May 23, 2008
PORTSMOUTH, OH — Lee Scott, the co-owner of the Columbia Music Hall, which burned in November 2007 as the result of what the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, state and local agencies determined to be arson, has filed a civil rights complaint against the city’s police chief and the police department.
Scott who had previously been active in city politics and had helped recall a mayor that opposed his restoring the then closed movie theater, had been quoted in the Daily Times 12 hours before the fire as declining to pay for extra police protection.
May 22, 2008
NEW YORK, NY — After shooting the pilot episode at the historic former Repertory Theatre of Boston (Boston University Theatre) in January, ‘Project Ghostlight’ is ready for the spotlight. The series created by SchoonerScout productions explores the lost history of America’s theatres. Legend, lore, and the lure of the supernatural set the stage for a haunting experience.
See the video on YouTube for a preview.
David Naylor’s Great American Movie Theaters was one of the first books I ever read about classic cinemas. In fact, the book was a major inspiration for this website. I remember going online in 1997-1998 trying to find information on many of the theaters Naylor profiled. That search led Patrick and I to found Cinema Treasures in 1999 as a site where we could house updated information, share it, and help others find theaters around the world to visit (and to eulogize).
So it is with considerable excitement that Naylor and the Theatre Historical Society of America have announced a new, updated edition of that wonderful guide book. According to THSA, “The revised edition will retain the style and flavor of the original and again will be arranged by geographic region, with a state-by-state listing of movie palaces and neighborhood cinemas.” The book is slated for publication in Spring 2009.
This time, Naylor, too, is harnessing the power of the Internet and the community of movie theater fans around the world by soliciting submissions for the new book. Karen Noonan of THSA writes:
In order to be considered, we have devised the following criteria that each submission must meet:
- Located in the United States.
- Still standing, whether operating or not.
- Built originally as a single auditorium/performance space.
- Presented films on a regular basis at some point in its history.
- Retains some architectural integrity from its use as a movie theater.
We would also like to invite Cinema Treasures' members to participate as well! We have links on our website to the criteria, rules and submission forms.
The deadline is June 1, 2008 so don’t wait to submit your favorites! This is a great opportunity to highlight your local Cinema Treasure and share it with the world. I know I’ll be first in line to get the new edition.
A press release appears below the fold:
May 19, 2008
DETROIT, MI — Nederlander Detroit, management company for the Fisher Theatre, announced today that the famed venue for performing arts will begin a multi-million dollar renovation this month in preparation for one of its biggest seasons of Broadway in Detroit. The major refurbishment project includes several new public bars in the lobby, restroom improvements, and the addition of an all-new, private party room.
Renovations will be completed just in time to raise the curtain later this Fall for the first of six sensational shows all appearing at the Fisher Theatre for the 2008-2009 Broadway in Detroit subscription series. The season opens with Avenue Q, the smash hit 2004 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book (November 2008), followed by A Bronx Tale starring Chazz Palminteri (November – December 2008), A Chorus Line (January 2009), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (March 2009), Grease (June 2009) and Jersey Boys (November 2009). Additionally, subscribers will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets to the triumphant return of Wicked (December 2008 – January 2009).
May 14, 2008
BINGHAMTON, NY — As they continue to figure out the future plans for the Riviera Theatre, the owners have been cited for not filling out the necessary paperwork and let it fall into disrepair.
The company that owns the Stone Opera House was fined $100 for failing to register the Chenango Street building as a vacant property with the city, said Wilson “Doc” Rigdon, one of the company’s partners.
The city’s vacant-property ordinance requires owners to submit a plan to rehabilitate, demolish or maintain and secure an empty building. Last month, the city took Stone Opera House LLC to court for failing to register the building.
Read the original article in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.
May 13, 2008
FLINT, MI — When this writer took in “What Happens in Vegas” at the US 23 Twin Drive-in Theatre, it was learned that the drive-in’s owner Lou Warrington suffered a serious heart attack last year which left him homebound. He is 71. His 74-year-old wife Diane is doing double duty by caring for her ailing husband and managing the drive-in. It is the belief of Diane Warrington and the drive-in staff that is the final year of operation for the US-23 Twin Drive-in. The Warrington family is seriously considering putting the drive-in property on the market. The most likely fate is redevelopment. There is a small Kroger supermarket adjacent to the drive in. The Warringtons would be willing to sell the propety to Kroger if the price is right.
Word is that the only reason the rival Miracle Twin Drive-in Theatre is still open is because the US 23 Twin is still open. So if the US 23 Twin closes permanently, so will the Miracle Twin. So with the recent news of the two drive-ins' season opening, it is likely that this is the final year for the two drive-ins.
The Moreland is just one of the vintage neighborhood movie theaters on Portland’s east side that still draw customers in an age of multiplexes, rentals, video on demand and “living room” theaters. Portlanders, unusually devoted to their neighborhood theaters, go to the Bagdad, the Hollywood, the Clinton Street Theater and others to mingle with neighbors, marvel at the theaters' ornate beauty and taste a simpler time.
“Portland’s a pretty good city when it comes to maintaining vintage movie theaters,” says Ross Melnick, a 33-year-old movie industry veteran studying for a doctorate in film history at the University of California at Los Angeles.
May 8, 2008
SACRAMENTO, CA — With a decision on its future still looking, the Sacramento 6 is still operating for the time being.
The on-again, off-again plan to demolish the aging drive-in theater along Bradshaw Road is delayed again.
Sacramento 6 is the last drive-in theater in the region.
Read the full story in the Sacramento Bee.
May 7, 2008
LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission has recommended that the art deco Majestic Crest in Westwood be given Landmark status. The theater opened in 1940 and underwent major renovations led by Joseph Musil (who later redid the El Capitan theater) in 1987 that transformed it into a neighborhood gem.
The theater, half a mile south of UCLA, features Art Deco Revival architecture and an elaborate hand-painted interior mural that pays homage to Hollywood’s gilded age. The city’s Cultural Heritage Commission has recommended that the Crest be declared a historic-cultural monument, and a key Los Angeles City Council committee is expected to support the nomination today. Those actions are expected to clear the way for approval by the full council.
Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.
Also check out this one from the same paper that talks about the neighboring Westwood Village with some mentions of its theater history.