The latest movie theater news and updates
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!)
BRISTOL, ENGLAND — According to a post by “GStaples”, plans to install a health club inside the old ABC Whiteladies Road cinemas “were unnaminously and robustly rejected by the council’s planning committee. The new owner intends to appeal. So first battle of the war won, but sadly the building remains boarded up!”
MARSHALLTOWN, IA — The Orpheum Centre Inc.’s offer on the Orpheum Theatre has been accepted by the R.L. Fridley Theatres Corporation of Des Moines.
According to their press release, “TOC’s 501©3 non-profit status enabled us to offer Fridley’s a substantial tax credit on the purchase. The Orpheum property consists of the theatre, former coffee shop building and a small parcel (parking lot) just East of Starla’s Classic Cuts.
“TOC will have 90 days to raise the monies necessary to complete the sale. Additional funding will be required to do the restoration and enhancement of the facility as we convert the Orpheum into a multi-purpose community centre we can all be be proud to have in Marshalltown.
“Fund raising will kick off Monday and be under the direction of Mary Curley & Sheila Brown. All donations are tax deductible and a pledge plan will be in place to allow for convenient payments. TOC also accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Questions, ideas, criticisms, or to contribute, please call 641-751-7900. Please check our new and enhanced webpage.”
July 22, 2002
Among today’s terrific new batch of photos are several withering, but extant, Bridgeport, Connecticut movie houses as photographed by Cinema Treasures volunteer and local theater expert Roger Katz.
Other highlights include several English cinemas from our UK theater guru, Ian Grundy, and photos from William French, Michael Raney, David Jones, Ron Pierce, and Cinema Treasures' Canadian guide, Chad Irish.
July 19, 2002
MILWAUKEE, WI — The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has written an extensive article about the Oriental Theatre in honor of its 75th anniversary. The East Indian-style movie palace is still in glorious condition and showing movies today, operated as a triplex by Landmark Theatres.
The article includes numerous photos of the theater as well as quotes from Larry Widen, author of the book, Milwaukee Movie Palaces, and Cinema Treasures' friend and contributor, Jim Rankin. The Journal Sentinel article also mentions the Cinema Treasures/USA Today listing of the Oriental as one of the top ten places to see movies in a classic cinema.
DELAWARE, OH — Ohio Wesleyan University has purchased the Strand Theatre with plans to turn it into a film and performing arts center which would benefit the university and the community at large. The theater had been for sale since last year.
The theater will now be managed by Kara McVay, a long-time employee at the Strand who will direct the theater’s operations under Ohio Wesleyan’s ownership. In addition to movies and OWU’s film series, McVay also hopes to include ballets, community plays, and musical events at the Strand.
CALHOUN, GA — A new non-profit organization, the Friends of the Gem (FOG), has formed to renovate and restore the old Gem(/Martin) Theater and reopen it as a mixed use venue for film and the performing arts.
According to the Calhoun Times, the Gem opened in 1920 as a furniture warehouse and was converted into a 718-seat movie house in 1936. The Gem was the only movie house in town for 37 years and has been closed for two decades and used as a clothing store.
July 18, 2002
PHILADELPHIA, PA — The The Committee To Save The Sameric has launched a new website and online petition which will be sent to the Philadelphia City Council in order to drum up local support for saving the Art Deco movie palace.
Dennis Wilhelm, co-author of the book Popcorn Palaces, writes “The Boyd Theatre (now Sameric), a wonderful, elegant, French-style Art Deco Movie Palace in center city Philadelphia, is in danger of demolition. In researching Popcorn Palaces, Mike Kinerk and I found that it is one of the earliest US movie places designed in the French-style.
“It opened in 1928 three years after the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts D