The latest movie theater news and updates
July 23, 2004
ANDALUSIA, AL — Near the turn of the century, a young, petite girl said to have been near 18 years old, with blond hair, was said to have been killed by a fire in the theater in Andalusia, Alabama. I’m not sure what the theater was named back then, but it was later renamed as the Martin Theatre and then as the Clarke.
This young girl has been seen by many employees and her face can be seen peering out of the projection room in cinema 3, upstairs, late at night while the staff cleans after shows.
A gentleman around 50 or 60 was said to have had a heart attack or stroke in the old office, which was transformed 6 years ago into the ladies restroom during remodeling and restoration. This gentleman has also been seen peering out from the projection rooms.
Thought everyone might want to know that today is the birthday of Cinema Treasures co-founder (and all-around great guy) Ross Melnick!
July 22, 2004
I would like to draw members attention to BBC Television’s Restoration programme which aired last night.
For those of you who don’t know it’s a sort of “pop Idol” or “American Idol” for old buildings. The Welsh section of the competition featured the Newbridge Memorial Hall, a Miners institute building, complete with a 1920’s cinema. Some members may recall the interior of the was the setting for the fictional La Scala cinema/bingo hall in the Julian Kemp film “House”
If you want to see this cinema win a place in the grand final heat to be fully restored, please VOTE NOW on 09011 33 22 22 and choose 2 from the recorded list. (US callers should add 011 44) to this phone number.)
July 21, 2004
CHICAGO, IL — Late last week, the new front signage for the famed Chicago Theatre was installed. As part of a total replacement of the theater’s marquee, these preview pics (below) show the exact replacement of the front signage.
What is not known yet, is the height of the side attraction portions of the marquee. Updates ASAP.
July 20, 2004
CHICAGO, IL — The Biograph Theatre, long a Chicago movie-going landmark, will close to moviegoers in September of this year, after being sold to the Tony-award winning Victory Gardens Theatre. (More info details in this report from the Chicago Tribune.)
While its interior will be gutted, the facade will be preserved. The theater company plans two theater spaces, one will be a 299-seat main stage and the other will be a more intimate 130-seat studio theater.
While this may be a good outcome for the Biograph, it represents the loss of yet another neighborhood theater in Chicago Without a car, it becomes evermore difficult to catch a show in the city.
July 19, 2004
BINGHAMTON, NY — Here in Binghamton, earlier this year we lost the Art Theatre, our last operating old-style theater, in a devastating fire (see previous story).
We are attempting to come back from the ashes. It won’t be the 90 year old theater, but we hope to bring the atmosphere and ambiance that you would have been able to find there. We’ve been showing art films in a local space to raise money and keep awareness up.
We have a wonderful opportunity to boost our efforts, but are lacking one vital piece. Does anyone know of a source for a working, reasonably priced 35mm projector? We’re scurrying and searching, but coming up empty locally. My hope is that someone out there will have what we need!
Thanks for the support and information we’ve received from the members of this site!
“The outside of the Garden Theatre will be restored, but the interior has suffered severe deterioration and will likely need new finishes,” a consultant on the theater project is quoted as saying. The News reports that the work is scheduled to be completed by next year.
July 16, 2004
NEW YORK, NY — We’re sad to report that the rumors about the closing of the Astor Plaza have finally been confirmed.
The S. L. Green Realty Corporation, who became new owners of the building that houses the Astor when they bought the remainder of Loews' lease — plan to convert the facility into a concert venue for live rock during a nine-month renovation.
For those who never experienced the majesty of this theater, it was glorious. While its design was spartan in comparison to the nearby Ziegfeld, the Astor made up for it with its gigantic seating area (1500+ seats), which seemed to suck in anyone and everyone in Times Square who ever loved movies. Friday night premieres were always a blast. And, during the Astor’s lifetime, it played a tremendous number of great movies… King Kong, Jaws, 2001, Superman, When Harry Met Sally, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Matrix, and more. It will be missed.
(ED. — As many of you noticed, Cinema Treasures got a very nice mention in the Times article.)
NEW YORK, NY — One of the last former Times Square movie houses to remain vacant, the Times Square Theatre at 217 W. 42nd Street, has been acquired by the urban apparel retailer, Ecko, which just a month ago announced the move of its corporate headquarters to a new location in Chelsea.
According to this report from GlobeSt.com, Ecko expects to open its store in the three-story building by 2006, with construction beginning early next year. More information can be found in the New York Times.
The Times Square Theatre was opened in 1920 for the Selwyns, and designed by Eugene DeRosa. Ecko plans to keep several historic architectural features of the theater, including its 25 foot-tall proscenium arch, its domed ceiling, and its ornamental plasterwork.
BERKELEY, CA — Theatergoers of Berkeley, CA and the East Bay recently suffered the end of an era of repertory cinema when the Fine Arts Cinema was officially declared dead.
Patrick Kennedy, owner and developer of the apartment and commercial complex being completed on the cinema’s former site, said that the last operator, Keith Arnold, had informed him that he had given up on reopening in the building bearing its name because he had been unable to raise the $800,000 to $1.2 million necessary to outfit the unfinished space offered by Kennedy.