February 26, 2017
From DNAinfo.com: It’s hard to tell just how intricately designed the Congress Theater’s facade is from the street.
So, with permission from the developer, urban archaeologist Eric Nordstrom climbed the historic theater’s scaffolding to get up close.
What he found was incredibly detailed Italian renaissance-style terra cotta, featuring faces with “unsettling frozen” expressions, eagles and symbols, all of which left him awestruck.
“My mind’s eye was in perpetual awe of the skillfully executed design elements packaged into each and every terra cotta panel contributing to the collection of richly ornamented assemblages found throughout the distinctive facade,” Nordstrom wrote on his blog.
February 24, 2017
From the Kearney Hub: The historic Grand Theatre in downtown Norfolk is up for sale, bringing disappointment to many who tried to restore the landmark for the past 12 years.
The Norfolk Daily News reported that the property is listed for $200,000.
The former theater building was built in 1920. It became the Rialto in 1940. Then it became the smaller divided Cinema theaters in the 1970s before it eventually closed.
Businessman J. Paul McIntosh donated the property in 2005 to the Norfolk Community Theatre, which tried to obtain money to renovate the structure was but unable to raise the millions needed to make necessary improvements to the interior.
February 19, 2017
From the Billings Gazette: With a March 15 deadline looming for the city of Billings to take over ownership of the Babcock Theater, an advisory committee has four recommendations for what can be done with the 110-year-old downtown landmark.
Meeting Monday, the Babcock Ad-Hoc Advisory Committee approved a report drafted by City Administrator Tina Volek that includes four possible courses the Billings City Council will hear during its Feb. 21 work session:
-Ask the committee, which includes four city council representatives, to continue exploring options for the use of the theater, which is at Second Avenue North and N. Broadway. -Ask the committee to negotiate with Kim Olsen, who currently manages the theater for Babcock LLC, to continue managing the theater for a year, while seeking a nonprofit organization to ultimately take over theater operations. -Instruct city staff to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the sale of the theater. -Instruct city staff to issue an RFP for an outside organization to manage the facility for five or more years.
From The Pueblo Chieftain: From Davy Crockett’s “Old Betsy” to temporary closures and war taxes, the historic Skyline Theater has withstood a roller coaster of ups and downs in its 100-year history.
In September 1917, L.A. Jones, proprietor of the Busy Corner Store announced that he intended to build a state-of-the-art theater in downtown Canon City, the likes of which would cost an estimated $20,000 investment, according to newspaper accounts of the time.
By December that year, the Canon City Daily Record was touting the soon-to-be-completed theater as a “new, modern moving picture theater” on which “a great deal of money is being spent to make this the finest cinema theater in any small town in the west.”
February 13, 2017
From the Press-Democrat: Looking back, as any social scientist (or grandparent) will tell you, can be instructive. And it can also be comforting in those moments when we need comfort.
Last month we went to the circus. Today, let’s pack up our snacks, put the kids in their “jammies” and go to the drive-in.
Those who are old enough to have made a trip or two to the drive-in movies may not be able to remember what film they saw, but they are sure to come forth with a carload of nostalgia.
We have to be careful about nostalgia. It isn’t history.
It is wistful, sentimental, a longing to retrieve some aspect of one’s past.
History is far more complex. It is, in its simplest form, chronology, a record of past events, a study of a people or an institution, often including a theory or interpretation of those events.
History is more trustworthy by far. Memory is too often pushed off the truth track by emotions, by sentiment if you prefer.
So we save the nostalgia for now. And start with the history. Consider it a hook on which to hang your hatful of memories.
The whole notion of outdoor movies is as quirky as any accidental invention. It was a man named Richard Hollingshead, an auto parts salesman in Camden, New Jersey, who “invented” the drive-in, according to a 2008 article in Smithsonian magazine. The story quoted the head of the United Drive-In Theatre Owners, who told it like this:
“His (Hollingshead’s) mother was — how should I say it? — rather large for indoor theater seats, so he stuck her in a car, put a 1928 projector on the hood and tied two sheets to trees in his yard.”
In 1933 Hollingshead opened the first drive-in theater, but his brilliant idea didn’t really take hold until in-car speakers were developed in the 1940s. And, in the early ’50s, with the war over and at least one car in every garage, the drive-in became a way of life in suburban and rural America, where there was space to work with.
By 1958 there were 4,063 drive-in theaters in the nation. Two were located in Sonoma County, with three more to come and go. The quintet, in order:
From the Post-Bulletin: “One of the last few one-screen, family-owned movie theaters in the U.S.” now is operating under new ownership.
Michelle Haugerud announced last week that her family sold the JEM Movie Theatre at 14 Main Ave. N in Harmony to another local family.
“The new owners, Amber and Dana Coaty and their four children are excited to keep the JEM Movie Theatre going for many more years. I hope you all continue to support the only movie theater in Fillmore County and one of the last few one-screen, family-owned movie theaters in the U.S.,” Haugerud wrote on the theater’s website on Jan. 31.
Michelle and Paul Haugerud bought the classic single-screen theater in 2002. In 2012, Paul Haugerud unexpectedly died and the community rallied around Michelle Haugerud, their six children and the movie theater.
Michelle Haugerud continued to run the theater until last week.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported my family and the JEM for the last 14-plus years! … We have enjoyed owning the JEM and watching everyone come and enjoy a movie, birthday parties, live music and all those special events. Also, thank you to all the people who have helped me at the JEM,” she wrote in Tuesday’s posting.
Now under the Coatys' leadership, the small-town movie theater is continuing to show first-run movies as well as classics.
Tonight, Saturday and Sunday, the theater is showing the PG-rated “Monster Trucks” movie at 7:30 p.m.
The Jem is showing a free matinee of the animated “The Peanuts” movie at 4 p.m. Saturday. The showing is sponsored by Thrivent Financial. The first 40 people will receive a free popcorn.
On Valentine’s Day next Tuesday, the theater is offering a free showing of “a true movie classic,” “The Princess Bride,” at 7:30 p.m.
February 10, 2017
On September 7, 1929 the Loew’s Kings Theatre in Brooklyn opened its doors to the public for the first time. Less than 50 years later they were shut, seemingly for good. Designed by the Rapp & Rapp architecture firm in the French Baroque style, the Kings is not only an architecturally important piece of Brooklyn history, but from community standpoint as well. Many Brooklynites had their first date at the theater, or walked across the stage during their high school graduation. Now, after almost 40 years of darkness, the curtain is beginning to rise.
When it reopened in 2015, the Kings became the largest indoor theater in Brooklyn and the third largest in New York City. It is a place for the community to gather once again, hosting everything from Broadway shows to concerts. Take a trip through the history of the Kings via photographs and artifacts spanning the theater’s heyday through its renovation. Watch the theater return to its original splendor and learn for yourself why it’s called Brooklyn’s “Wonder Theater.”
This new book by Matt Lambros contains never before seen historic and modern photographs of the Kings, as well as a complete history of the theater. There are a limited supply available online at Amazon.
LINK TO PURCHASE THE BOOK: https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Theatre-Rebirth-Brooklyns-Wonder/dp/0692032002/
ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.
Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at historictheatres.org
Podcast from KFGO.com: l Michels, the owner of “The Scenic” Theater in beautiful Lisbon North Dakota. The Scenic opened in 1911 with the showing of “Nemo,” a 10-minute black-and-white movie.
February 7, 2017
From the Post-Gazette: Three 18-wheeler tractor-trailer trucks pulled into the Strip District in October, carrying the weight of the history of commercial movie theaters in America — a history that began in Pittsburgh in 1905.
The Theatre Historical Society of America that was founded in 1969 to celebrate and document America’s movie theaters had outgrown its home in the circa-1924 York Theatre — now a multiplex — in a suburb of Chicago. In 2009, the society had to take on additional storage space for an archive that is now 100,000 items and growing.
The society waited until the archive was settled into its new home, the ninth floor of the Heinz History Center’s Museum Conservation Center at 1221 Penn Ave., Strip District, before making an official announcement. Proposals from 38 cities were considered before deciding on Pittsburgh, where for now the archive remains as the nation’s largest research and preservation resources for items pertaining to movie theaters and their social and historical significance.
Looking ahead, there may be showcases for the public to see some of the society’s treasures. There have been talks about partnering on exhibitions here, “but ultimately the bigger goal is to have some exhibition space or maybe even a larger facility with an operational theater where we are displaying materials and there is educational programming,” executive director Richard Fosbrink said, one of three staff members who moved here with the archive. His hope is to eventually fill out the staff to five.
The search for a new home had been centered in the Chicago area until Mr. Fosbrink came onboard and said, “If we have to move everything anyway, why not expand the search?”
Pittsburgh first sold itself when society members came here in 2014 for their annual theater tour of an American city, with the Downtown theaters of the Benedum Center, Heinz Hall and Byham as well as the Palace Theatre in Greensburg among their stops.
Mr. Fosbrink, a Connellsville native who attended Seton Hill University and taught at Central Catholic High School, was speaking with Pittsburgh Cultural Trust leader Kevin McMahon while preparing the tour and mentioned that the society was in need of new digs.
“You should move to Pittsburgh,” Mr. McMahon said.
From FoxNews: Movie-goers in Nashville are in for a unique experience as plans have been unveiled for an indoor drive-in with a 1960s feel, Fox 17 reports.
The “August Moon Drive-In” is slated to open at the intersection of James Robertson Parkway and Interstate 24 in 2018.
But this is not your typical drive-in.
The environment in the 40,000 square-foot space with an air-supported dome will be complete with 50 classic cars, full-sized trees, hammocks, a starry night with an August “sailor’s moon” and even fireflies. It also boasts the largest non-IMAX movie screen in the North America.
“The August Moon Drive-In will be the first of its kind and an attraction that dramatically enhances the way people experience movies,” a news release sent to Fox 17 News said.
The drive-in will operate daily, with an initial schedule of 18 showings a week.