September 12, 2002
NEW YORK, NY — The Apollo Theater Foundation, which currently operates the historic Harlem theater, has announced the resignation of Derek Q. Johnson, the foundation’s president and chief executive. The announcement follows a decision to scale back plans to increase the size and capability of the former movie house.
According to the New York Times, plans to expand the the Apollo into an adjacent lot and incorporate the nearby Victoria Theater have been cancelled due to economic concerns. The foundation will now focus on its current renovation of the Apollo only and may revisit the expansion effort in the future.
Johnson will step down on September 30th and will focus on other real estate development options. Meanwhile, the Apollo’s initial $12 million external renovation will be completed by early 2003 with a $38 million restoration of the interior to follow.
(Thanks to Dennis Huber for the update.)
NEW YORK, NY — Jean has sent in some new information on the St. George Theatre located in the New York City borough of Staten Island. Organizers are currently trying to save the beleaguered movie palace and need your help.
We are restoring, repairing and revitalizing one of New York’s most amazing performance spaces. Built in 1928, this 2,800 seat venue has seen a lot of changes over the years. In earlier days it was home to opera, vaudeville and film. The past few years have been less kind. Neglect and apathy nearly did in the St. George. We believe something this magnificent needs to be saved, needs to be restored, and needs to live again.
Every Saturday is volunteer day. It’s also tour day. Anyone who wants a tour of this beautiful old place can have one. Here’s where we need your help. We are seeking cheerful, bright and energetic people to meet and greet people as they wander into the St. George. We are also seeking donations of any size. We are a not-for-profit group and all donations go toward this restoration project. Your generousity is greatly appreciated and sorely needed.
Volunteer days every Saturday 9am to 6pm. We are located at 31 Hyatt Street, 1 block from the Staten Island Ferry. If you want to help clean and repair wear old clothes and bring gloves. If you want to be a tour guide wear more formal attire.
I have visited this theater and it is one of the grandest theaters still standing in the New York City area. Most of the interior is intact. Many of the old ads remain on the walls. The murals line the interior walls.
There are several fireplaces inside. Stained glass chandeliers hang from the ceilings and sconces adorn the walls. The theater just needs some TLC in order to bring it back to its former glory.
For more information on the theater, or to view a number of photos of its grand interior, please visit their website. And if you’re in the NY area, please consider visiting the St. George or helping to bring it back to life.
(Thanks to Jean for the update!)
September 11, 2002
All of us at Cinema Treasures would like to pause today and remember the victims and their families during the one-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
Being in New York on that day is a memory we’d all like to forget … but never will.
Our thoughts and prayers are now with the victims in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and here in New York, and their grieving families around the world.
— Cinema Treasures Staff
KENOSHA, WI — The Citizens Group for the Kenosha Theatre has planned an open house in the historic Kenosha Theatre for Saturday, September 14th from about 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The open house will concentrate on the restoration efforts so far, and a portion of the theater will be open for viewing.
“Unfortunately, with the theater’s current condition, we can’t open all of the building for tours right now, but we want to spark community interest and get citizens involved,” says Pete Christy, Secretary of the group. “That, and we will also have volunteers working on Saturday.”
The 2,200-seat Kenosha was built in 1927 and closed in 1963. This year’s open house will coincide with Kenosha’s first annual downtown “Maxwell Street Days” Festival.
The theater is located at 5915 6th Avenue, about 7 blocks south of Kenosha City Hall.
(Thanks to Pete Christy for the update!)
PHILADELPHIA, PA — Another event being held this Saturday will benefit the drive to save the historic Sameric Theatre. The following message has been sent in from ‘Ira’:
This Saturday, September 14th at 1 p.m.,in front of the Sameric, we’re going meet to have a flyer drive to really keep our name and website out there in the minds of Philadelphians.
We could use as many volunteers as possible to help distribute and post flyers in businesses around the city. It will also give us a chance to contact local business people who will benefit from having a fabulous restored movie palace in Center City.
I hope to see you there.
(Thanks to the Committee to Save the Sameric for the news.)
September 10, 2002
FORT WORTH, TX — The Latin Arts Association, which leases the Rose Marine Theater from the city of Fort Worth, has announced its purchase of a three-story former market, which is adjacent to the old movie house, in order to expand its capabilities.
According to the Star-Telegram, the additional 12,000 square foot building will be converted into “a rehearsal hall, a dressing room, an art gallery, offices, a kitchen area and a loading dock” for the Rose Marine Theater. The expansion is scheduled to be completed in a year and a half.
The former 244-seat cinema has been the center piece of the revival of the Mexican-American community in the city’s north side ever since the Rose Marine reopened in 2000 after laying dormant for three decades.
(Thanks to Dennis Huber for the update!)
CHICAGO, IL — The Chicago International Film Festival kicks off this year on October 4th at the Chicago Theatre where first night filmgoers will be treated to a 20-minute tribute to this year’s honoree, Pierce Brosnan. According to the Chicago Tribune, all other screenings will be held at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema and the Music Box.
The festival continues until October 18th with a closing-night screening of “Frida”, the new Frida Kahlo biopic starring Salma Hayek. For more information, call (312) 332-FILM, or visit the festival’s website.
TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA — Elsewhere, the Toronto International Film Festival is currently underway with screenings at the Uptown and Varsity theaters as well as other area venues. The festival continues until Saturday, September 14th.
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft and Chad Irish.)
September 9, 2002
WEST HAZELTON, PA — The Key Theatre, which has been in operation since 1917, closed last week due to failing attendance. According to a report sent in by Jonathan M. Crist, the single screen movie house has been operated as a second-run theater over the past few years and “has suffered from dwindling attendance due to competition from a new Hoyts multiplex.”
“The former operator has turned the keys over to the Landlord. The building is in much need of repair and upgrade – making it unlikely that it will be reopened as a theater. There had been an attempt by a local woman earlier this past spring to purchase the building and convert the theater into a cinema restaurant/drafthouse, but these plans appear to have fallen through.”
(Thanks to Jonathan for the sad news.)
SCARBOROUGH, NORTH YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND — The historic Futurist Theatre closed yesterday and will remain dark for three months while the theater is upgraded by its new operator. When it reopens, it will remain a mixed movie and live performance venue.
According to the Scarborough Evening News, the theater is being outfitted with Dolby Digital sound and will upgrade its projection capabilities. The new operator, Hollywood Plaza owner Barrie Stead, is also working on booking live shows for summer 2003.
Hope for the long time existence of the Futurist is still very much in doubt, however, as plans to sell the theater are in the works. According to the report, the theater is expected to stay open only for one year after reopening under Stead’s management.
The theater is expected to reopen in the fall with the second installment of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Two Towers”. The Italian Renaissance Futurist Theatre opened in 1927 and seats over 2,000 patrons.
September 6, 2002
JACKSONVILLE, FL — The Center Theater, the last of 12 downtown movie houses in Jacksonville, partially collapsed early yesterday morning forcing officials to speed a planned demolition of the historic theater. Following the collapse, much of the old movie house was demolished yesterday with the remaining elements to come down during the week.
The Center Theater had previously been deemed a safety hazard by city officials and plans to demolish the theater were two weeks away when the theater unexpectedly folded in. No one was injured despite the Center closing out its days as an illegal residence for transients.
(Thanks to Mark Reed for the news.)