August 1, 2002
LOS ANGELES, CA — Bob Dylan will be the first performer at the Wiltern Theatre in mid-October following a “reconfiguration” in which all of the seats on the first floor of the historic Art Deco theater were removed to accomodate a more general admission policy.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Wiltern has been closed since early June. Seating in the balcony has remained intact for upcomng shows with Dylan, Bryan Adams, Ani DiFranco and more. The only officially announced show is a November 4th appearance by the Rolling Stones.
SANTA MONICA, CA — In other Los Angeles-area news, the historic Aero Theatre may have found a savior in the American Cinematheque, a 21-year-old film society which currently owns and operates the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the group is in “negotiations to help run the historic Aero Theater in Santa Monica by using it as part of the Cinematheque’s classic film screening programs.” If successful, the group would also help add new seats, projection equipment and a new concession stand.
The 550-seat Aero has been struggling in recent years as a second-run movie house. A previous plan for Robert Redford’s ill-fated Sundance Cinemas to take over the theater fell through after General Cinema, which was a partner in the project, filed for bankruptcy.
The Aero was the childhood movie theater of the prolific Redford and has been a staple of now-trendy Montana Avenue for over six decades.
July 26, 2002
The LA Times, the Guardian, and the NY Times each carried articles on various Cinema Treasures over the past week. Enjoy!
LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles Times has published an extensive piece about Steve Needleman’s $3 million restoration of downtown LA’s Orpheum Theatre. In addition to the article, you can also view a guided tour filmed by the newspaper’s staff. To watch, just follow the links on the right side of their page.
ENGLAND — David McKie of the Guardian has written a short piece about the English cinemas of yesterday and how their names evoked a certain magic and excitement. With the current practice of naming theaters after their number of screens or location within a shopping mall, it’s no wonder he’s waxing lyrical about a grander time at the movie house.
BROOKLYN, NY — The New York Times covered the Theatre Historical Society of America’s trip to the shuttered Loew’s Kings. The 3600-seat Rapp & Rapp movie palace has been closed since 1977 and has since been the subject of much speculation as to when and if it might reopen.
(Thanks to Andreas Fuchs for the story.)
HAMILTON, SCOTLAND — The city of Hamilton isn’t movie-less anymore thanks to a new 9-screen, 1,423-seat multiplex which is due to open August 23rd. According to the Hamilton Advertiser, the city has been without a movie house since the Odeon on Townhead Street closed in 1999.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK — This Sunday, July 28th, The Motion Picture Club presents its “Sixth Annual Street Fair” on Manhattan’s 7th Avenue between 47th and 57th Streets.
In addition to all the thrills and frills, good times and foods of an authentic New York City festival, this event offers a rare chance to find some great movie memorabilia and promotional items. With the support of our friends in the film and entertainment communities, this event helps the Motion Picture Club to raise much needed funds for many of our industry charities, including: Will Rogers Pioneers, Make a Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, and Variety Clubs International.
Last year, approximately 850,000 people attended, so make sure you’ll stop by early. The street fair is scheduled from 9 AM to 6 PM. Check out the bargains, have some great snacks and enjoy the movies! For more information about the Motion Picture Club, please check out www.motionpictureclub.org.
(Thanks to Andreas Fuchs for the notice!)
July 23, 2002
BRISTOL, ENGLAND — According to a post by “GStaples”, plans to install a health club inside the old ABC Whiteladies Road cinemas “were unnaminously and robustly rejected by the council’s planning committee. The new owner intends to appeal. So first battle of the war won, but sadly the building remains boarded up!”
MARSHALLTOWN, IA — The Orpheum Centre Inc.’s offer on the Orpheum Theatre has been accepted by the R.L. Fridley Theatres Corporation of Des Moines.
According to their press release, “TOC’s 501©3 non-profit status enabled us to offer Fridley’s a substantial tax credit on the purchase. The Orpheum property consists of the theatre, former coffee shop building and a small parcel (parking lot) just East of Starla’s Classic Cuts.
“TOC will have 90 days to raise the monies necessary to complete the sale. Additional funding will be required to do the restoration and enhancement of the facility as we convert the Orpheum into a multi-purpose community centre we can all be be proud to have in Marshalltown.
“Fund raising will kick off Monday and be under the direction of Mary Curley & Sheila Brown. All donations are tax deductible and a pledge plan will be in place to allow for convenient payments. TOC also accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Questions, ideas, criticisms, or to contribute, please call 641-751-7900. Please check our new and enhanced webpage.”
July 19, 2002
MILWAUKEE, WI — The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has written an extensive article about the Oriental Theatre in honor of its 75th anniversary. The East Indian-style movie palace is still in glorious condition and showing movies today, operated as a triplex by Landmark Theatres.
The article includes numerous photos of the theater as well as quotes from Larry Widen, author of the book, Milwaukee Movie Palaces, and Cinema Treasures' friend and contributor, Jim Rankin. The Journal Sentinel article also mentions the Cinema Treasures/USA Today listing of the Oriental as one of the top ten places to see movies in a classic cinema.
DELAWARE, OH — Ohio Wesleyan University has purchased the Strand Theatre with plans to turn it into a film and performing arts center which would benefit the university and the community at large. The theater had been for sale since last year.
The theater will now be managed by Kara McVay, a long-time employee at the Strand who will direct the theater’s operations under Ohio Wesleyan’s ownership. In addition to movies and OWU’s film series, McVay also hopes to include ballets, community plays, and musical events at the Strand.
CALHOUN, GA — A new non-profit organization, the Friends of the Gem (FOG), has formed to renovate and restore the old Gem(/Martin) Theater and reopen it as a mixed use venue for film and the performing arts.
According to the Calhoun Times, the Gem opened in 1920 as a furniture warehouse and was converted into a 718-seat movie house in 1936. The Gem was the only movie house in town for 37 years and has been closed for two decades and used as a clothing store.
July 18, 2002
PHILADELPHIA, PA — The The Committee To Save The Sameric has launched a new website and online petition which will be sent to the Philadelphia City Council in order to drum up local support for saving the Art Deco movie palace.
Dennis Wilhelm, co-author of the book Popcorn Palaces, writes “The Boyd Theatre (now Sameric), a wonderful, elegant, French-style Art Deco Movie Palace in center city Philadelphia, is in danger of demolition. In researching Popcorn Palaces, Mike Kinerk and I found that it is one of the earliest US movie places designed in the French-style.
“It opened in 1928 three years after the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts D
July 15, 2002
HINSDALE, IL — Four local contractors, who are part of the $4.5 million restoration of the Hinsdale Theater, are seeking $750,000 in donated services by suppliers and subcontractors to ensure the completion of the project. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the theater plans to reopen later this month.
YUBA CITY, CA — The owner of the Sutter Cinema 3 is planning to demolish the original Art Deco movie house in order to erect a new 12-screen, 2500-seat multiplex in its place. According to the Appeal-Democrat, the sticking points are the increased traffic it would bring to downtown and the lack of area parking.
The head of the Downtown Business Association is already on record as saying that “the theater will fuel economic growth downtown”, and the city is eyeing the redevelopment project as the beginning of an overall rehabilitation of the downtown shopping area.
BAKERSFIELD, CA — The Crest Drive-In, which has been closed since 1998, may meet the wrecking ball soon, according to a report in The Bakersfield Californian. The owners are ignoring the recent upswing in the popularity of drive-ins and are instead planning to raze the 1963 theater to create a new RV park.
The Crest is the last of five area drive-ins including The Terrace, the Highway 99, the DeAnza, and the South Chester.
July 8, 2002
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The historic Castro Theatre is holding its annual Silent Film Festival next Saturday and Sunday featuring live piano and organ accompaniement on the theater’s Mighty Wurlitzer. Tickets are $10 and $12 and can be purchased at the theater, by phone at (415) 478-2277, or online at Tickets.com.
The Castro opened in 1921 and continues to be a massively popular art and repertory movie house. It was renovated in 2001.
LARNED, KS —
The old State Theatre reopened last Friday showing “Spider-Man” in its second-run with a theater full of volunteers running the show. According to the Lawrence Journal World/AP, the State had been closed for two years before being purchased by a non-profit organization for $90,000.
The theater was recently renovated and its famous neon marquee is still being repaired with plans to reinstall it in the near future. The State is the only theater in this small town of 4,200 residents and originally opened in the late 1940s.
NEW YORK, NY —
The world famous Apollo Theater will be closed from January to August 2003 for a massive renovation project that will not only return a little luster to the aging vaudeville house, but will enable its supporters and directors to begin a multi-year project aimed at converting the famous theater into “a major cultural and performing arts center.”
According to the Journal News/AP, plans for the Apollo call for a $250 million renovation and expansion effort that will house the original theater, the nearby Victoria Theater, a restaurant, a multiplex, a recording studio, and retail space. The project is aimed at continuing and expanding Harlem’s recent revitalization.
July 1, 2002
OCALA, FL — The Ocala City Council has created a new task force to find a use for the historic Marion Theatre “using the least amount of public dollars.” According to the Star-Banner, the theater has been closed since January and is being eyed for a possible makeover into a cultural arts center as part of downtown Ocala’s revitalization.
SAN DIEGO, CA — The last Mann theater in the San Diego area has closed with the theater circuit ending its lease on the Mann Hazard Center 7 in Mission Valley. According to the Union-Tribune, Madstone Theatres will take over the 7-plex which opened in 1990. The theater will reopen on August 2nd after numerous enhancements and renovations.
DELAND, FL — Supporters and local residents are becoming increasingly impatient with the long overdue restoration of the Athens Theatre. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that the $4 million project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2001, but the theater will open no earlier than 2004.
The Athens restoration has been hampered by structural problems and budget overruns. $1.8 million has already been spent to date on construction.