The latest movie theater news and updates
June 16, 2005
McHENRY, IL — The McHenry Outdoor Theatre, which has been entertaining McHenry County residents since 1955, and is one of only three operating drive-ins in Chicagoland, may be having its last season this year, according to the Chicago Tribune. The still very popular theater located between the village of Lakemoor and the city of McHenry is surrounded by ever-encroaching development, and for a couple years now, there has been the rumor of the McHenry Outdoor’s demise.
The theater’s manager, Danielle Munnich, does acknowledge that the owner of the McHenry, Tom Rhyan, doesn’t have a buyer but is in fact considering selling the property. “So far no one has made the right offer.” says Munnich. Just last week, Gary Castaldo, a DJ on STAR-105 FM, made news by having himself chained to a tree on the drive-in property to raise awareness of the drive-in’s potential closure, saying he’d remain there until he got 5,000 signatures on his petition to save the theater (which he did in six hours).
There is an interesting article in yesterday’s (June 15) Wall Street Journal that has found a successful formula for drawing customers by emulating the movie palaces of the 1920s.
From the WSJ article:
[i]“They’re doing what needs to be done,” says Paul Dergarabedian, Exhibitor Relations' president. The industry needs to emphasize the difference between watching movies at a theater and at home. Muvico “does that by creating these incredible theaters,” he says. “It tells people, ‘I can’t do the same thing at home.’ ” National Amusements Inc. and Pacific Theatres Exhibition Corp. are two other chains with similar state-of-the-art theaters, he says.
“The industry is still going through changes,” Muvico’s Mr. Hashemi says. “With the shortening of the window between the DVD and the theatrical release we really have to create an event."
(rudy franchi, www.nostalgia.com))
A local eccentric owner painted huge letters on its flat, black roof saying “Welcome to Cleveland” when planes fly over it to Milwaukee’s airport a few blocks away. This has amused and startled more than a few flyers, and the story of it makes interesting reading.
Click on the link above, and when there, click on the photo to enlarge it and see what all the fuss is about. The marquee still hangs on the front of the theatre which has been Mr. Gubin’s photo studio and residence for many years now, and which has had its seats removed, but its new incarnation is probably a more suiteable usage than many others.
What will become of it when Mr. Gubin becomes too old to climb the steps to his balcony-home is anyone’s guess, but maybe the roof top joke will by then have long faded away, much to the delight of both cities. Maybe the author of the forthcoming sequel to “Milwaukee Movie Palaces,” Larry Widen, can get permission to copy this photo into the appendex of his new book: “Silver Screens” to appear in a year from now. He can hardly overlook this bit of trivia about the fates of our movie palaces!
June 15, 2005
ALBANY, NY — This summer will mark the return of movies to the historic Palace Theatre in downtown Albany for the first time in 36 years. When final installation of the new projection and sound equipment is complete, the Palace will feature the largest screen in the region and, more importantly, an amazing sound and visual presentation system.
From a programming perspective, the Palace will be paying homage to the independent movie houses of old. The selections will include a mix of classics, family friendly fare and contemporary films. Efforts are being made to have at least one notable traveling film festival make a stop in 2006. Also in the works is to honor the theatre’s history as a rock and roll palace with a series of some of the best Rock n Roll movies ever produced.
Additional themed sub-series will also be included in the first season. In addition to this mix the best new movies will be included when they leave the malls whenever possible.
June 14, 2005
In less than five years, Cinema Treasures' database has grown from a small group of 125 theaters to a site that now contains over 10,000 theaters and hundreds of thousands of comments, thanks to all of your support.
Although it took roughly three years to reach 5,000, the number of listings has exploded recently, growing from roughly 6,000 a year ago to over 10,000 today and counting. (It was exactly three months ago that we announced our 9,000th theater added.)
When we first started making these incremental announcements back in 2001, we could name and thank all of our major contributors in a few lines. Today, there are (thankfully) so many of you who have dedicated your time and knowledge to building this incredible database that we can’t possibly list everyone.
However, for everyone who has ever submitted a comment, theater, or news story, or voted in our weekly poll, or if you just show up every morning for the latest news about classic movie theaters, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
We won’t bore you with yet another statement about how amazed we are at the rapid growth of this site (we’ve had to switch to a dedicated server, which is already overloaded!), but let’s just say that the site is growing so fast, we were already over 10,000 when we realized it.
Thank you all for making Cinema Treasures what it is today.
See you at 20,000!
[i]Ross Melnick, Patrick Crowley, and Bryan Krefft
June 13, 2005
PITTSBURGH, PA — June 19th, 2005 marks the bithplace of the movie theatre. 100 years ago, June 19th, 1905, the NICKELODEON was opened by Harry Davis and his brother-in-law, J.P. Harris. There will be an article in the weekend edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I will visit the site where it once stood; marked by a bronze plaque.
[Editor’s Note: Pittsburgh as the birthplace of the movie theatre is a highly debatable fact. There were certainly theaters showing movies (even exclusively) before Harry Davis coined the term “Nickelodeon” for his famous Pittsburgh movie house. I suspect Newcastle, PA, the site of the Warner brothers' first movie house in 1903, would have something to say about that, as would other towns in the United States and abroad.]
I’m trying to find out the origin of the word Strand, the name of so many theaters across the country. Can anyone help?
June 10, 2005
Dear Theatre Supporters,
In case you haven’t already heard, the Lombard village board voted 4-2 in favor of demolishing the DuPage Theatre. This was a shocking turn of events, given the positive direction our new development plan was taking.
The plan would fully restore the theatre, add retail and residential space to the theatre property, and be funded through grants, private donations and TIF dollars. And, it enjoyed an outpouring of community support demonstrated by 1000 lawn signs displayed over the course of 2 weeks.