The latest movie theater news and updates
February 13, 2017
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.
On September 7, 1929 the Loew’s Kings Theatre in Brooklyn opened its doors to the public for the first time. Less than 50 years later they were shut, seemingly for good. Designed by the Rapp & Rapp architecture firm in the French Baroque style, the Kings is not only an architecturally important piece of Brooklyn history, but from community standpoint as well. Many Brooklynites had their first date at the theater, or walked across the stage during their high school graduation. Now, after almost 40 years of darkness, the curtain is beginning to rise.
When it reopened in 2015, the Kings became the largest indoor theater in Brooklyn and the third largest in New York City. It is a place for the community to gather once again, hosting everything from Broadway shows to concerts. Take a trip through the history of the Kings via photographs and artifacts spanning the theater’s heyday through its renovation. Watch the theater return to its original splendor and learn for yourself why it’s called Brooklyn’s “Wonder Theater.”
This new book by Matt Lambros contains never before seen historic and modern photographs of the Kings, as well as a complete history of the theater. There are a limited supply available online at Amazon.
LINK TO PURCHASE THE BOOK: https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Theatre-Rebirth-Brooklyns-Wonder/dp/0692032002/
ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.
Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at historictheatres.org
February 9, 2017
From Fox11online.com: One of the main tenants of Green Bay’s East Town Mall will close next week. The Budget Cinemas is going dark amid plans to try to redevelop the entire mall. Although, Kevin Vonck, Green Bay’s economic development director, believes the closure likely would have happened either way. “You just look at the rise globally of Netflix and Amazon and all these other streaming services and across the nation movie theatres are taking a hit,” said Vonck.
From the Kansas City Business Journal: The new owners of Shawnee’s Aztec Theatre — one of the oldest movie theaters in Kansas — plan to bring it back to life, the Shawnee Dispatch reports.
It last saw life as a movie house in 1975, according to Cinema Treasures.
From AL.com: The restoration of the historic Carver Theatre is moving forward just weeks after portions of the 4th Avenue Business District was included in the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument.
Last year, the Birmingham City Council approved spending $4.3 million on capital improvements to the city-owned structure. The process hadn’t moved forward, though, until this week when leadership of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, which operates the facility, met with city leaders to go over the budget for the planned work.
Bishop Jim Lowe, president of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame board of directors, said he hopes renovations will be complete in 12 to 18 months.
That timeline, though, may be too optimistic as the project hasn’t went out to bid yet, and the allotted city funds likely won’t pay for all of the improvements on the board’s wish list.
The historic Carver Theatre, owned by the city of Birmingham since 1990, is a non-profit multi-use community-based theater, which houses the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame museum.
Hundreds of internationally recognized artists have performed at the Carver Theatre, and each year, more than 100 area school children receive tuition free jazz instruction and performance opportunities at the venue.
The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame now wants to restore the aging theater to its 1940s grandeur and capitalize on the 4th Avenue Business District’s inclusion into the National Park system.
From The Greeneville Sun: A downtown landmark will soon get a bit of a facelift.
Work to repair the Capitol Theatre’s marquee is likely to get underway soon, along with other planned upgrades to the theater’s facade.
Earlier this week, the Historic Zoning Commission approved plans for the South Main Street landmark that include repairs to the marquee and its lights, enclosure of the existing ticket booth and installation of granite and tile on the lower portion of the building’s facade.