richard Hollingshead, an auto parts salesman in Camden, New Jersey, who “invented” the drive-in, according to a 2008 article in Smithsonian magazine. The story quoted the head of the United Drive-In Theatre Owners, who told it like this:
“His (Hollingshead’s) mother was — how should I say it? — rather large for indoor theater seats, so he stuck her in a car, put a 1928 projector on the hood and tied two sheets to trees in his yard.”
In 1933 Hollingshead opened the first drive-in theater, but his brilliant idea didn’t really take hold until in-car speakers were developed in the 1940s. And, in the early ’50s, with the war over and at least one car in every garage, the drive-in became a way of life in suburban and rural America, where there was space to work with.
By 1958 there were 4,063 drive-in theaters in the nation. Two were located in Sonoma County, with three more to come and go. The quintet, in order: