The latest movie theater news and updates
July 29, 2002
EASTCHESTER, NY — The Garson Brothers Development company has begun construction on a new $15 million apartment complex on the site of the recently razed Scarsdale Plaza Theater. According to the New York Times, the 49-unit “Scarsdale Commons” is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2003.
The now vanished theater was sold, along with an adjacent space, for $2.85 million in late 2000. When plans to raze the theater later went public, local residents along with Craig Morrison, the chair of New York’s Historic Preservation Committee, led a drive to save the old movie house. Despite attempts to landmark the building in June 2002, the theater was demolished.
The Scarsdale Plaza was originally constructed by Rapp & Rapp for RKO in 1931. Morrison, in a June New York Post article, referred to the theater as “the only one of its kind in America” for the unique wood details in its marquee and interior. The theater had been closed since 1996 and is now just a footnote.
Score one for the developers.
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — The continued success of the Bardavon 1869 Opera House is being cited today in the New York Times as one of the signs that the beleaguered city of Poughkeepsie is finally clawing its back from the brink.
According to the New York Times, following years of renovations in which its interior and exterior has been meticulously restored, the Bardavon is now drawing 120,000 visitors per year — a three-fold increase from its totals in 1994.
NEW YORK, NY — Elsewhere, the former Loews Cineplex Worldwide Cinemas, once the only remaining discount movie theater in Manhattan, is scheduled to be converted into multiple auditoriums for off-broadway productions. According to the New York Times, the complex will be converted into five small auditoriums, along with rehearsal space, and is scheduled to open in mid-2003.
July 26, 2002
The LA Times, the Guardian, and the NY Times each carried articles on various Cinema Treasures over the past week. Enjoy!
LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles Times has published an extensive piece about Steve Needleman’s $3 million restoration of downtown LA’s Orpheum Theatre. In addition to the article, you can also view a guided tour filmed by the newspaper’s staff. To watch, just follow the links on the right side of their page.
ENGLAND — David McKie of the Guardian has written a short piece about the English cinemas of yesterday and how their names evoked a certain magic and excitement. With the current practice of naming theaters after their number of screens or location within a shopping mall, it’s no wonder he’s waxing lyrical about a grander time at the movie house.
BROOKLYN, NY — The New York Times covered the Theatre Historical Society of America’s trip to the shuttered Loew’s Kings. The 3600-seat Rapp & Rapp movie palace has been closed since 1977 and has since been the subject of much speculation as to when and if it might reopen.
(Thanks to Andreas Fuchs for the story.)
HAMILTON, SCOTLAND — The city of Hamilton isn’t movie-less anymore thanks to a new 9-screen, 1,423-seat multiplex which is due to open August 23rd. According to the Hamilton Advertiser, the city has been without a movie house since the Odeon on Townhead Street closed in 1999.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK — This Sunday, July 28th, The Motion Picture Club presents its “Sixth Annual Street Fair” on Manhattan’s 7th Avenue between 47th and 57th Streets.
In addition to all the thrills and frills, good times and foods of an authentic New York City festival, this event offers a rare chance to find some great movie memorabilia and promotional items. With the support of our friends in the film and entertainment communities, this event helps the Motion Picture Club to raise much needed funds for many of our industry charities, including: Will Rogers Pioneers, Make a Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, and Variety Clubs International.
Last year, approximately 850,000 people attended, so make sure you’ll stop by early. The street fair is scheduled from 9 AM to 6 PM. Check out the bargains, have some great snacks and enjoy the movies! For more information about the Motion Picture Club, please check out www.motionpictureclub.org.
(Thanks to Andreas Fuchs for the notice!)
July 25, 2002
CHESHIRE, CT — The parent company of a local oil firm has purchased the shuttered and crumbling Cheshire Cinema, according to a report in the Republican-American. The theater has been closed since 1998 and was briefly condemned for safety violations since that time.
Plans for the old movie house, which was erected in 1923, are unknown, but residents hope it will now be preserved or at least repaired from its current status as an ‘eyesore’. The theater is best known for an interior 15-foot-long mural created by Al Hirschfeld depicting a “nightclub filled with Hollywood legends.”
We’ll keep you posted…
(Thanks to Roger Katz for the news.)
CONCORDIA, KS — Cinema Treasures' friend, and frequent contributor, Joel Weide reports that the Apollo Theatre, has closed. The Apollo replaced the Brown Grand as the central movie house for Concordia years ago and was twinned most likely in the early 1980’s.
He writes, “I understand that it has fallen into serious disrepair, and needs extensive work. The community leadership is working to begin a project to re-open the theater and I will keep you posted as events warrant. The Apollo has no historical significance and could be consided an early AMC-type design, however it did serve the people of North Central Kansas with a great movie venue.”
(Thanks to Joel for the sad news.)
SALINA, KS — Elsewhere in Kansas, the Historic Fox Theatre Foundation has hired the former Senior Production Manager of the opening and closing ceremonies of the recent Olympic games in Salt Lake City as the new Executive Director of the Fox Theatre.
According to the Salina Journal, the multi-million dollar restoration and renovation project is scheduled to be completed in 2003 when the the Fox reopens as a mixed-use performing arts center.
(Thanks to Joel again for the update.)
July 24, 2002
CHICAGO, IL — The “3rd Annual Silent Summer Film Festival” begins July 26th at 8 p.m with Lon Chaney in the 1925 edition of “The Phantom of the Opera”. One silent film will be shown at the historic Gateway Theatre every week on Friday at 8 p.m.
Elsewhere in Chicago, the 21st Annual Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival kicks off on July 26th with an array of 125 films playing at numerous theaters around the city including the Music Box, the Three Penny Cinema, and the Landmark Century City Cinema.
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft!)
NEW YORK, NY — Emerging Pictures and the League of Historic American Theatres have formed a strategic alliance to deliver independent and foreign films through EP’s digital projection and satellite delivery infrastructure.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, EP plans to install digital projection in 300 classic cinemas over the next three years through the alliance. In addition to film, EP may also help historic movie houses raise additional revenues by exhibiting concerts, broadway shows, as well as corporate and educational events and programming.
(Thanks to Andreas Fuchs for the update!)
July 23, 2002
BARRINGTON, IL — According to a report in the Daily Herald, the historic Catlow Theatre’s fortunes have turned slightly thanks to an unlikely hit, the indie film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, which has been packing crowds into the 1927 movie house.
The film’s success this summer has given the struggling single screen cinema its best financial success in over two years and has helped keep the theater off the real estate market.
As the theater waits for the village of Barrington to commit to a plan to save the Catlow, and possibly turn it into a performing arts center, the theater’s owners are encouraged by all of the new and returning faces who continue to line up outside the theater.
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft for the news!)