The latest movie theater news and updates
November 25, 2002
Today, we’ve added over 50 new theater photos to Cinema Treasures, with some truly outstanding images from all around the US!
Highlights include a 1940s postcard view of Purcell, OK’s Canadian Theater; a neon nighttime view of San Francisco’s 4-Star; a recent exterior view of the Willimantic, CT’s Capitol Theater; a stunning matinee view of the Del Mar Theater in Santa Cruz, CA; a recent view of the aptly-named Little Theatre in New Haven, CT; a new view of Dallas, TX’s Majestic Theater; a detail marquee view of the Shores Performing Arts Theater in Miami Shores, FL; and recent views of two Idaho theaters, the Rio theater in Idaho Falls and the Sun Valley Opera House in Sun Valley.
Thanks to the following contributors for today’s photos: John Elwood, Bryan Krefft, Gary Parks, Roger Katz, Jean, Wes Reeves, redbean, Ron Pierce, Ross Melnick, Chuck Parker, Greg Kacir/Detroit Pix, Jack Tillmany, Steve Anderson, Pete Christy, Mark Wolodarsky, Martin Trainer, Jayson Wall, Rich Simone, and Mark Gulbrandsen.
November 22, 2002
HONOLULU, HI — Consolidated Amusmements, which had operated the historic Waikiki 1, 2, 3 theaters, has announced their abrupt closure. According to the Honolulu Advertiser, the company has cited dwindling attendance in closing the triplex and said plans to close the theater have been discussed since 1990.
The Waikiki 3 theater is actually the original Waikiki Theatre which opened in 1936 and was later joined by the Waikiki 1 & 2. Consolidated Amusements opened a nearby megaplex a few years ago which has been slowly killing their one-time flagship cinema, the Waikiki.
With the busy holiday season, the company decided to close the older theater and switch its employees to the megaplex in order to avoid having to hire seasonal help.
Along with the shuttering of the Hawaii Cinerama Theater, the passing of the Waikiki is a major blow to movie theater enthusiasts on the island. No further word is available on the fate of these three theaters.
We’ve just added over a dozen new theaters thanks to Philip Goldberg, Bryan Krefft, Steve Smith, Salvatore Salonia, Bruce Talanian, and Ron Pierce. We currently have over 2,500 U.S. theaters, over 200 each from Canada and the U.K., and hundreds more from another 28 countries.
JACKSONVILLE, FL — Another 1960s movie house has taken its final bow with news that the St. Johns 8 has been closed and sold to a real estate developer with plans to demolish the old movie house. According to the Times-Union, StarNet Cinemas has already begun removing all of the theater’s equipment.
The St. Johns Theatre originally opened in 1969 as a single-screen movie house and has slowly expanded to eight during its more than three-decade run.
BRANFORD, CT — The former Branford Theatre appears headed for the pages of history after the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conversion to retail and apartment space.
According to the New Haven Register, the vote came down yesterday approving the conversion of the theater space into 20 apartments. The Branford Theatre Building retail space will remain largely unaltered. The old Branford closed in 1999.
NEW PORT RICHEY, FL — The gold dome of the Richey Suncoast Theatre has been restored as part of an $18,000 makeover which will also add a new coat paint to the exterior as well as new signs and carpeting.
According to the Tampa Tribune, the Mediterranean Revival theater originally opened in 1926 as a silent movie theater and currently hosts live theater and performances.
November 21, 2002
More than 50 new theaters have just been posted thanks in large part to Jose Mendez and Bryan Krefft, as well Philip Goldberg and Steve Smith, who have been adding an enormous number of New York City theaters.
Additional theaters were also added by Jean, Donald John Long, Graeme McBain, theater historian Jim Rankin, Ron Pierce, Mark Gulbrandsen, and Pete Christy. Thanks everyone and keep ‘em coming!!!
November 20, 2002
DAVIS, CA — The Davis Musical Theatre may be moving out of the Varsity Theatre, which it has performed in since 1984, to a new building with a smaller auditorium, but better facilities for its productions.
According to the Sacramento Business Journal, the city of Davis is currently “thinking” about purchasing the 427-seat movie house from its owner.
HILTON HEAD, SC — A group of local arts associations has banded together in an effort to raise $70,000 in tax grants from the town of Hilton Head Island in order to lease the former Main Street Cinema.
According to the Beaufort Gazette, if the request is approved, the former twin movie house would then be renovated into a 220-seat performing arts venue.
LAGRANGE, OH — The former LaGrange Theater in the downtown area will be renovated into the LaGrange Performing Arts Center and is scheduled to reopen in 2005. According to the Ledger-Enquirer, the former movie house has been closed for several years.
When it reopens, the LaGrange will house nearly 600 patrons and will have a new stage area for “visiting musical, theatrical and dance organizations to perform.” No costs have been reported.
The LaGrange originally opened around 1930.
November 19, 2002
SALINA, KS — As the battle over whether to change the name of Fox Theatre to the Stiefel Performing Arts Center, to reflect its largest benefactor, continues, the Salina Journal is looking for your vote of whether or not to keep the original name of the theater.
Voters currently seem split as to whether or not to approve the name change to Stiefel which would call for the removal of the Fox vertical sign. The newspaper has also published an in-depth history of the former Fox Watson Theatre and a brief update of its current status.
(Thanks to Joel Weide for the news.)
HOLYOKE, MA — The Victory Theatre has been added to the Massachusetts list of the year’s “Most Endangered Historic Resources” by the Preservation Mass organization, according to a report in the Boston Globe.
In response, Holyoke officials announced that they are currently negotiating with the Mass Institute for Fine Arts to restore the Victory Theatre. Downtown Holyoke is one of the most beleaguered areas in all of Massachusetts and New England.
TORRINGTON, CT — The restoration and reopening of the Warner Theatre has spurred a number of articles in recent days. Here are just a few of them (please follow the links):
BRATTLEBORO, VT — Continuing with our New England theme today, the Latchis Theatre has been purchased along with the Art Deco Latchis hotel for $1.6 million by the Latchis Project — a project headed by the Brattleboro Arts Initiative.
According to the Times Argus, the purchase of the theater will lead the way to relaunching the theater as a community arts center. For the time being, and for the forseeable future, the historic triplex will continue showing movies.
November 18, 2002
It’s Monday again and that means a whole weekend of stories has been piling up. Please follow the links below to read the latest news on Cinema Treasures from around the world. See you tomorrow!
(Thanks to Joel Weide and Gregg Anderson for the update.)
The following were also sent with our tremendous thanks to Gregg Anderson:
November 15, 2002
BOSTON, MA — A $31 million restoration and renovation project at the former Keith’s Memorial is set to begin now that the city has handed a permit to Clear Channel Entertainment. According to the Boston Globe, Clear Channel hopes to begin hosting Broadway productions in the former Keith’s/RKO movie palace by 2004.
FROSTPROOF, FL — The Frostproof Chamber of Commerce will vote on whether or not to purchase the old Ramon Theater when the board meets on November 19th. According to The Ledger, the plan to purchase the theater and an adjacent building from owner David Higginbottom is nearly a done deal.
Future plans for the shuttered Ramon include screenings of classic films and live performances. The Ramon and the adjacent Thompson building both need new roofs which will cost roughly $50,000.
The Ramon opened in 1925 for motion pictures and stage shows.