October 18, 2002
FORT WORTH, TX — Despite last minute efforts to save the 55-year-old landmark, the 7th Street Theatre was demolished on Wednesday with the the entire site to be cleared by the end of today. According to the Star-Telegram, the FPA Foundation, which purchased the theater last year, has not announced its intention for the barren space.
Demolition of the 7th Street Theatre originally began on April 14, 2002, but was quickly halted by outraged preservationists and the Historic Landmarks Commission, which ordered a 180-day delay. The FPA Foundation, though, would not listen to any of the interested buyers who had come forward during these last six months.
With the expiration of the demolition delay, the FPA finally knocked down the last traces of the 7th Street.
(Thanks to Dennis Huber for the sad news.)
NEW YORK, NY — WNYC-Radio FM 93.9 in New York City recently aired a feature program on Cinerama featuring interviews with John Belton, author of the book, Widescreen Cinema, Lowell Thomas, Jr., and documentary filmmaker and Cinerama guru David Strohmaier.
Strohmaier recently completed a highly regarded, feature length documentary entitled, “Cinerama Adventure,” which profiles the birth, life, and death of this revolutionary, but short-lived, widescreen cinema phenomenon.
(Thanks to Larry Karstens for the update!)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Avalon Theater will reopen tomorrow (Saturday, October 19th) from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m for a “Special Avalon Saturday on the Avenue.” According to the Avalon Theater Project, supporters are welcome to “come see the renovation progress, try out our new seats and learn how to buy one for the theater!”
The ATP will also be hosting “CASABLANCA NIGHT: A special evening to benefit the Avalon and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the film classic, ‘Casablanca’”. The American City Diner, located at 5532 Connecticut Ave., NW in DC will be hosting the screening of the film plus dinner for $40 per person. The event will take place Monday, October 28th.
Dinner lasts from 6:30-7:30 p.m. with the film screening at 8:00 p.m. $30 of the ticket price goes to The Avalon Theatre Project and helps resurrect the 1922 movie house. Purchase tickets at the door or in advance at the Diner.
(Thanks to Jennifer Kaplan for the announcements.)
BRISTOL, ENGLAND — According to Graham Staples, a developer who had hoped to convert the old ABC Whiteladies Road cinema into a health club has appealed the council’s earlier decision denying him a permit for such a conversion.
A public inquiry will now be held on March 18, 2003. Please voice your concern to the council about destroying this beautiful, but endangered movie palace.
(Thanks to Graham Staples for the advanced warning.)
ALBEMARLE, NC — The Badin Drive-In closed this past weekend. “The land is for sale but the screen and equipment have been given to other NC ozoners.”
(Thanks to Tammy Conner for the epitaph.)
October 14, 2002
CHICAGO, IL — This just in from Michael Beyer of the Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts:
The talk of the town, the Uptown Theatre restoration project, is now the talk of the nation as Jacki Lyden, the alternate host and senior correspondent to NPR’s “All Things Considered” interviews Carol Carlson of the Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts.
Tune in to WBEZ-FM 91.5 on Monday, October 14, for this national story. The exact air time is TBD. “All Things Considered” airs Monday – Friday from 3:00-6:30 p.m.
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, MN — The former WCCO Radio Wurlitzer Organ will play its first public performance since 1959 when it is unveiled this coming Friday, for the only upper Midwest showing of the restored print of “Lawrence of Arabia,” at the Heights Theater.
According to a press release, “The installation of the Wurlitzer at the Heights will make it the first operable theatre pipe organ in a Twin Cities movie theatre since the closing of Radio City in 1958.”
DELAND, FL — The U.S. House finance committee has just awarded $10 million to the DeLand area for various projects, including $225,000 for the continued restoration of the Athens Theater. The House and Senate must approve the measure before it is signed into law.
According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, the additional funds will help the Athens reopen by 2005.
STATEN ISLAND, NY — The following was part of “The Mayor’s 8th and Final ‘State of the City Address…’:
Renovation of St. George Theater: To ensure that this revitalization reaches into the St. George neighborhood, the City will commit resources to renovating the nearby St. George Theater into a performing arts center.
(Thanks to Jean Siegel for sending this in.)
October 11, 2002
WEST HARTFORD, CT — The Hartford Courant is reporting that the Elm Theatre is definitively closed despite the theater’s “Closed Until Spring” sign. According to the Courant, the 902-seat theater is “under contract to be sold” and “has shut its doors for good.”
The 1947 movie house was once one of the highest grossing theaters in the country playing long runs of everything from “The Sound of Music” to “Lawrence of Arabia.” Unfortunately the Elm was done in by the era of the multiplex.
The Perakos family, which owned the Elm, once operated a 358-screen chain which ran up and down the east coast. Today, only the Southington Drive-In in Southington, Connecticut remains. But for how long?
(Thanks to Roger Katz for sending in this epitaph.)
PASADENA, CA — This Sunday, October 13th, Friends of the Raymond Theatre will host a booth at the enormous Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. The space will be donated by RJ Canning Enterprises which produces the show.
The Friends of the Raymond will be selling raffle tickets, passing out flyers, and selling items to raise money for their cause. In addition, some music memorabilia will also be sold to raise money for the Friend’s fight to save the Raymond.
The Rose Bowl flea market begins at 7:00 am and ends at 3:00 pm. Admission is $7.00.
(Thanks to Gina Zamparelli for the announcement.)
HOLLYWOOD, CA — The 3-strip presentation of the first Cinerama film ever produced, “This Is Cinerama”, has been extended through next Thursday, October 17th! The film is currently playing only at the Cinerama Dome at Arclight Cinemas. (Note: TIC will not be screened next Tuesday, October 15th.)
STATEN ISLAND, NY — Preservation Magazine has just published a small story on the restoration of the St. George Theatre in Staten Island. According to the article, the 2,800-seat movie palace will need at least $12 million to be restored, but is currently being aided by a group of volunteers.
(Thanks to Jean Siegel and Gregg Anderson.)
October 7, 2002
SAVANNAH, GA — A new $2 million storage facility is being erected on the site of the former Tara Cinemas, according to a report in the Savannah Morning News. The once popular movie house closed in 1999 and was demolished less than a year ago. The Tara had stood on the site since 1964.
NEW YORK, NY — Yet another Upper East Side cinema has closed in Manhattan as Clearview’s twin Park & 86th Street theater has gone dark. Clearview’s parent company, Cablevision, is still mulling a sale of the entire Clearview circuit.
In other Clearview news, Chelsea Classics have returned with more revival screenings at the Chelsea Cinemas. Still remaining this month are “Serial Mom” on October 10th, “Misery” on October 17th, followed by “The Exorcist” on the 24th, and “The Bad Seed” on Halloween (Oct. 31).
Ticket prices are $4.00 and all shows begin at 7:30 pm.
HOLLYWOOD, CA — Don’t miss your chance to see “This Is Cinerama” in its glorious 3-projector format playing right now at the Cinerama Dome at the Arclight Cinemas. It’s an experience not to be missed!
In other Cinerama news, a new full-length documentary on the birth and death of this widescreen cinema phenomenon has recently been screened at the Telluride Film Festival and this past week Cinerama Adventure also received a glowing review from Daily Variety film critic, Todd McCarthy.
Director David Strohmaier is currently looking for a distributor.
October 1, 2002
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Days after announcing that the Avalon Theatre will reopen by the end of the year, the Avalon Theatre Project has begun “exploratory interior demolition” with the exterior cladding to be dismantled as well on October 3rd.
Following successful negotiations with the Avalon’s owners, the ATP is now preparing for the 1922 movie house’s comeback following a difficult end as part of the Loews Cineplex chain in which much of the technical equipment, seats, and other items were ripped out of the premises.
For more information on the renovations, contact Bob Zich @ 202-966-4816 or Jennifer Kaplan @ 202-237-7792.
(Thanks to Jennifer Kaplan for the news.)
TUCSON, AZ — The Fox Tucson Theatre will celebrate the third anniversary of its ongoing restoration efforts with a evening of entertainment on October 25th. According to the Tucson Citizen, in addition to free tours of the 1300-seat movie palace, there will also be “live music, a fashion show, [and] classic cars.” The celebration will run from 5 – 10 p.m.
Closed since 1974, the Fox is currently underoing a $7 million restoration effort and plans to reopen in the Fall of 2003.
September 30, 2002
BROOKLYN, NY — The Brooklyn Academy of Music has just embarked on a two-year, $8.6 million restoration of the performing arts center’s facade which will be executed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates. In addition to live performances, BAM also houses the BAM Rose Cinemas, a four-screen movie house showcasing art, independent, and repertory programming.
SALINA, KS — The former Fox Theatre was reopened briefly on Saturday morning as the public was allowed in for a “sneak peek” to the old movie house midway through its restoration and renovation project. According to the Salina Journal, the “restoration work began in February, and the opening is planned for the spring”.
When it reopens, the former Fox Watson Theatre will be known as the Stiefel Center for Performing Arts, and will seat roughly 1,350 patrons. The newly restored theater will house the Salina Symphony, as well as a number of other live performances.
(Thanks to Joel Weide for the update.)
September 23, 2002
CHICAGO, IL — PerformInk recently published an in-depth article on the state of theaters around the city of Chicago which includes up-to-date information on fundraising for the Uptown Theatre and the latest news on the Lakeshore, Chicago, and Ramova theaters.
NEW THEATERS — We added nearly 50 new theaters over the weekend and plan to add a number of new, accompanying photos next week. Thanks to everyone who added our latest Cinema Treasures and for helping document the ‘best remaining seats’ around the world!
August 15, 2002
HOLLYWOOD, CA — The Los Angeles Times has given the Cinerama Dome/Arclight Cinemas complex a passing grade in its latest architectural review.
According to the Times' Nicolai Ourousoff, the combination of the 1963-era Cinerama Dome and the modern Arclight complex “works on many levels” and is “crisp in its conception, with a refreshing lack of fussiness.” He concludes that “it reminds even the most disheartened critic that it is not impossible to make everyday architecture that works.”
(Thanks to Dennis Wilhelm for the review.)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT — The Promised Valley Playhouse is finally coming down next month. The former Orpheum Theatre opened in 1905 and is being torn down because of its advanced state of deterioration. The Salt Lake Tribune recently published a long article detailing the history of this soon-departed theater.
August 12, 2002
CHICAGO, IL — The Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts continues to make headlines in its drive to resurrect the Uptown Theatre. A recent Chicago Free Press article details the ongoing fundraising campaign and the organization’s efforts to reopen the grand movie palace.
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft and Michael Beyer!)
SALEM, OR — The restoration of the historic Elsinore Theatre is scheduled to be completed in September, according to an article that appears today in the Statesman-Journal. The 76-year-old theater’s elegantly painted windows are one of the centerpiece’s of the meticulous restoration.
MEMPHIS, TN — Fourteen old movie theater seats which were once (most likely) used to seat Elvis Preseley in his favorite movie theater, the Memphian Theatre, are being auctioned on eBay. According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, an additional seat has also been saved by the Playhouse on the Square, the new name and function of the old Memphian. The auction will last through Saturday, August 17th.
These 15 were most likely used by “The King” because during his many visits to the theater, he didn’t want patrons to turn around and stare at him during a movie. Consequently, he always sat in the very first row. The seats were long ago removed and have been in storage since 1985.
For more information, visit eBay or call (901) 725-0776.
August 7, 2002
CHICAGO, IL — Michael Beyer, from the Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts> , sent in this update:
For the first time in more than two decades, Chicago’s historic Uptown Theatre will open its doors to a limited number of the general public interested in glimpsing the grandeur of what was once one of the most famous movie palaces in the country, and learning more about current efforts to restore the landmark theatre.
David Bahlman, President of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, and Mark Zipperer, Chief Executive Officer of the Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts, a not-for-profit group dedicated to purchasing and restoring the Uptown to its former artistic, architectural and cultural prominence, will host public tours of the theatre at noon, Tuesday, August 13, and 6 p.m., Wednesday, August 14.
Each tour will be limited to a maximum of 30 people and reservations are being accepted by phone only, on a first-come, first-served basis, at (773) 381-6312. Cost is a tax-deductible donation of $15 per person to the Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts. The Uptown Theatre is located at 4814-4816 N. Broadway, near the corner of Broadway and Lawrence Avenues, in the center of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.
August’s public tours are part of a major Uptown Theatre and Center for The Arts fundraising campaign targeted at generating the Additional $4 million needed to finalize purchase of the theatre by a quickly-approaching late-September deadline. An additional $20 to $30 million will be needed to fully restore the majestic showplace to its original grandeur.
AUSTIN, TX — The Paramount Theatre will be hosting a one-night-only performance of “The Thief of Bagdad” with live accompaniement by the 1001 Nights Orchestra on Saturday, August 24th. Tickets are $12 – $21 and can be purchased through the Paramount Theatre Box Office, by phone throught Star Tickets at 469-SHOW, or through the Star Tickets website.
According to the theater’s press release, “With a tightly scripted score written to the entire 180 minutes of the film, The 1001 Nights Orchestra’s live musical accompaniment to The Thief of Bagdad has generated a great deal of interest from past sold-out performances… This world-class Middle Eastern ensemble has also received many distinguished reviews including a Best of Austin Award from the Austin Chronicle for its live production of the original score.”
(Thanks to Emily Binetti of the Austin Theatre Alliance.)