• April 13, 2007

    Community taking suggestions for the Garden

    PITTSBURGH, PA — Local leaders on Pittsburgh’s North Side are taking suggestions on how the Garden Theatre should be used (and what the now blank marquee should read.)

    I am hoping to see the Garden turn into a concert hall (which Pittsburgh has been lacking since the Syria Mosque closed in 1991).

    Here is the link to the Post Gazette news story.

  • April 9, 2007

    State Theatre reopens as second-run movie house

    LINCOLN, NE — Providing more of a dinner theatre experience, the State Theatre is being renovated so it can be re-opened as a second-run movie house.

    When David McNeil moved from his hometown of Portland, Ore., to the San Francisco area a few years ago, he was surprised not to find second-run “theater pubs” like those that were so successful in Portland.

    One of the first theaters they came across was the vacant State Theater in downtown Lincoln.

    McNeil said getting the building in working order, repairing the signs and marquee, and installing seating and theater equipment will be the main work done before opening.

    For more, go to the Lincoln Journal Star.

  • April 5, 2007

    Landmark Theatres takes over Ritz Theatres

    PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Ritz Theatres in Philadelphia ( the Ritz Five, Ritz at the Bourse and Ritz East) were purchased by the Landmark Theatre chain.
    According to Carrie Rickey’s article in the March 31st Philadelphia Inquirer, there will be changes. But those changes will be for the good.

    The major changes that patrons will see is that two of the 12 screens in Philadelphia will be fitted for digital projection. That will enable Center City Philadelphia movie-goers to enjoy the Met Opera series currently running as well as other digital presentations. The article can be found here at

  • April 4, 2007

    Lebowsky Center plans still being worked on

    OWOSSO, MI — Despite recent news reports about rebuilding plans for the Lebowsky Center, The Owosso Community Players have not yet made concrete decisions about rebuilding the burned out theater. Right now, the immediate plans are to remove the top six feet of the west wall above the Chemical Bank building on whose roof loose bricks from the theater’s west wall fell onto last week.

    It would take millions of dollars to rebuild the theater and the Shiawassee County area alone can’t raise that much money. The OCP is hoping that part of the rebuilding funds will come from grants from state and national agencies.

  • April 3, 2007

    New owner for Bank Street Theater

    NEW MILFORD, CT — With plans to invest more funds into renovations, this sale of the Bank Street Theater should be for the better.

    The Bank Street Theater, the village center attraction whose history dates back to the silent movie era, will soon have a new owner.

    Mayor Patricia Murphy confirmed Monday that the quiet sale of the theater to a Sherman entrepreneur for about $1 million is all but complete, though the deed has yet to be recorded in the town clerk’s office.

    In her talks with Goldring, Murphy said, she was delighted to hear his plans to fix the marquee, rejuvenate the lobby and concession area, upgrade the screening rooms and even open the now-closed balcony.

    For the full story, go to the News-Times.

  • April 2, 2007

    Fire At Historic Haltom Theater

    HALTOM CITY, TX — Around 9:00 PM on Wednesday, March 28th a fire started at Haltom Theater. By 9:30, the Haltom City Fire Department had put the fire out. Arson is suspected and most likely the cause of the fire due to a broken glass door at the side of the theater and papers (that were in boxes earlier that day) piled up and tossed around the second floor office space of the theater, directly above the Birdville Historical Museum.

    Due to the fast-acting and careful efforts of the Haltom City Fire Department, only minor water damage was sustained by a handful of items. “It could have been a lot worse,” said many members of the Birdville Historical Society & Haltom Theater Arts Committee. Concerned citizens showed up during the evening on Wednesday and some, including the fire department, stayed into the early hours of the morning moving and securing the museum items and gathering up the Haltom City Photo Contest entries that are now scheduled to be displayed at the Haltom City Library from April 2 – 17.

  • March 29, 2007

    Schlock around the clock

    QUEENS, NY — In the spirit of the upcoming film from Tarantino/Rodriguez, Lou Lumenick takes a look into New York City’s last remaining grindhouse, the Fair Theatre.

    If you want to sample Times Square moviegoing in all of its raffish glory from the 1970s and early 1980s, you don’t need a time machine – just take the M60 bus out to East Elmhurst, Queens, and be prepared to watch your back.

    On a shabby stretch of Astoria Boulevard near La Guardia Airport, the Fair Theatre is the city’s last grindhouse – a successor to the tradition of the crumbling, grimy showplaces that used to line both sides of 42nd Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue.

    But to experience an actual grindhouse requires a trip to the 70-year-old Fair Theatre – named in anticipation of the 1939-40 World’s Fair in nearby Flushing Meadows – which sits in the middle of a blocklong two-story building between 90th and 91st streets.

    Read the full story at the NY Post and you’ll also see his reference to our page for this theater as providing inspiration for this piece.

  • March 28, 2007

    Bricks fall from unstable Lebowsky Center

    OWOSSO, MI — On Friday, March 23, a number of bricks from the partially collapsed west wall of the fire damaged Lebowsky Center fell onto the adjacent Chemical Bank building. One bank employee heard the rumbling overhead and left the area to inform others. There was no apparent damage to the bank building.

    Owosso’s building inspector said an emergency abatement has been issued for the removal of the unstable sections of the west and north walls of the theater. No one is allowed inside the fire damaged theater and adjacent eastern portion of the bank building now until the unstable portions are removed. Demolition has been slowed by seasonal load limit laws keeping heavy machinery off the roads during the spring months, but a demolition company will begin work by Wednesday.

  • March 27, 2007

    Theater doubles as a church on weekends

    SANDY, OR — Unlike other theaters that were rescued from demolition to be used as places of worship, the Sandy Cinema is holding services for a local church just because they need the extra space. They even incorporate movie clips into the service sometimes.

    There’s a dedicated group of local residents who show up at Sandy Cinema every weekend. The group — about 50 people strong — isn’t there to see Hollywood’s newest releases or even for the popcorn.

    They are going to church.

    On Feb. 18, Sandy’s Fellowship Bible Church moved its Sunday services from 5 p.m. at the Community Presbyterian Church to 9 a.m. at the cinema, a switch that Senior Pastor Gregg Chastain says holds a lot of promise for the 25-year-old church.

    “This (new facility) puts us in a place where we can actually grow,” said Chastain. “I think lots of people are just happy to be meeting in the morning again.”

    It’s definitely an interesting look at the alternative uses for a theater while still showing films. To read the full story, go to the Sandy Post.

  • March 26, 2007

    Happy 75th, Grandin Theatre

    ROANOKE, VA — Today, the Grandin Theatre celebrates 75 years of service. Operating as a nonprofit theater since reopening following a restoration five years ago, the Grandin is delighting audiences to this day.

    The Grandin Theatre, which turns 75 on Monday, is a relic of Roanoke’s golden age of theaters, when movie palaces such as the American Theater on Jefferson Street were a source of city pride. Roanoke had as many as 11 downtown movie houses in the early decades of the 20th century.

    All of them — the American, the Jefferson, the Park, the Rialto, the Roanoke and the rest — have since fallen under the wrecking ball. The Grandin, despite many a twist and turn in its long history, has survived.

    For more along with a detailed look at some of the highlights in its 75 years, visit the Roanoke Times.