December 4, 2002
SAN DIEGO, CA — As a followup to a previous story about the Balboa Theatre, Monday’s issue of the San Diego Union-Tribune took an in-depth look at both the Balboa and the California, two classic movie theaters in downtown San Diego that await restoration.
The article includes a rare photo of the California’s interior, as well as descriptions of the current state of both theaters.
(Thanks again to Gregg Anderson sending us another story!)
MENLO PARK, CA — Donald John Long is seeking classic theater lovers and preservationists in the San Francisco Bay Area who are interested in saving the Park Theater in Menlo Park.
Recently, within the past year, the Park Theater, on El Camino Real in Menlo Park, California, closed down and the property was put up for sale.
I contacted Gary Parks, and he said a developer interested in the property hired someone to destroy the theater marquee at 5 AM one morning so the theater would lose its value as a cinema showplace, thus making it easier for the developer to acquire the property to demolish or remodel the building.
Similar things have happened elsewhere many times, unfortunately. Perhaps the most famous incident was the Art Deco Pan Pacific Auditorium on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles, which had achieved historical preservation status with the city and county, but the developer hired someone under the table to torch the structure and an arsonist burnt the building down in April 1989.
Please join with me and Gary Parks, and let’s do something to save and restore this cinema treasure before it is history.
If you’re concerned about the status of the Park Theater and would like to help out on this project, you can contact Donald at .
December 3, 2002
OAKLAND, CA — The Fox Theater in Oakland, CA is about to get a huge facelift — with $750,000 allocated for the restoration of the theater’s facade — according to a new report from the Oakland Tribune.
Thanks to a $375,000 grant from the State Historical Resources Commission, along with matching Central District Redevelopment funds, the City of Oakland plans to restore the Fox’s store fronts, exterior masonry and terra cotta, and central dome.
“We’re excited the city got this grant,” said Gary Knecht, spokesman for the Friends of the Fox. “Even though we don’t know how or when the theater will actually be used again, we would like to hope that this incredible public treasure might be open for public tours within about a year, so that the people of Oakland can begin to realize what a valuable resource it is. We’re working hard to celebrate a grand reopening of the theater sometime before the end of the decade.”
In an earlier 2001 restoration, the Fox Theater’s marquee and blade sign were restored and relit at a cost of $650,000, thanks to the efforts of Friends of the Oakland Fox and the Wagner Sign Company.
The winning plan from Centre City Development Corp., which was approved by unanimous vote, beat out a competing plan from the Theater Now company, which had proposed to buy the Balboa from the San Diego for $1 and renovate the theater using private funds.
As a result of this approval, the Centre City Development Corp. (which serves as San Diego’s downtown redevelopment arm) plans to present a detailed business plan to the City Council, with hopes of beginning construction in 2004.
(Thanks to our friend Gregg Anderson at the American Diner Museum for both of today’s stories.)
December 2, 2002
PHOENIX, AZ — According to a recent article in the Arizona Republic, the Harkins Theatres chain has announced plans to rebuild Phoenix AZ’s famous Cine Capri movie theater as part of a $17 million, 14-screen complex.
“It’s bigger, better and brighter than the old Cine Capri,” chain owner Dan Harkins said, adding that it will be the largest stadium-seating movie auditorium in the Valley. “We decided to use all of our resources to make this the absolute premier venue for the Southwest, which is (the same) in fashion and form as the old Cine Capri.”
The original Cine Capri, which first opened in 1966 and featured a wrap-around 60-foot wide screen with more than 800 seats, was destroyed in 1998 despite enormous public support. In fact, a petition created by concerned local citizens at the time garnered over 250,000 signatures, but to no avail.
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft for sending in this story.)
SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, PA — Kevin Moxley and Joseph McDade, two businessmen in Schuylkill County PA, are attempting to revive the area’s last drive-in movie theater, according to a report in the Morning Call.
The two plan to restore the Deer Lake Drive-In, which has been closed since the mid-1990s, by restoring the theater’s screen, outlying buildings, and road sign.
Currently, Moxley and McDade, in partnership with the county Visitors Bureau and Orwigsburg Historical Society, are circulating a petion to measure public support for reopening the theater.
(Thanks to Denny J. Huber for letting us know about this development.)
November 27, 2002
Beginning today, we are temporarily not accepting any additional photo submissions, which means you will not be able to use our Add-a-Photo! feature.
Esssentially, we’ve become victims of our own success! Since launching our site, we’ve received over 1800 photo submissions, with literally thousands and thousands of images. Given our current photo system, it has become virtually impossible for us to accept any additional photos.
Thus, we are now working on developing a new photo system; one that will not only allow us to handle more images, but one that will also offer additional features (multiple images per theater, improved browsing tools, etc.).
While we are not accepting photos submissions at this time, our Add-A-Theater section will continue to operate without interruption, so feel free to add your favorite theaters, and we’ll post them as they come in.
As well, thanks to everyone who has submitted a photo to Cinema Treasures during the past two years! This site would not be what it is today without your help.
We also want to let everyone know that Cinema Treasures will be on hiatus during the upcoming holiday season.
Beginning December 16th, we will not be publishing our daily theater preservation news. Of course, if any major preservation alerts occur, we will post them, but otherwise, there will be no news during this time.
Additionally, we’ll continue to add any new theater submissions, though updates may be less frequent than usual.
This will be Cinema Treasures' first official vacation since we began work on our site over 3 years ago, so you can probably imagine we’re relishing a little time off. :)
Worry not, though, Cinema Treasures fans! The site will return in its fully glory during the first full week of the new year, on Monday, January 6th.
Meanwhile, have a terrific holiday and we’ll see you back here on Monday!
November 26, 2002
The Chicago Tribune recently took an in-depth look at the Chicago Theatre and the companies who have applied with the Chicago Department of Planning and Development to take over the theater and manage it on an ongoing basis.
Because each of the bidders (Chicago Theatre Alliance, TheatreDreams Chicago LLC, and The Entertaiment Group Fund Inc.) have radically different concepts for the future direction of the Chicago, there is great debate about which proposal will bring the most cultural and economic impact to the city of Chicago.
Definitely worth a read, if you have a spare moment. (Note: registration is required to view this article.)
(Thanks to Cinema Treasures regular Bryan Krefft for this story!)
The Glenwood Arts Theatre in Overland Park, Kansas opened to packed houses last weekend. The Fine Arts Group restored the former Metcalf Theatre with items salvaged from the original Glenwood Theatre, including seats and the 40 foot tall marquee sign. The theater will eventually house two more screens and a soda shop.
(Special thanks to Keith LeBrun for keeping us in the loop on this one.)