The latest movie theater news and updates
April 30, 2004
CHARLESTON, SC — A few dozen people gathered on Monday night, April 26, to discuss a strategy for saving the Garden Theater as a theater. It was recently sold to a group of investors who plan to lease it to a national clothing chain. Many said converting the theater to retail space would be a loss for the city.
Jonathan Poston of the Historic Charleston Foundation said that would be “a perfect example of the mall-ization of King Street. If Charleston wants a theater on King Street that is still a theater… the community has to come up with the money.”
NEW LONDON, CT — The New London City Council is going to explore ways to renovate the long-abandoned Capitol Theatre and make it into a cultural attraction for the city, according to a new report in the New London Day.
The Capitol Theatre closed in 1974 after a fire marshall shut the theater down for code violations. It has remained padlocked ever since. Despite the fact that $400,000 was put into stabilizing the theater’s roof in 2000, the building is a wreck and would need millions of dollars of renovations to become a usable theater again.
BEAUFORT, SC — About three weeks ago, a group of people headed by Bill Gerke and is brother-in-law, Joe Barth, purchased the Highway 21 Drive-In Theater in Beaufort, South Carolina.
The refurbished drive-in reopens its gates Friday, April 30 with second-run screenings of “50 First Dates” and “Starsky and Hutch.” Plans include a move to first-run features after the theater is re-established.
April 29, 2004
KANSAS CITY, MO — From June 26 through July 1, 2004, the Theatre Historical Society of America, as part of its 2004 “Heart of America” Conclave, will tour a number of theaters in the Kansas City area.
The tour will include theaters in Lamar, Joplin, Richmond, St. Joseph, and Springfield, Missouri; a theater in Miami, Oklahoma; and these Kansas theaters: the Leavenworth, Kansas City, Emporia, El Dorado, Augusta, Wichita, Hutchinson, McPherson, Salina, Concordia, and Topeka.
Complete details about this year’s Conclave can be found on the THSA Conclave website. A glossy brochure is also available — if you’d like a copy, email , the group’s director, or send a request to the group’s headquarters via standard mail.
Fans of New York City’s Astor Plaza and Ziegfeld have been having a vibrant discussion about the past, present, and future of these two “palaces” — both of which are some of the few remaining large, single-screen theaters still operating in New York.
If you haven’t read some of the great comments on these theater pages, you’re definitely missing out!
April 28, 2004
NEWINGTON, CT — The Hartford Drive-In on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington was one of only four remaining drive-ins in Connecticut when it screened its final movie in 1996.
Since then, the theater has sat and deteriorated, with occasional seasonal use as a flea market or Christmas tree lot. While efforts to purchase and reopen the drive-in theater failed long ago, efforts to redevelop the property with a large retailer (like Wal-Mart) weren’t successful either.
PADUCAH, KY — In an effort to lure artists to a formerly run-down area that’s currently in the midst of a revival as an artists colony, the neighboring Arcade and Columbia Theatres, closed for more than 20 years, are being given away by City of Paducah.
The city, according to this report in the Chicago Tribune, is hoping to donate either one or both of the theaters to the right party with the right plan. Carol Gault, executive director of the Main Street Paducah program says “the theaters would be perfect for a non-for-profit group that wanted to put on plays, or, for that matter, start showing films again. We’re willing to listen to any ideas.”
April 27, 2004
NEW ORLEANS, LA — In June, the historic Saenger Theatre will bring movies back to this New Orleans movie palace.
According to The Times-Picayne, “Each movie will be preceded by a Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and musical selections played on the theater’s 77-year-old Robert Morton organ. John Hiltonsmith, who is restoring the Saenger’s 778-pipe organ, will play.”
RIVERHEAD, NY — The sad saga of the Suffolk Theatre continues as the most recent deal to purchase the beleaguered movie house has fallen through, according to Newsday. Closed since 1987, the theater has gone through a series of public and private efforts to secure its future to little avail. The battle continues …
April 26, 2004
PLEASANT HILL, CA — A local high student is leading an effort to preserve the domed CineArts theater. Slated to be torn down to make way for a new retail and entertainment complex, the Dome remains open (and popular) and is still a local landmark.
According to the Contra Costa Times, the demolition of the domed theater, currently exhibiting art house films, has been pushed off while developers bring in two large retailers.