• March 14, 2007

    Lebowsky Center fire blamed on arson

    OWOSSO, MI — While test results are still pending, fire investigators believe the fire which destroyed the Lebowsky Center was deliberately set.

    Reward posters have been placed on the theater offering up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction on arson charges.

    The Owosso Community Players have 15 days to demolish the portions of the theater deemed unsafe, particularly the sagging east and west walls.

  • March 13, 2007

    Loew’s Kings still fighting for survival

    BROOKLYN, NY — Not much news on the future of the Loew’s Kings. Proposals have been received for its future but nothing more. However, the article does go in detail into the genesis of the term, “wonder theater.”

    Last fall, the New York City Economic Development Corporation asked for suggestions from developers on what to do with the Kings. Andrew Brent, a spokesman for the agency, will say only that more than one proposal has been received and that the city will try to move beyond the initial stage of the project later this spring. In its solicitation, the city noted that the building had suffered “substantial damage and deterioration.” For instance, the roofs over its retail spaces have collapsed.

    What distinguished the five wonder theaters from the other Loew’s picture palaces was never really clear. Indeed, a 1930 ad in The New York Times included the Loew’s Pitkin, also in Brooklyn, as one of its “Big 5 Wonder Theaters” although theater-history buffs do not include it on their lists.

    To read the full article, go to the New York Times(reg rq'rd)

  • March 9, 2007

    Senator Theatre slated for city Landmark Status

    BALTIMORE, MD — With the fight over to prevent an auction, measures are now being taken to ensure the Senator Theatre’s future through landmarking.

    Alarmed by The Senator Theatre’s close call with the auction block last month, Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) voted unanimously… to recommend to the City Council that the 67-year-old Art Deco building be designated a landmark.

    The commission voted also to write a letter to the City Council urging it to support the Senator’s continued existence as a first-run movie theater. The Senator is the last single-screen movie house in Baltimore, which once had more than 175.

    The Full Article is available from theBaltimore Sun.

  • March 8, 2007

    Lebowsky fire update and photos

    OWOSSO, MI — In researching my article about the Capitol Theatre/Lebowski/Lebowsky Center, I found some vintage photos of the theater’s front facade. One is a 1948 photo of the Capitol Theatre, before it was renovated in 1952. The 1952 marquee fabricated by the Long Sign Company of Detroit had horizontal neon letters spelling out “CAPITOL” mounted on top of each side of the marquee.

    Another is a 1986 photo taken shortly after a church took over the theater and was given the “Lebowski” name with the “CAPITOL” neon letters removed. After the Lebowsky family foreclosed on the church and the Owosso Community Players took it over, the Lebowsky spelling was changed.

  • March 6, 2007

    Small-town theaters added to Texas' Most Endangered List

    Preservation Texas has included Historic Small Town Theaters on its 2007 Most Endangered List. The Austin-based advocacy group included theaters such as the Palace Theater in Brady, McCulloch County, as part of a 12-site list that seeks to focus attention and resources on disappearing and endangered historical assets. And though Houston is not necessarily a small town, the list placed emphasis on the River Oaks and Alabama Theaters, which are endangered by redevelopment.

    “Historic theaters deserve an encore as part of Main Street developments that are revitalizing small towns and it is important that they are protected and restored instead of demolished,” stated a February news release from Preservation Texas.

    For more information, go to Preservation Texas.

  • March 1, 2007

    Howard Theatre could return as jazz center

    WASHINGTON, DC — With a renewed commitment from the community, the Howard Theater is being proposed to be renovated into an artistic center and home for jazz.

    Gordon and scores of others who played hooky to see jazz and Motown greats perform at the Howard shared their memories yesterday at the Carnegie Library, where they were told of plans by a local developer to revive the historic theater, at 7th and T streets NW.

    The Howard, built in 1910, was once the nation’s premier venue for black performers, an essential stop on the “chitlin circuit” that included Baltimore’s Royal, Philadelphia’s Uptown, and New York’s Apollo theaters.

    For more, go to the Washington Post.

  • February 27, 2007

    Lebowsky Center fire investigation continues

    OWOSSO, MI — While the Owosso Community Players stage “Beauty and the Beast” at Owosso Middle School, they hope to at least salvage part of the burned out Lebowsky Center as an in-depth joint investigation of the fire by federal, state and local officials takes place after the OCP’s insurance company gave the green light and will hire their own investigator to assist in the effort.

    Engineers and building inspectors will determine the theater’s fate, but there is a good possibility that the undamaged front facade will be preserved. More details from theOwosso Argus-Press.

  • Toronto’s Revue Cinema loses its marquee

    TORONTO, CANADA — Toronto’s 94-year-old Revue Cinema lost its marquee early Sunday morning (Feb. 18) when it collapsed and fell onto the sidewalk.

    It is believed that the weight of recent snowfall was the final straw and that the marquee had become rotten at its core. Luckily it fell at 3 AM so no one was injured.

    The Revue was most recently part of the Festival Cinema chain. It closed its doors last June 30 after the owners decided to sell the chain. A local group was trying to save the cinema for local theatre and cultural events plus the occasional movie. So this comes as a big blow to them.

  • February 22, 2007

    1951 B&W photo of Memphis' Main Street

    I have this photo of Main Street in Memphis, TN, dtd 1951, showing parts of Loew’s State, and Strand theaters. If interested, please send me your email address and I’ll forward it on to you.

  • February 21, 2007

    City of Pittsburgh to take possession of Garden Theater

    PITTSBURGH, PA — After years of legal battles the former venue for adult films, the Garden Theater, has been sold to the city. Following some cleanup, the Urban Redevelopment Authority will start showing it to developers so it can be the centerpiece of a revived neighborhood.

    With 10 years of legal battle now behind them, the Urban Redevelopment Authority expects to take possession of the X-rated Garden Theatre as soon as Wednesday.

    URA building manager Marino Marangoni said this morning he expects at least three months of cleaning and clearing out debris will be needed before developers can be shown the space.

    Owner George Androtsakis inked a $1.1 million agreement yesterday to turn over the venue that the city first tried to take by eminent domain during Mayor Tom Murphy’s administration.

    To read more on this, go to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.