The latest movie theater news and updates
October 14, 2005
I am spearheading a startup venture. The Startup is simply this, “To Open and Operate a Vaudeville Era Theater”. I have come up with a concept which will revolutanize theater operations. The concept is not for public consumption so I can’t post it, however under the right circumstances (non disclosure) I would be willing to discuss it with you.
For proper implementation, this venture requires a theater which is in decent architectural/structural condition, the theater MUST have a stage and a balcony, an orchestra pit would be nice but not mandatory.
I am in the process of selling my house to make this happen, I personally own a very large collection of Public Domain films as well as all the equipment needed to start 3 theaters (and allow them to operate to my specifications).
Cutting to the point, at the present time I could potentially purchase a theater in an outer lying area and make this venture a reality, however if I could shy away from selling off my house I would prefer it.
Here’s a proposition, if you like the sound of it then let’s talk, if you don’t like what I’ve written, no flames, I apologize for wasting the bandwidth.
I propose the following:
October 13, 2005
HANNIBAL, MO — The historic Orpheum Theater is up for sale.
Opened in 1922 as a vaudeville and silent movie house, the Orpheum features Adam-style architecture. Legendary performers such as the Marx Brothers, Ed Wynn, John Phillip Sousa, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Betty Hutton and Duke Ellington once graced its stage.
The theater has 952 seats and is in mid-renovation. It will be sold with historic tax credits and restoration blueprints. The movie screen is still intact.
Hannibal was the boyhood home of Mark Twain and is a tourist destination.
Inquiries should be sent to .
BREWSTER, NY — The Southeast Museum will present as part of it’s Lecture Series ‘The History Of Brewster’s Cameo Theatre’ on Saturday November 5th at 3pm.
Professor Michael Jacobs of Berkeley College will present the lecture giving the history of this historical Art Deco theatre that opened in June of 1939 with the showing of “The Young Mr Lincoln”. More that 600 people attended the gala opening.
There will be a discussion of the many films shown at the theatre over the years and plans for the future of this unique movie house.
The Southeast Museum is located at 67 Main Street in the Village of Brewster, NY. Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10am – 4pm. For further information please contact the museum at (845) 279-7500.
COLUMBIA, PA — The theater lights at the Columbia Drive-In will go out for the last time after Sunday night’s shows at Columbia Drive-In, according to Lancaster Online.
The theater, which is being sold to make way for houses and stores, will end a nearly-50-year run this weekend with a triple feature, including a showing of “ Witness.”
October 12, 2005
My not-for-profit theatre company is seeking a unique Art Deco/Moderne space (theatre/cinema/hall/large room, etc) in Manhattan for our stage adaptation of the 1932 Ernst Lubitsch film TROUBLE IN PARADISE.
Perhaps an unused Deco screening room or ballroom or cafe within a larger building? Mid-town area is preferred, although we’ll consider other areas.
I’d like to add a couple more theater chains to the list. You have a listing for Alger Brothers and state that they operated out of Chicago. Actually, that chain was a partnership of my dad, E.E. Alger and my uncle, Harold R. Alger and the only theaters ever in that chain were the Albro and Princess in Urbana, Illinois and the Park and COED in Champaign. My Dad managed those theaters out of LaSalle, Ill. and my uncle provided the on-sight management.
The other chains with which my dad was involved as general manager or managing partner were Alger Theaters and L & P Theaters. The latter company was a partnership between Balaban & Katz (out of Chicago) and Alger Theaters. In addition, the LaSalle Drive-In was a joint venture between Alger Theaters and a company called Alliance Theaters out of Chicago and Ft Wayne, In.
October 11, 2005
HOLLINWOOD, ENGLAND — The Roxy is to be demolished after owner retires and sale to the council.
The Roxy site, will be turned into a high quality business park, much of which is currently under construction, and so it has decided to purchase the Roxy site and demolish the cinema.
Although a simplified ‘Roxy Managing Director Ken Blair has decided to retire and is selling the cinema to the council’ story has appeared in the local press, the truth is that the local council is determined that the site must be redeveloped, and has made the Roxy owners — an offer that they couldn’t refuse'.
What I, as an outsider, cannot understand, is why the council aren’t willing to allow the Roxy to continue operating as it is until the site is actually ready to be redeveloped, or, even better, until a new city centre cinema provides the local residents with the sort of service that they have come to expect from the Roxy over the past 68 years.
BRONX, NY — Fantastic News Everyone!
The Gala opening of the Loews Paradise is set for October 29th Featuring singing sensation Giberto Santa Rosa.
I will be there naturally!
Valet parking is available for $10.00 and tickets which can be purchased at the new theatre box office on Grand Concourse (a recent installment which is absolutely lovely) or ticketmaster.
Tickets for the event will run from $40.00 to $75.00. It should be wonderful.
I hope to see everyone there!
October 10, 2005
LAFAYETTE, CA — Upon learning of plans to demolish the recently-closed Park Theater for condos, local developer Greg Woehrle joined forces with a group of local businessmen and purchased the building.
Woehrle intends to preserve the theater’s marquee and facade while considering various plans (apparently not including a movie theater) to revitalize the landmark.
The story, by Meera Pal, can be found on the Contra Costa Times website.
Cambridge, MA — The Brattle Theatre has brought repertory film programming to Cambridge’s Harvard Square for 52 years, but if they don’t raise $400,000 by the end of this year, they may close.
Here’s a long press release from the Brattle, explaining their predicament:
Repertory film programming at the Brattle simply cannot survive without significant community support. Our current challenges can only be overcome with the involvement of community members who want to keep the tradition of film programming alive at the Brattle Theatre.
The Brattle has experienced the same drop in attendance that has been plaguing cinemas over the past several years. Operating costs – including film rental and facilities management – have increased by 30%. Government, corporate, and foundation funding for cultural organizations have diminished. Furthermore, BFF and the Brattle are feeling the pinch of the changes in Harvard Square’s make-up. As Harvard mainstays like Wordsworth Bookstore, Brine’s and HMV close their doors, the Brattle’s surroundings have lost much of their draw as a vibrant, independent destination. Empty storefronts lead to a decrease in foot traffic, which leads to a decrease in ticket sales."
Just as a ballet company or a museum must be subsidized by donations, so must repertory film programming at the Brattle. By definition, ticket sales are an inconsistent and unreliable source of income. Every other independent repertory cinema in the country relies heavily on public and donation support to solidify their budgets.