• June 21, 2006

    Village Theatre Signs New Lease

    CHICAGO, IL — The June 8, 2006 edition of THE SKYLINE (a free local Chicago newspaper) reports that the Village Art Theatret has extended its lease for another year.

    Although a theatre preservationist had said that Alderman Burton Natarus (42nd Ward) told him that a pharmacy could possibly replace the theatre and the adjoining restaurant, the theatre will remain in business.

    Jonathon Fine, president of Preservation Chicago had said that Natarus had informed him of the possible changes on the property. Fine had said that the group is firmly opposed to any changes to or demolition of the 1916 theatre’s facade.

    Ron Rooding, CEO of Village Entertainment, said he recently signed a one year lease on the building with an option for a five-year renewal. Since signing the new lease, Rooding says that he hopes to make improvements to the theatre. The Village Theatre — apparently the “Art” designation has been dropped — has lost money over the past year or so because it hasn’t been able to steadily book good movies according to Rooding. He hopes to change all that, saying that when a good movie plays at the Village, it does very well.

    Rooding, whose Village Entertainment has theatres in four states, says that he will talk to the owners about sinking big money into the theatre, adding stadium seating, and improving the sound system, washrooms, and facades. He adds that his company takes older theatres and renovates them and takes losers and makes winners.

    (For the complete article, go to

  • May 25, 2006

    Rialto Theater is Looking for Your Stories!

    ATLANTA, GA — Next year marks the 90th birthday year for the Rialto Theater and 10th anniversary of its rebirth as a performing arts center through Georgia State University.

    We are collecting stories from as far back as possible… of first dates in the 1940s, and movie premieres in the 60s, and definitely the Kung-Fu days. These stories will be used throughout the anniversary year. Pictures and any other historical information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

    They can be e-mailed directly to or posted on the Rialto’s page on Cinema Treasures.

  • May 23, 2006

    AMC fires (then rehires) veteran ticket-taker with tattoos

    BRIDGEWATER, NJ — The Asbury Park Press has published a story about an 80 year old veteran who was fired from his ticketing taking position at the AMC Bridgewater Commons, then rehired when a public outcry errupted:

    To William C. Smith, the faded tattoo on each of his forearms are reminders of his World War II service. To AMC Movie Theatres, they were grounds for his termination.

    Smith, 80, said two AMC theater managers at Bridgewater Commons mall met with him on April 14 and said they had to fire him because of the tattoos he has had since he was a 17-year-old Marine.

    Smith, a ticket taker at the mall’s movie theater for the past 15 years, then contacted Somerville attorney David W. Trombadore, who then called the Courier News. On Tuesday, AMC Theatres offered Smith his job back, along with back pay.

  • May 8, 2006

    Who owns the Vogue Theatre?

    HOLLYWOOD, CA — I was wondering if anyone knew the name of the owner or company that owns or operates the Vogue Theatre located at 6675 Hollywood Blvd.

    I’ve been trying to reach the owners for some time now with no luck. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’m very interested in the property which would be used for live children theatrical shows based on a series of characters I’ve created.

    I think some fun “theatre” style events on Hollywood Blvd. would do it some justice…..Thanks!

  • May 4, 2006

    Grand Venues buys Paramount Theater

    YOUNGSTOWN, OH — The Vindicator reports that Grand Venues, an Illinois developer, purchased the old Paramount Theater and will restore it for live stage shows, and a two screen theater.

    The main floor will be for the live shows seating 300 to 600, while the balcony will be converted into a twin theater for first run, historical and cult films.

    The work is expected to take three years to complete at a cost of around $3.5 million.

  • May 3, 2006

    Who owns the Hillsboro 8?

    TAMPA, FL — Anyone know who is re-developing the once Beautiful Carmike Hillsboro 8? It was retro-fitted in 99 to stadium, and features beautiful marble floors. It has been closed since the bankruptcy in 2000. They claimed road construction was the death of the location.The only competition now is AMC 14 at Westshore.

    It sat empty for years as vandals did everything from lighting fires and knocking down light poles in the parking lot to breaking glass.

    I’m interested in finding out if it will be turned into a car lot, or if they will be looking for a manager soon. I have over 7 yrs management experience, and am interested in learning if it will be re-opened.


  • April 26, 2006

    Preview the Uptown Theatre Documentary Trailer or Read the New Balaban & Katz Book

    John Pappas and Mike Bisberg of Northwestern University have recently finished their documentary on the Uptown Theatre, filmed last summer/fall in Chicago.

    It will be shown locally sometime in May, and I’ll post the information as soon as it’s available. For now, you can download a sneak peek here.

    David Balaban, whose family built the theatre in 1925, has written a book on the Balaban and Katz theatres. It is available as of today. Follow the same link to read about David and his book.

  • April 21, 2006

    Keith Albee gets movie close up in “We Are Marshall”

    HUNTINGTON, WV — After having shown films and hosted stage shows from 1928 until January 2006, the Keith-Albee Theatre, an atmospheric Spanish moorish theatre designed by Thomas Lamb, got a chance for its own ‘close up.’

    On Tuesday, April 18, director McG (“Charlie’s Angels) and other Warner Bros. filmmakers utilized the theatre for the filming of a scene in "We Are Marshall,” which is set for a December release.

    Starring Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox, as Coach Jack Lengyel and Ast. Coach Red Dawson, the film traces the true story of a plane crash that killed 75 members of the 1970 MU team along with most coaches, atheltic department staff, supporters, media reps and crew.
    Two of the injured team members did NOT make the trip. Instead, they were inside the Keith Albee watching “Student Nurses” (for which Warner Bros. substituted “Kelly’s Heroes”).

    During the showing of the movie, the projector is shut off and the manager takes the stage to announce the tragedy.

    Portions of the movie palace’s design should be seen in the film.

    At this time Marshall University, the Marshall Foundation and the Governor’s office are organizing a fund drive to renovate the Keith as a performing arts center. Although the Marshall Artists Series which offers touring Broadway shows will use the theatre during the Fall of 2006, one of the fundraisers indicated that they may close the Keith in the Spring of 2007 to remove the two ‘mini’ auditoriums and do other structural work.

    This link to the filming of WE ARE MARSHALL inside the theater is:

    This link leads to State Sen. Plymalke and David Tyson say project coming together:

  • April 18, 2006

    Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In’s Fate in City of Aurora’s Hands

    AURORA, IL — The popular Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In, which first opened in 1947, remains “Closed For the Season”, when it has usually already opened by now. Owned by Parkside Inc. until recently, the drive-in property was sold to Bigelow Homes which is developing the property that surrounds the Hi-Lite, according to a story in today’s Aurora Beacon-News. Bigelow deeded the drive-in property to the city of Aurora, which now will be deciding the drive-in’s future.

    Nova Cinemas has leased and operated the theater since 1997 and is interested in obtaining a ten-year contact to continue operating the Hi-Lite from the city. Ryan Coltmeyer, Nova’s director of operations, says Nova would like to regrade the parking lot, build a new fence around the theater, and restore a long-unused adjacent indoor theater for live entertainment and concerts. The improvements would be at no cost to the taxpayer, said Coltmeyer. “In its current format, the theater is a profitable business. It is revenue for the city.”

    Not only is Nova Cinemas waiting for a decision, but so are fans of the drive-in, one of only a few in Illinois, and only a couple left in the Chicago suburbs (the other being the Cascade Drive-In in West Chicago). Rose Fromm of Channahon said, “Sure we can see the movies in some big theater, with controlled temperatures and stadium seating, but it just isn’t the same. It will be a sad day if we lose this piece of Americana.”

  • April 5, 2006

    4th Avenue Theater at risk?

    ANCHORAGE, AK — CNN is reporting that the 4th Avenue Theater may be at risk of being lost:

    An opulent movie theater that has been an Anchorage icon for almost 60 years is facing what could be its final drama.

    The 4th Avenue Theatre — elegant yet strong enough to withstand North America’s greatest earthquake unscathed — is on the market and could fall victim to the wrecking ball.

    Anchorage voters will decide Tuesday whether to authorize issuance of a $2 million (all figures U.S.) bond to help the city pay for the $4 million sought by theater owner Robert Gottstein.

    Gottstein, 51, a lifelong Alaskan who grew up watching movies there, said the 40,000-square-foot theater’s survival may depend on finding a buyer.