The latest movie theater news and updates

  • January 13, 2017

    Stamford, CT – Stamford’s 90-year-old Palace Theatre gets plaster treatment

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    From the Stamford Advocate: Rather than settling in to a front-row seat, Randy Thomas found a perch in the mezzanine to catch the show going on at the Palace Theatre earlier this week. As he looked out across the expanse to a wooden platform more than 50 feet above the stage, he watched as workers in hard hats and safety vests moved carefully to restore and replace plaster where ceiling meets walls. Drills whirred, buckets were lowered and the work continued apace. “There is some really intricate work up there,” said Thomas, the theater’s director of production and facilities since 2006. He’s not as old as the plaster – which went up when the theater was built 90 years ago – but he’s been working here since 1991. “They don’t build them like this anymore. It would be way too expensive.” The Palace opened its doors on Atlantic Street on June 2, 1927. Designed by Thomas Lamb, a leader in his fieldwhose works include the Palace Theater in Waterbury, the performance venue rose from the wreckage of the Grand Opera House following a devastating fire in 1904. The site was purchased in the mid-1920s by Stamford residents Mary C. Vuono and her husband Charles and in its early days featured vaudeville acts. It then became a movie house, and, later, a stage for repertory work by the Hartman Theater company. Most recently, it has been host to musicians, comedians, dancers and other live acts on tour.

  • Mission, KS – Historic Mission movie theater reopens as event space

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    From Fox4KC.com: A historic movie theater in Mission is being given new life.

    The new owners of the Mission Theatre at 5909 Johnson Drive in Mission, Kan., are Kip and Kris Unruh. They have gutted the inside of the building to transform this former theater into a wedding event space.

    The building first opened in 1938 by Glen Wood Dickinson, founder of the Dickinson Theatre chain. It was the first all-concrete movie theater in the area meant to withstand fires, tornadoes and other natural disasters. But over the years, the theater fell into disrepair.

    The new owners loved the location and spent many months renovating it.

    “It just had so much potential,” Kris Unruh said. “It was just waiting for somebody to come in and get a new life.”

    They believe this is a unique place to hold weddings and receptions.

    “Venues are something Kansas City needs more of,” Unruh said. “We married our own daughters and realized that there is a demand for venues. You have to sometimes wait 18 months to rent a place.”

    They are now booking weddings, receptions and corporate events.

  • Cleveland, OH – With demolition permit, it looks like curtains for long-vacant Center Mayfield Theatre

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    From Cleveland.com: Closing credits are rolling for the long-vacant Center Mayfield Theatre, with a demolition permit for the entire complex recently obtained by the owner.

    City Council learned of the plans Monday (Jan. 9) from Housing Programs Manager Allan Butler, who said that crews were already on site taking up the asphalt parking lot at the corner of Mayfield Road and Vandemar Street.

    Reached Tuesday, property owner Art Treuhaft said he’d driven by the complex the day before, but had “no idea where they are with the demolition.”

    Plans call for clearing the 1.5-to-2-acre site and putting it back on the market in February or March, Treuhaft said.

    The theater showed its last movie in 1996, although there were a succession of tenants since then, including a video rental shop and then briefly a liquor store.

    “Up to two or three years ago, it was fully occupied, with the exception of the auditorium,” Treuhaft said, adding that tenants have been vacating ever since.

    Councilwoman Mary Dunbar asked about architectural merits for the theater, opened in 1936, with the other storefronts being built in stages beginning in 1917.

    City preservation officials, who are working on a historic inventory of local commercial buildings, have toured the theater.

    While the Master Plan being drafted by the city with Cuyahoga County officials mentions continuing efforts to slow down the demolition process that has already been discussed for over a year.

  • Sardis, MS – Panola Playhouse ‘going back to its roots’ in celebrating 55 years

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    From The Oxford Eagle: Panola Playhouse has been a venue for live community theatre since 1962, but from the 1920s to 1958, it was a first-run movie theater.

    This weekend, the Playhouse goes back to its roots.

    On Saturday, Jan. 14, beginning at 7 p.m., the venue will be hosting a double feature of horror films. “Fright Night” will consist of two horror throwbacks: 1960’s “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Night of the Living Dead” which will begin at 9 p.m.

  • January 11, 2017

    Washington, IA – This Iowa movie theater is the oldest of its kind in the entire world

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    From The Des Moines Register: When’s the last time you saw a movie in a theater?

    Take a drive east from Des Moines to Altoona and your experience at just one of many state-of-the-art theaters will consist of ultra high-definition picture quality, surround sound, reclining lounge chairs, self-service concessions and even alcohol.

    But if you continue the drive another two hours in that direction, you’ll find yourself in Washington, Ia. — home of the world’s oldest continuously operating movie theater in a town of 7,000 people.

  • San Antonio, TX – Can a New Partnership Jumpstart the Alameda Theater’s Revival?

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    From The Rivard Report: The iconic Alameda Theater hasn’t hosted large crowds for Spanish-language films and performers in decades, but the storied Latino performing arts venue which now sits in disrepair may soon get the facelift it desperately needs – and with it a chance of revival.

    The City of San Antonio and Bexar County are finalizing an agreement with Texas Public Radio (TPR) that will allow the nonprofit to move its headquarters from its longtime offices on Datapoint Drive near the Medical Center into the space behind the Alameda Theater, located at 318 W. Houston St., and will include investments from both entities to help renovate the historic structure.

  • Westerly, RI – Team transforming Westerly theater into arts ‘epicenter’

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    From The Day: After making significant investments in Watch Hill and downtown Westerly, Charles “Chuck” Royce is now part of a team focusing on the transformation of the old United Theater into a culture and arts education center where students will be able to learn, artists will display their work or perform and the public will come to be entertained. “Of all my downtown projects, this is real and symbolic. It’s smack in the middle,” Royce said in an interview. The newly named Ocean Community United Theatre at 5 Canal St. was acquired in 2006 by the Westerly Land Trust as part of its urban initiative and is now the centerpiece of the estimated $15 million arts and education center. The onetime vaudeville theater, opened in 1926 and later converted to a single-screen cinema, was closed in 1986 and shuttered for two decades before it was acquired by the land trust. Three years after buying the theater, the land trust bought the former Montgomery Ward building next door, and the two structures will be married together for the project that will include a music school, spaces for rehearsals, workshops and master classes, and studios for teaching and producing film and video, live performances and fine arts. There will also be a performing arts center, cinema and art gallery — all with a focus on educating and entertaining. Royce and others on the United Theatre board, who have been meeting monthly to move the multimillion-dollar project forward, foresee the arts complex as a downtown magnet that will draw artists and performers, students and audiences for the shows, concerts, exhibits and classes. “We believe it will be an epicenter of entertainment,” said Bill McKendree, president of the board. “Our vision is not just that it will be a facility, but that it will be a regional mechanism to facilitate the arts.” McKendree said the group envisions year-round classes, events and activities, and maybe a Spoleto-like festival similar to the famed 17-day event held in Charleston, S.C., each spring. Spoleto packs crowds into performance spaces around the city to see and hear both well-known and lesser-known performers doing everything from dance and opera to symphony and jazz music. “Our picture is bigger than the building itself,” he said. “Like could we have an opera festival or taste of Italy for the month of June?”

  • January 7, 2017

    Jersey City, NJ – An Inside Look At The Stanley Theater’s Celestial Restoration

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    From Jersey Digs: When it opened in 1928, The Stanley Theater in Journal Square was one of the greatest old movie palaces and the second-largest on the East Coast, next to Radio City. Presenting both orchestral and stage shows plus Hollywood new releases, it quickly became a cultural hub in the bustling Journal Square neighborhood.

    “This was a refuge for the people of Jersey City,” notes historian Richard Polton. Designed by architect Fred Wesley Wentworth in a grand Venetian theme, the theater continued to thrive into the 1960s, with entertainers ranging from The Three Stooges, Jimmy Durante, Tony Bennett, Janis Joplin and Dolly Parton, to The Grateful Dead. By the 1970s, however, the theater, like many of its kind, suffered from disrepair and became a grindhouse.

  • Buffalo, NY – Dear Turner Classic Movies: Buffalo is the answer to your prayers

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    From The Buffalo News:

    Wanted: A city of movie buffs. Must be rich in history, have Hollywood ties and be worthy of shining in the spotlight. A functioning movie palace of yesteryear is a must. Contact Turner Classic Movies.

    Found: Buffalo, N.Y.

    When TCM reached out recently to its Backlot fan club members for recommendations of a city to host a big event, it was exciting to see Buffalo met its requirements.

    We are more than chicken wings and walls of snow. We are home of the 1901 Pan-Am Exposition and Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces; the birthplace of famous entertainers and two presidents and location for hundreds of movies. And that one historic movie palace you need? We have six grand and glorious options for you – all still operating, all built between 1920 and 1926 and all ready to welcome a full house of movie fans, local celebrities and athletes (we’re looking at you, Bills' fan Ben Mankiewicz) and TCM hosts to share a love of classic films.

    or more than a century, hundreds of movies have used the Buffalo area as a location, from early Edison short films made here between 1896 and 1904; to battle scenes re-created at Curtiss-Wright Corp. for John Wayne’s “Flying Tigers”; and in more recent years, scenes for “Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” “Best Friends,” “Bruce Almighty” and “The Savages.” The wondrous Niagara Falls has roared to life alongside such co-stars as Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten in the thriller “Niagara,” Christopher Reeve in “Superman II” and even the “Sharknado” gang.

  • Douglaston, Queens, NY – Douglaston Macy’s and movie theater to move out, Lowe’s Home Improvement looking to move in

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    From QNS.com: There are some big retail changes coming to Douglaston in the new year.

    Douglaston Plaza shopping center, located at 242-02 61st Ave. at the intersection of the Long Island Expressway and the Cross Island Parkway, is losing its Macy’s department store and the MovieWorld movie theater, but gaining a big box home improvement retailer.