The latest movie theater news and updates
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.
From WITN.com: An eastern Carolina movie theater that shut down last year is back open under a new name and new management.
A new independent group called ‘Golden Ticket Cinemas’ purchased the old Carmike 7 in Washington after it suddenly closed in December.
Golden Ticket officially re-opened Friday with 7-theaters renovated with new screens and surround sound speakers.
The first customer in line for a 12:00 p.m. showing was given a free year-long movie pass and Golden Ticket GM Stoney Crouse says the company is thrilled to continue providing the area with the latest movies at the lowest prices.
Crouse says, “We plan on doing the same good customer service, if not better, definitely a lot of different choices when you’re coming in and absolutely better prices.”
Scott Askew was the first customer and says, “My first movie here was Pippi Longstocking as a class when I was in kindergarten and that would be 1979 and so we’ve lived here all our lives and I’ve seen every big movie, every Star Wars I saw here, so we’ve been here all our lives so it’s great.”
From The Palm Beach Post: The days of questionably-comfortable movie theater seats with the choice of just soda, popcorn and candy are over — at least at the new Paragon 10 in Wellington.
The new, luxury theater at the Mall at Wellington Green is holding a grand opening ceremony this weekend, and officially cut the ribbon Thursday night. Adult evening tickets go for $11.50, and the theater will have a promotion every Tuesday where it sells tickets for $6.
From Missoulian.com: The Roxy Theater is planning a 1930s makeover for its 80th birthday this year.
The nonprofit community cinema will renovate its facade to reflect the original art deco design, complete with a period-era neon sign, a ticket booth right on Higgins Avenue, and a new paint job.
The exterior improvements will better reflect the nonstop activity in the theater, said Ingrid Lovitt-Abramson, the Roxy’s operations and development director.
Last week, the state announced a $67,605 tourism infrastructure grant for the historic renovation work. In addition to the matching grant, the Roxy has been fundraising privately for the work, which will cost around $200,000.
The state tourism funds came through the Montana Department of Commerce, the Office of Tourism and Business Development Tourism Grant Program. They target projects that can improve the economy through tourism.
They’re aiming to turn on the bright-red neon sign by late September to mark the theater’s anniversary.
It was originally a second-run theater with a single screen, featuring movies that had already played downtown at the Wilma Theatre.
For the facade, they’re working with Fernando Duarte Design, who has helped renovate art deco theaters around the West Coast, such as the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon.
He did historical research here in Missoula, both at the Mansfield Archives at the University of Montana, on microfiche at the Missoula Public Library, and consulted with UM art history professor Rafael Chacon, author of a book on Missoula architect A.J. Gibson.
There are no color photographs from the Roxy’s earliest days, but Steinberg said there was a limited palette of colors in use.
The handsome sign, meanwhile, will boast the “Roxy” name with rows of neon.
“It’s a classic neon, as opposed to what passes for neon these days,” Steinberg said. The double doors will have diagonal brass handles, just like the old theater did.
From The Exponent Telegram: Talk to any Princeton natives and they will quickly relay stories of going to the former Lavon Theater, often standing in line all the way down the sidewalk, eagerly waiting to pay less than $1 to see the current hit movie.
The Lavon Theater, which started out as the Royal Theater in 1911 and changed hands in 1954 to become the Lavon, is rich in history. And organizers of the Princeton Renaissance Project are renovating the building with plans to preserve such history by incorporating some “old with the new,” according to Mercer County Commissioner Greg Puckett, who is spearheading the project.
The theater restoration has been underway since 2013 when the building was first purchased, Puckett said. Volunteers and experts have removed walls, and the final steps will include installing a new roof and skylights, along with electrical work and the finishing touches of refurbishing many of the original chairs.
February 10, 2017
From TMJ4.com: A historic Milwaukee theater went up in flames Thursday evening.
The State Theater, located in the 2600 block of State Street, was destroyed in the two-alarm fire.
The abandoned building is located just two blocks from the famous Five O'Clock Steakhouse.
The theater first opened in 1915 and played host to silent movies and various entertainment events.
Throughout the years, it was also known as the Electric Ballroom and Palms, and even served time as a church.
U2 played a concert at the theater before the band became well known, but the building has been abandoned for at least two decades.
Nobody was injured in the fire and it’s not clear what sparked it.
Note: The Theatre Historical Society will visit these, and many more theaters during its 2017 Conclave, to be held June 26-July 1! For more information and registration, please visit: http://historictheatres.org/conclave-theatre-tour/
Story from LAist.com: Few neighborhoods sparkled brighter in early 20th century Los Angeles than downtown’s historic theater district. Nickelodeons and vaudeville theaters began to appear on Broadway around 1910, and by 1918—when the opulent Million Dollar Theater opened its doors—the corridor had been established as L.A.’s theater district. Most of the 12 remaining theaters on Broadway date back to the 1920s and ‘30s and include lavish movie palaces like the Los Angeles Theatre (built in 1931), where Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights had its world premiere. On Saturday night, six of Broadway’s historic theaters will open their doors for the third annual Night on Broadway festival, hosting a veritable glut of excellent (and free!) arts and music events. Here’s a sneak peek at the gorgeous interiors and exteriors of some of those theaters in anticipation of this weekend’s big event. Featured above are photos of The Theatre at Ace Hotel (formerly the United Artists Theatre), the Orpheum, the Los Angeles Theatre and the Tower Theatre taken during the 2015 Night on Broadway festival.
Lewisburg, PA – The Campus Theatre’s mission of historic preservation & vision for cultural captivation
From The Bucknellian: Every member of the Lewisburg community is sure to encounter the historic Campus Theatre at some point, as its iconic neon green lettering and old-school marquee on Market Street make it hard to miss. The theatre’s central location, nestled in the heart of Lewisburg, and old-fashioned Art Deco themed decoration and architecture make it an ideal location to bring film lovers together. Many people do not realize that the Campus Theatre is one of the oldest renovated theaters around. Some of the other notable famous historic theaters include the Ziegfeld in Manhattan, which closed in January 2016, and the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, Mass. The Campus Theatre opened in January 1941, about 11 months before the historic attack on Pearl Harbor. The Stiefel brothers emigrated to the United States from Russia, and built the theatre shortly thereafter. The brothers were large proponents of community involvement; hence, it was no surprise that the theater became quite an integral part of the Lewisburg area. Although the Stiefel brothers constructed 24 other theaters modeled with a similar Art Deco style, the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg is one of only five others still in operation. Although recently renovated by Hartmann Fine Arts Conservation Services, Inc., few changes have been made regarding the intricate paintings that embellish the interior of the theater’s walls and high-ceilings, as well as the original structural-architectural designs from the theater’s conception.
From newson6.com: Tickets are on sale right now for Second Saturday Silents at the Tulsa’s Circle Cinema. This time a Buster Keaton silent flick will be accompanied by the Circle’s original 1928 theater pipe organ.
Bill Rowland plays the theater organ at the Circle Cinema; he plays to accompany the once-a-month silent movie at the Circle.
“This is the original organ that was installed in the Circle Cinema – or Circle Theater at the time – in 1928,” Rowland said.
Rowland plays with his shoes off because he said he gets a better feel of the keys.
“You can’t look at your feet, you gotta look up there,” he said.
The console where Rowland sits is more or less a control panel; behind the movie screen is where the action is – a huge blower to provide the wind, and there are dozens of pipes of different lengths.
There’s also an area called the toy counter – fun sound effects like a base drum, train whistle, bird whistle and a car horn, all of it, he can operate from the console.
So, you put it all together and you have an accompaniment for a silent movie.
Theater organs had their heyday from 1915 to about 1930 when talking movies took over; but cities like Tulsa, which have theater organs, create opportunities, like Second Saturday Silents, so they can show them off.
Silent movies are every second Saturday at the Circle Cinema.