April 20, 2005
The former movie house, which was built in 1915 and remodeled in Art Moderne style during the 40s, was purchased last week by the Cavalcade of Music Foundation, which is based in the North Shore suburb of Kenilworth. Bob Acri, the foundation’s executive director, says the theater will be used as a showcase for jazz, classical, folk, and other musical styles (except rock).
The foundation is kicking off a fundraising campaign, and it is expected to cost between $750,000 to $1 million to renovate the Skokie. Work will include repairs to the exterior, upgrades to lighting and sound systems, conversion of the projection area to a conference room, making the building handicap accessable, and reducing seating from 314 to 161. Work could begin in a month and be completed in the fall, according to Acri.
April 18, 2005
NEW YORK, NY — A recent Daily News article focused on some of NYC’s alternative ‘Cinema Treasures’, including Ocularis in Brooklyn and the Millennium Film Workshop in the East Village.
April 14, 2005
PHILADELPHIA, PA — The following was sent in by Howard Haas of the Friends of the Boyd:
“The new owner of the Boyd didn’t waste time. Last Wednesday, I joined architect Gary Martinez, AIA, & National Design Director John M. Ahrens, AIA, in a long awaited Inventory Tour, walking thru the movie palace, pointing out all the historic features we had discovered. I shared copies of much of our research. I had been in the Boyd before with them, but this was an all day discussion that for awhile also included Michael Norris (our Development Chair) and Adrian Fine (Regional Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation), and a consultation from another organ company.
I am thrilled to tell you that everybody wants to bring the movie palace back to its original 1928 beauty. Clear Channel wants to do a comprehensive restoration to the original colors of the paint & plaster, light fixtures, and much more! As we have said, in addition to film, organ, exhibits of the theater’s history and public tours, there are also Art Deco features that Friends of the Boyd can help make a difference in ensuring they return, but we are very happy with the company’s expertise and their commitment.
The Boyd is on its way! I liked the 1970’s Art Deco Revival concession stand in the Lobby, with its light ends that lit up. But, most people thought it a monstrosity incompatible with the original French Art Deco design. It is gone!
April 4, 2005
CONWAY, NH — A fire broke out at the Majestic Theater during a Friday evening show. 200-250 people were present, all made it out.
The fire was put out in 10-15 minutes but caused a 300 to 400 foot section of the roof onto the theater seats. We are getting about 4" of rain today and not having a roof could cause some serious issues.
More details can be found in the Saturday April 2, 2005 issue of the Union Leader. The Union Leader has a website but this story didn’t make the online edition. You can view the print edition online for 50 cents.
The Majestic’s website is here, but does not mention the fire.
March 25, 2005
The 1928 movie house, which has been the focus of some debate in the Chicago suburb is expected to cost between $8 and $8.5 million to restore. The new proposal just released by the DuPage Theatre Foundation (to be presented to the village board on April 7th) is a $32 million plan which involves luxury condos and lofts being constructed in and around the former movie house, along with retail shops and a restaurant on the first floor (along with a small theater space, perhaps).
The condos and lofts built above existing storefront spaces in the theater building replace an earlier plan by the Foundation to create studio and classroom areas in that space. Twelve condos would be constructed behind the DuPage and a five-story new structure housing 68 condos would be built on a parcel of land directly south of the theater.
The new building facades would be covered with terra-cotta to match the existing building. Plans also include 248 parking spaces, some underground, which would in part be used by Metra commuters.
Theater supporter and Trustee Ken Florey says, “Even if I weren’t a theater supporter, it’s a great development. Condos is the direction we should be going downtown. Economically, it’s by far the best.”
March 14, 2005
MILWAUKEE, WI — Thanks to the eagle eyes of Hugh Swofford comes this: according to a story in Friday’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the 1929 AVALON on Milwaukee’s south side in the former village of Bay View, is in the process of being purchased by a local investor, and it looks as though the Landmark chain of movie houses, which includes the ORIENTAL and the DOWNER in Milw., will be the operator of this “atmospheric” type cinema which closed five years ago.
After several false starts, it now appears that a deal in earnest, not relying upon a land contract, will come to be, and if so we will then have a grand total of 2 operating movie palaces remaining in the city, out of the 20 we once had (this excludes the DOWNER and the TIMES and the remodeled TOSA (the ROSEBUD CINEMA) which are not really palaces).
March 9, 2005
PHILADELPHIA, PA — How many out there enjoyed sitting in the old movie palaces in Center City, Philadelphia back in the 50’s and 60’s???
I am talking about the Boyd, Fox, Stanley, Randolph, Goldman, and Midtown Theatres. These theaters showed the film on a first run, even on a reserved seat engagement. Watching classics such as “Gone With the Wind”, “Ben Hur”, “Lawrence of Arabia”, “West Side Story”, “My Fair Lady”, and “The Sound of Music” on a giant screen was a view to behold. Sadly, these movies lose their dramatic effect when shown on a TV screen.
These were the days when a film played at one particular theatre anywhere from nine months to two years before general release. It was sort of special when I would go to these theatres with my family. Those were the days of going to the movies. Does anyone remember when the usher wore uniforms and white gloves???
I am glad that Clear Channel is restoring the Boyd Theater, to its former glory. I worked at some of these theaters as an usher in the late sixties. Anyone else out there a former theater employee???
March 8, 2005
HARLEM, NEW YORK, NY — The long-closed Loew’s Victoria could be reborn as a hotel and entertainment venue if developers Paul Williams and Robert Jones, of Victoria Tower Development, Inc., get the approval of the theater’s owner.
According to a NY Post article, the 1917 Victoria, which was first called the Loew’s 125th Street when it opened, has stood mostly disused since it showed it last movie in 1989. The partners see the redevelopment of the movie palace as part of a revival of Harlem’s famed 125th Street commercial and entertainment district which also includes the nearby legendary Apollo Theatre.
February 28, 2005
EFFINGHAM, IL — The Lake Land College Arts and Humanities Series and Student Activity Board will partner with The HEART Theatre to host a haunted film festival starting March 2.
The event starts with a presentation of HAUNTED ILLINOIS by Troy Taylor! Taylor is the author of 33 books about ghosts and hauntings in America, and is the editor of Ghosts of the Prairie magazine, a magazine about the history, hauntings and unsolved mysteries of America. His presentation starts March 2nd, 11 am. in the Lake Land College Theatre, Mattoon, IL.
The Film Festival kick-off begins March 2nd at 5:30 pm in the LLC theatre after Troy Taylor’s presentation, with the showing of The Black Cat. The Festival will continue with two films being shown at the HEART Theatre on Courthouse Square in Downtown in Effingham on Friday March 4th: The Silence of the Lambs at 6 PM and The Blair Witch Project at 9 PM.
February 22, 2005