• June 18, 2008

    Capitol Theater : The vaudeville theater that time forgot

    Hi, my name is Larry. I own two vaudeville theaters in Butler, PA. The Lyric Theatre, opened in 1908, now houses the main bar and dining areas of my restaurant: The Brick House. You can view it as it looks now at my website. Sorry, the stage and other elements were long gone by the time I arrived to weld my hammer and paint brush.

    But, I have a secret. Along side the Lyric Theater was The Capitol Theater. And it’s still there!!! It sits on the second floor in “the land that time forgot”. That’s what I call it anyway. Closed in the early 1950’s, it was saved by The Eat ‘n Park Corp. – A Pittsburgh area chain restaurant. They built a downtown Butler location in the early 70’s on the first floor of the Capitol Theater building, carefully preserving the theater above.

    The Capitol is in disrepair but I am currently seeking funding to restore it to its original splendor. There are even dressing rooms where the vaudeville actors must have changed! So while I respect that you have the Butler Theatre listed (I can send you pics) I have the last remaining vaudeville theater in the area. More in the near future.


  • June 16, 2008

    Old Town Theatre owner requests $6M loan

    WICHITA, KS — The owner of the Old Town Theatre is looking for help from the city in order for the theatre to keep going.

    Bill Warren is asking the Wichita City Council for a $6 million low-interest loan and a reduction of parking fees in order to keep his Old Town theater open.

    According to an analysis by the city’s staff, “The Old Town Theatre is a popular destination in Old Town and serves as a major attraction to bring patrons to the Old Town area. However, its relatively small size, compared to norms in the movie theater industry, has created negative economies of scale that have resulted in significant financial losses during the theater’s first five years of operation.”

    Read the full story in the Wichita Business Journal.

  • Breaking down southwest Michigan’s drive-in theaters

    In this chronicle, discusses the state of southwest Michigan drive-in theaters.

    This is the first in a three-part series looking at Southwest Michigan’s drive-in theaters. This summer marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of the nation’s first drive-in theater in Camden, N.J. It’s also the 70th anniversary of the first Michigan drive-in theater, the Eastside Drive-In Theater in Harper Woods, which opened May 26, 1938, and closed in 1977. Today, there are nearly 400 theaters across the country and 10 permanent theaters in the state.

  • June 9, 2008

    Novato future in doubt

    NOVATO, CA — The Novato Theatre has a party interested in reviving it but could it possibly be successful. This article discusses the current situation of this and other Northern California theaters.

    • Will Tallen and Keshen hand over the theater’s operations to a nonprofit organization, such as the one that runs the Rafael Theater in San Rafael?

    • Would Tallen and Keshen install tables and sell beer, wine and food so that moviegoers could have drinks and dinner?

    How can Tallen and Keshen make a profit after buying the theater from the city and completing needed renovations, such as making the old building comply with Americans with Disabilities Act?

    Read the full article in the Novato Advance.

  • June 6, 2008

    A Summer Senator

    BALTIMORE, MD — This week at Blogcritics, praise is given to the historic Senator Theatre.

    This 69-year old movie theater is one of the last bastions of motion picture elegance, especially in this neck of the woods. This is no generic multiplex, but a true movie house. Its single screen is sized just short of a football field, and shows the pictures larger than life, which is how movies are meant to be seen, if you ask me.

    The lobby is small and round, holding onto its faded elegance with due dignity. Past the concession stand lies the screening room: tall, wide, and comfortable. It’s as though you’ve come to sit in the great hall of a king’s palace. You would never expect it from the street, but when you take your choice of the 900 seats, it feels special.

    What makes the Senator great, though, is not just the building. Buildings fade and crumble, after all. No, what makes the Senator great, what makes it an experience, is its character.

  • June 3, 2008

    Murdo theater may re-open

    MURDO, SD — The Murdo Theater might reopen thanks to a dedicated community.

    Kevin Moore, director of the Turner Youth Foundation in Jones County, said the group has been collecting money for three years to fix up the closed movie house. He said $36,000 has been raised for the effort, and volunteers hope to get about $86,000 to complete the project.

    Moore says the theater, which was built in the early 1940s, was open for about three decades.

    Since it closed, Murdo residents have driven about 55 miles to Pierre to see movies. More recently, they also have gone to Philip, which reopened its theater three years ago.

    Read the full story in the Rapid City Journal.

  • June 2, 2008

    Carbondale’s Varsity to become live theater venue

    CARBONDALE, IL — A partnership has been formed between two arts groups in Carbondale seeking to transform the former Varsity Theatre into a center for the arts. Carbondale Community Arts and The Stage Co. have joined up to bring the former movie house, closed by Kerasotes Theatres in 2003, back to life as the Varsity Center for the Arts.

    The entire renovation project is supposed to cost about $3 million according to Jack Langowski, board chairman of the Stage Co. One auditorium and the lobby are expected to open by this fall, in time for The Stage’s 27th season’s kick-off. Another 300-to-400-seat theater, a gallery and intermission space should be completed by 2012, as funds become available.

    The city of Carbondale has been trying to decide the best use for the building since November 2007, when Kerasotes announced it was donating the theater building to the city for community use.

    Read more on this story in the article in The Southern.

  • May 31, 2008

    Boyd Update: Philly Mayor Nutter Supports Boyd

    PHILADELPHIA, PA: The following was sent in from Friends of the Boyd:

    The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia nominated the Boyd Theatre on May 28, 2008 for designation by the Philadelphia Historical Commission. Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter announced on May 29, 2008, his support for the nomination and pledged to work to preserve the building. Click here to read the Mayor’s statement.

    The Historical Commission notified Boyd Theatre owner Live Nation and scheduled a hearing before its Designation Committee for July 16, 2008. Friends of the Boyd president Howard Haas asserted the Boyd Theatre long ago should have been designated. “It has a beautiful art deco exterior with many original decorative elements intact. It’s about time it was recognized as a landmark.” Inga Saffron reported the story in the May 30, 2008 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer and it also aired that day on KYW Radio.

  • May 30, 2008

    Varsity update

    Here’s an update on the Varsity Theatre in Martin Tennessee, which I covered in my blog, Marathon Pundit:

    My Mississippi Manifest Destiny—The Varsity Theatre in Martin, Tennessee

    (The photo I took myself, two weeks ago)

  • Closed movie house photo gallery published Wednesday

    ST. LOUIS, MO — The Riverfront Times, the city’s alternative weekly newspaper, posted on Wednesday a photo slide show of several closed movie houses in the St. Louis area and two in Illinois. Most recently closed in the group is the Hi-Pointe Theatre in St. Louis, which is undergoing renovations and new management. The art-house theater’s marquee reads, “Gone Fishin' / See You Soon.” Moviegoers here are anxiously awaiting the opening of the theater, which had fallen into disrepair in recent years.

    Photo slide show link