The latest movie theater news and updates

  • February 28, 2005

    The Heart Theatre Celebrating its 65th Anniversary – FREE Film Festival

    EFFINGHAM, IL — The Lake Land College Arts and Humanities Series and Student Activity Board will partner with The HEART Theatre to host a haunted film festival starting March 2.

    The event starts with a presentation of HAUNTED ILLINOIS by Troy Taylor! Taylor is the author of 33 books about ghosts and hauntings in America, and is the editor of Ghosts of the Prairie magazine, a magazine about the history, hauntings and unsolved mysteries of America. His presentation starts March 2nd, 11 am. in the Lake Land College Theatre, Mattoon, IL.

    The Film Festival kick-off begins March 2nd at 5:30 pm in the LLC theatre after Troy Taylor’s presentation, with the showing of The Black Cat. The Festival will continue with two films being shown at the HEART Theatre on Courthouse Square in Downtown in Effingham on Friday March 4th: The Silence of the Lambs at 6 PM and The Blair Witch Project at 9 PM.

  • February 25, 2005

    El Rey Theater to Close, Faces Destruction

    CHICO, CA – Eric Hart, the new owner of Chico’s El Rey Theater, has disclosed plans to convert the century-old building to an office, retail and parking complex. The building will be gutted and the interior completely reconstructed.

    This historic house opened in 1905 as the Majestic Theater. Operating first as a vaudeville house, it soon began showing movies, becoming Chico’s first cinema. In 1925, it was remodeled by the architectural firm of Stark and Flanders, and was renamed the National Theater. Closed briefly in 1939 for another remodeling, it re-opened as the American Theater. The final re-naming came in 1946, when the building was reconstructed after being gutted by a fire. In recent decades, the El Rey has been operated as a first-run house by United Artists and Regal Cinemas. It is one of the last large single-screen houses in Northern California.

    Hart, who owns and has partly renovated the nearby Senator Theater, said that he would like to save the El Rey as a theater, but that the financial prospects for a large single screen cinema in this market were too poor. (Two older multiplex cinemas in Chico have recently closed, leaving the town with only Cinemark’s 14 screen Tinseltown complex and the small art film-oriented Pageant Theater downtown.)

    Each of the following articles includes a photograph of the El Rey:
    Chico News and Review article of January 27
    Chico News and Review article of February 17

  • Old Movie Houses Exhibition in Lansdale, PA

    LANSDALE, PA — A flim & photo exhibition of Lansdale’s Old Movie Houses (including the Lansdale Theater will be featured at the Lansdale Historical Society’s next meeting to be held on March 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lansdale Parks and Recreation Building.

    It is past the deadline to submit material for the exhibit. Please call Steve Moyer at 215.855.1872 for more information.

  • February 24, 2005

    Rare Opportunity to Visit LA’s Tower Theatre

    LOS ANGELES, CA — The Tower Theatre on Broadway, which has been closed since 1988, will host a free lecture by Hollywood film historian Marc Wanamaker called “How West Coast Movie Production Began Downtown” on February 26th.

    The S. Charles Lee-designed Tower is not included on the Los Angeles Conservancy’s theater district tour and is rarely open to the public.

    It is mainly used for film shoots, according to Jon Olivan, the theater’s manager, who is currently trying to gain public attention of the Tower to convert it into a multi-purpose entertainment venue, like the Orpheum.

    The lecture begins at 10 AM Saturday. Further information can be found at www.towertheaterla.com or in this report from LA Downtown News.

  • February 23, 2005

    Memories of the Robins Theater

    The Robins Theater in Warren has played a key role in my family for three generations. My grandmother’s brother, Daniel Robins, who was a pioneer in the movie industry, opened the Robins Theater in 1921 or 1922. In 1902 Dan had opened the first theater in New Castle, PA, with Abe Warner, one of the Warner Brothers. One of the Warners married my grandmother’s sister, Anna.

    Dan’s obituaries detail his life and the chain of theaters he operated. After pioneering the first theaters in Youngstown, Ohio, Dan purchased the Warner Theater in Youngstown from Sam Warner, the father of the Warner Brothers.

    I have a lot of memorabilia involving Dan and his brothers, Harry and Ben, who partnered in the theater business with him. My grandfather, I.J. Goldston, was the architect for the Robins Theater (and the Trianon Ballroom on Euclid Ave. in Cleveland). My mother at age 3 ½ presented the mayor of Warren with a big gold key to the theater at its grand opening. All 1500 seats were filled.

    There were two operating companies: The Robins Theater Company and the Robins Amusement Company. The first ran the movies; the second ran the popcorn and candy stands. The theaters never made any money; the real profits came from the popcorn, candy, and pop. Dan’s nephew, Eli Goldston, used to argue that the customers should be admitted to the movies free, just so that they could buy the popcorn!

    There is a project to renovate the Robins. The State and the City have supported the effort, and a formal architectural budge estimate is still underway.

    Robin Lake

  • February 22, 2005

    LIU Plays Last Game at Brooklyn Paramount This Thursday

    BROOKLYN, NY — Unless Long Island University’s men’s basketball team finishes in the top four of the conference, and end up hosting the Northeast Conference Tournament, the Blackbirds' final game in the former Brooklyn Paramount Theatre will be Thursday, February 24th, according to this report from Newsday.

    In eight months, LIU will open its new 2500-seat, $40 million arena next to the Paramount. The 1928 Brooklyn Paramount, at Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues, once sat over 4000, and was designed in extravagant French Baroque style by the Chicago firm of Rapp & Rapp.

    The movie and vaudeville theater is perhaps best known for its rock and roll shows of the 50s, hosted by Alan Freed, where such stars as Little Richard, “Fats” Domino, Richie Valens, and Chuck Berry performed live.

  • Last Shot For LIU Basketball At Brooklyn Paramount

    This NY Daily News story also pays homage to the long-adored borough landmark, the Brooklyn Paramount, as its 40-plus year run as the home for LIU basketball comes to an end.

  • February 21, 2005

    Youngstown, Ohio Theater Photos

    YOUNGSTOWN, OH — Photos of the old Palace Theater are available on my page at Webshots.com. There are also photos of the Powers Auditorium (shown above), along with other old Youngstown theaters.

  • Monthly Uptown Socials Begin On March 7

    CHICAGO, IL — Friends of the Uptown volunteers will host brief, monthly socials to talk casually about the history of the Uptown Theatre and other historic venues. The socials are no-frills get-togethers where the dress is casual and the talk is informal.

    Come as you are at 6:30 p.m. promptly on the first Monday of each month to the first floor conference room of the Bridgeview Bank building, 4753 N. Broadway, in Uptown. Seating is limited and available only on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    Snacks and drinks to share with friends would be appreciated (go ahead and bring them!). We will also pitch in to help share the cost of the room rental.

    Friends have scheduled March 7, April 4, and May 2 talks. Future dates may be planned contingent on time, interest and inclination. Any change to the first Monday schedule will be announced only via Uptown Adviser, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uptownadviser/

  • February 18, 2005

    “Picture House” Photography By Steven Rood

    “My name is Steven Rood. I am a Los Angeles based fine art photographer. My work is well collected. Pieces now hang in many private and corporate collections.

    I am a year into my current project entitled Picture House. An homage to classic and vintage movie theaters. A retrospective that started locally and is quickly gathering steam to become a nationwide project. Currently, over 50 theaters have been shot. 27 of these are now represented online, with many more to be added soon. These images are receiving a lot of attention from the entertainment community, the photographic community and theater preservationist groups.

    And that is why I in turn bring them to your attention. America’s classic and vintage movie theaters are vanishing at an alarming rate. Structures that represent a more innocent time in
    our country. And as they fade, so do our memories of a time before urban and spiritual decay.