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.”
July 21, 2005
SAYRE, OK — I spoke with Main Street in Sayre today and the Stovall Theatre remains vacant. There is grant money to purchase the theatre and to repait the roof.
There are many theatres in the west that I would like to help restore. Does anyone know of a group that saves old theatres?
They did it with Light houses – why not our entertainment venues. If anyone would like to contact me on such an organization- and or starting one, I would appreciate it.
Telephone: (719) 328-0644
July 15, 2005
DUNSMUIR, CA — On June 26th, the three-story California Theater held its first live performance in many years; and on July 8th & 9th, it was home to several silent movies that were accompanied by a three-manual Allen Theater Organ. The original 1926 Wurlitzer Pipe Organ is being restored; and will be reinstalled, come Jan 2006.
The web address is http://institutearts.org and there’s a lot to read. My job is Gen Mgr. of Media and I’m licensing and installing an FM radio station and a UHF television station inside the theater. I’m also installing an audio/visual recording/production facility in conjunction with the radio & TV stations.
We’re also talking with an official of New London, CT about acquiring and doing a major refurbishing of the 1200+ seat Capitol Theater the city owns, which has been closed for 28 years. A new roof was put on in 2000, but MAJOR damage had already been done. If you’re in that area, and would like to help us refurbish it, please contact me.
July 13, 2005
LEXINGTON, KY — I would like to let you know of a documentary about the Kentucky Theatre. The film follows the eighty year history of the theater through archival photos and interviews, the battle with suburban multiplexes as seen in news film reels, and the devastating fire which led to the theater’s closing.
A love for the theatre led a group of citizens to rise up and resurrect and refurbish the theatre which is very much alive today.
The film not only shows what a shining treasure the theatre is to the downtown of a small southern city, but its influence on generations of patrons, as shown throughout the film. As director of the film, it is my hope that this story can act as a model for other cities wishing to bring back their own downtown treasures.
You can see a photos and a clip from the film at:
July 11, 2005
According to a news report published by a Chinese language newspaper in Hong Kong, the city will have a commercial IMAX theater to be operated by UA next year. The theatre will be converted from an existing UA theatre. The measurement of the screen is 11m X 11m.