August 22, 2005
The Balaban and Katz Historical Foundation has been formed to collect and preserve historical data pertaining to the Balaban and Katz theater corporation. We have a new website and blog at www.balabanandkatzfoundation.com. The foundation’s first project, a book entitled,“ The Chicago Movie Palaces of Balaban and Katz.” is scheduled for release from Arcadia Publishing in December of 2005.
We are working on an extremely detailed Balaban and Katz television documentary featuring Hollywood personalities, former Balaban and Katz employees and family members … to be released soon.
Please visit our site and share any Balaban and Katz memories or wisdom. Contact David Balaban at Stay tuned for details.
The national coverage of moviegoing continues with new articles from New York Times and Time Magazine. Both articles examine the recent trend towards “luxury” moviegoing and the amenities offered by circuits such as Muvico, Pacific (Arclight), and National Amusements (Cinema de Lux).
Where is moviegoing and theater construction headed? Can older theaters remain viable? Is the “crisis” at the box office another bit of media hype? What does the future hold for the movie theater?
Sound off in our comments section.
August 16, 2005
In the Aug. 8 edition of Entertainment Weekly, the magazine named its ‘Top 10’ theaters in the United States.
No. 1 on the list was the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas.
Also making the grade (in no particular order):
• The Kennedy School in Portland, OR
• The Muvico Paradise 24 in Davie, FL
• The Oriental in Milwaukee, WI
• The Castro in San Francisco, CA
• The Senator in Baltimore, MD
• The Film Forum in New York, NY
• The ArcLight in Hollywood, CA
• Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA
• Cable Car Cinema in Providence, RI
August 15, 2005
MARIETTA, PA — The Marietta Theatre has been purchased by Marietta Restoration Associates.
The theater, opened in 1914, was the oldest operating motion picture theater in Penna and among the oldest in the United States when it closed in 1997.
The Association is a non profit organization which helps to restore old buildings in this small town. They will hold public meetings to determine future uses for the theater. They expect to have the theater open for tours during the town’s annual Candlelight tour on Dec. 4th.
However the seats, organ, and most of the furnishings have been removed.
August 11, 2005
DES PLAINES, IL — The 1925 Des Plaines Theatre in downtown Des Plaines may soon have Miner Street glowing again with the neon lights of its marquee, according to the Daily Herald. Much-needed repairs on the theater’s marquee are expected to be completed by October 7-9th, when the Des Plaines will celebrate its 80th anniversary. Repairs to the sign include electrical work and a new paint job.
The Des Plaines Theatre Preservation Society is playing host to the celebration, which will feature one of the first films to play at the theater, W.C. Fields' “Sally of the Big Sawdust”, which will be accompanied by live organ music. (The Des Plaines actually opened with “The Unholy Three” starring Lon Chaney). Ticket prices for the anniversary weekend will be the same as in 1925, a quarter. Since last year, the Society has been presenting classic films and other events, while Bollywood features continue to play on the theater’s second screen.
August 10, 2005
Auditoria news reports on August 4th 2005:
Historic theatre archive to go online
Theatres Trust awarded grant
An image database of up to 3,000 British theatres is to be made available to the public for the first time through an online archive being created by the Theatres Trust.
The organisation has been awarded a GBP50,000 (USD89,000) grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and hopes to upload some 8,000 images on to its website by the end of 2006. These include engravings going back to the early 19th century and photographs and posters from the turn of the 20th. There are also pictures of lost buildings, original plans of existing theatres and up-to-date photographs.
“We have this huge resource, probably the biggest source of information about theatre buildings in the country, but up until now no one has really known about it,” says Peter Longman, Theatres Trust director.
August 8, 2005
AUGUSTA, GA – According to the Augusta Chronicle, the historic Miller Theater was purchased last week by Augusta businessman Peter S. Knox IV. Opened in 1940 and closed since the mid-1980s, the theater will be repaired and eventually redeveloped either for “renovation” or “mothballing,” according to a statement.
According to the Chronicle, “The Miller Theater was owned by Martinez resident Homer H. Boyd, who was facing a foreclosure sale today on the property because of more than $5,200 in delinquent taxes from 2003 and 2004 … The theater has been the focus of a grass roots effort to save it from dilapidation and was marketed through the Web page www.friendsofthemiller.com.”
If anybody has any historical media or information that they wouldn’t mind contributing to the Miller Theater website, please visit the official website and use the contact link at the bottom of the page.
August 1, 2005
LOS ANGELES, CA — The long-vacant Million Dollar Theatre on Broadway, which opened in 1918 for Sid Grauman, could be reopened soon as a concert venue (in the main auditorium) and cafe (in the lobby space).
Robert Voskanian, who manages the Stock Exchange nightclub, has recently signed a lease with the Million Dollar’s owner, the Yellin Company, which would bring the 2000-plus seat former movie palace back to life. Its last use was as a church.
Voskanian predicts that the Million Dollar “is going to bring a lot of people downtown”. Yellin Company vice president Anne Peaks adds, “We hope everything comes together because we think it would be wonderful for Broadway.”
It seems that the decline of drive-in movie theaters across the U.S. is being somewhat reversed in Texas.
A recent AP story pointed out the reversal of a trend which has seen the closing of drive-ins across the U.A. It seems that Texas is having a mini-boom in new drive-ins and rehabbing of existing ones.
Texas drive-ins are seeing the biggest surge in decades, with at least five outdoor theaters opening since 2003. The latest opened in Killeen, near the Fort Hood military post, on July 1, and a new two-screen in the West Texas town of Midland is expected to open in August. Here’s the full story.
July 28, 2005
BROOKLYN, NY — The 1928 Fortway Theatre in Dyker Heights, which closed in June, has been gutted, according to the New York Daily News. Work began in early July. The former single-screen movie palace was acquired by Trident Developers, who insist, despite the doubts of neighbors, that the Fortway is not going to become housing.
“Absolutely no condos,” says Bob Geroulanos of Trident Developers. “We don’t have a tenant yet, but it will be developed for a commercial tenant’s use.” Locals already miss the theater. “My kids grew up in that theater,” says Sarah Massie, “It’s a sin they’ve closed it down. It was a place you could send them and not have to worry about them.”