December 30, 2008
DES MOINES, IA — Last week, the Varsity Theatre reached its 70th Anniversary and it’s still going strong.
Bev Mahon still keeps a grainy photocopy of a newspaper advertisement that was published in early 1939. The Varsity Theater had just opened, and the advertorial boasted that it was “not just another theater, but in a setting as picturesque as the locality it represents a charming place to spend your entertainment hours, leisurely, unobtrusively.”
When one considers that description, the Varsity hasn’t changed all that much during the years. On Christmas Day, the single-screen theater across the street from historic Drake University will reach a milestone of its own — its 70th anniversary.
Read more in the Des Moines Register.
December 24, 2008
OAKLAND, CA — After its closing as a movie venue in 1972 the Fox Oakland faced the same threat as many comparable movie palaces. It was scheduled to be demolished in favor of a parking lot in the 1980s. In the 1990s it was scheduled to be sliced up into several smaller theatres. Dedicated preservationists who realized the importance of the theatre rallied to save it at every step and finally, after 20+ years, it has finally been brought back to its original spectacular condition and is scheduled to officially reopen February 5, 2009.
Bill Graham productions has leased the theatre for the next year and will present live venues only. There are no present plans for any film venues at the theatre.
To see over 100 photographs of the theatre before, during and after its renovation go to the following site: http://www.nbphoto.com/#mi=2&pt=1π=10000&s=14&p=0&a=0&at=0 Once there click new then click Fox Theatre. You won’t be disappointed. The restored theatre is amazing.
(Thanks to pbo31 for providing the photo.)
December 22, 2008
QUINCY, MA — A return could be coming for the Wollaston Theater.
Shuttered for the past five years, the Wollaston Theatre, a survivor from the golden age of theaters, could be returning as a community centerpiece.
According to a broker handling the property, a group of individuals and organizations involved in the arts has signed a purchase and sale agreement with the estate of Arthur Chandler. Chandler, who died in April, had owned the theater since 1979 and operated it until its closing in 2003.
Read the full story in the Boston Globe
ORLANDO, FL — The city council is diverting funds so downtown can finally get a movie theater.
The Orlando City Council on Dec. 15 approved a deal that would provide $6 million to the owners of the long-awaited downtown movie theater.
Beverly Hills, Calif.-based RP Realty Partners LLC, which last week told Orlando Business Journal it secured a movie theater operator for its mixed-use The Plaza, will receive the funds through two special assessments levied by the city. The first is a $2.5 million retail assessment to be paid to the city over 15 years, and the second is a $3.5 million parking assessment paid over 10 years.
Read more in the Orlando Business Journal.
December 15, 2008
Karen Noonan, president of the Theatre Historical Society, has sent the following sad news:
The theater world has lost a tremendous historian, researcher and friend. Former THS President and Marquee editor STEVE LEVIN passed away suddenly on Saturday (Dec 13) after a short illness. Steve was also very active in ATOS as well. This leaves a deep void in our lives, an important voice is gone.
We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and to our friends at THS during this difficult time. He will, indeed, be sorely missed.
December 5, 2008
This ends former owner Craig Spencer’s 6 years of operating the single screen, 2nd run theater.
The Heights has continually screened films since 1949 except for the 2 years prior to Spencer renovating in 2002.
December 3, 2008
ORLAND PARK, IL — Marcus Theatres has installed a new 70-foot-wide UltraScreen at the Orland Park Cinema. It was unveiled November 26th in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
It was installed in a 400-seat auditorium that has been renovated from the ground up.
In addition to the UltraScreen, the hall is using Crown Digital D-Chain amplifiers and JBL ScreenArray speakers.
November 26, 2008
PARK RIDGE, IL — The Pickwick Theatre will celebrate its 80th anniversary by playing the same silent film it played when it opened: “Lilac Time” with Gary Cooper and Colleen Moore.
The theater, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is distinctive for its 100-foot art deco tower. It has been in continuous operation since 1928 without any modification to the original auditorium and has been owned by the same family since 1967.
Read more about the history of the theater in the Norridge-Harwood Heights News.
November 21, 2008
ANCHORAGE, AK — To drum up some business, the Fireweed Cinemas has lowered their admission to $3 for all shows. While this normally wouldn’t be too surprising, the fact that it’s owned by Regal stands out. Could they do this in other markets?
Regal Entertainment Group, the nation’s largest movie theater operator, recently premiered the bargain ticket sales at the Fireweed, evidently as a way to draw in more customers to the venerable movie house at the corner of Fireweed Lane and Gambell Street.
Before the change, an evening show cost $9.75 and a matinee $6.75.
Theater workers are telling patrons that films at the Fireweed won’t be first-run. Rather, they’ll be films that have been in release for a few weeks.
Read the full story in the Anchorage Daily News.