The latest movie theater news and updates
September 25, 2002
BOSTON, MA — The final legal hurdle has been removed in Clear Channel Entertainment’s battle to restore and reopen the aging Opera House/Keith’s Memorial in Downtown Crossing thanks to a Superior Court judge who ruled in favor of the city and against a condominium complex which had sought to block the theater’s expansion efforts.
According to the Boston Globe, with the ruling, Clear Channel now plans to spend $30 million to redevelop, renovate, and restore the 2,500-seat palace into a venue for touring Broadway productions. The theater has been closed for over a decade and is need of substantial repair.
The early Thomas Lamb theater was built as a memorial to B.F. Keith and was a popular vaudeville venue for years. The theater later switched to movies as part of the RKO circuit and was the jewel of the Sack Theatres empire when it was known as the Savoy.
It was taken over by Sarah Caldwell in 1991 as a venue for opera, but the project ran out of money and the theater has changed hands and arrangements several times over the last decade. It appears, thankfully, that the Opera House will be back and better than ever.
Mayor Thomas Menino, who helped spearhead its revival, is proving to be one of the best friends a movie palace could have in goverment office and is now moving ahead with more plans to “revive” the Paramount and Modern theaters which are just a few doors down from the Opera House.
If all three of these theaters go back in operation and the Wang Center, Orpheum and Majestic are still delighting patrons, Boston would become a must-see destination for historic theater fans. When was the last time you could say that?
September 24, 2002
MARIETTA, GA — Plans are underway to renovate and reopen the historic Strand Theatre in downtown Marietta as a mixed use venue for “films and other peformances”, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.
A press release from Don Shafer, who also operates the 3-screen Marietta Star Cinema, says that the 800-seat Strand is also “in the process of securing exclusive rights to an advanced digital system of delivery and presentation that is just being made available to theaters in the USA. This could be available to the Strand as an exclusive area venue.”
The Strand may have some competition in the future as the Downtown Marietta Development Authority has just agreed to issue up to $80 million in bonds to erect a new performing arts center.
(Thanks to Don Shafer for the update.)
CHEHALIS, WA — Lund Theaters, which owns and operates the historic Chehalis Theater, has taken over operation of the old Yard Birds Mall triplex in North Chehalis.
According to the Chronicle, the theater, which had been operated by the Regal Entertainment Group until last Thursday, is already being run by Lund who had planned to take over the theater at the end of the year. Regal now operates only one theater in all of Washington state, the Regal Capital Mall 4 in Olympia.
Daryl Lund, owner of Lund Theaters, plans to install new seats, curtains, a new sound system, and alter the auditoriums for stadium seating. He also plans to add five screens to the Yard Birds.
Despite these plans, Lund will continue operating the old Chehalis (former Pix) Theater which was erected in 1938 and still turns a tidy profit. Lund resurrected that theater in 1994 after it had been closed for a decade.
September 23, 2002
CHICAGO, IL — PerformInk recently published an in-depth article on the state of theaters around the city of Chicago which includes up-to-date information on fundraising for the Uptown Theatre and the latest news on the Lakeshore, Chicago, and Ramova theaters.
NEW THEATERS — We added nearly 50 new theaters over the weekend and plan to add a number of new, accompanying photos next week. Thanks to everyone who added our latest Cinema Treasures and for helping document the ‘best remaining seats’ around the world!
BALTIMORE, MD — The much heralded, newly restored print of David Lean’s masterpiece, “Lawrence of Arabia,” is now playing at the historic Senator Theatre in the ‘wide-gauge, 70mm format including a DTS digital soundtrack.’
The Senator joins the Music Box in Chicago, the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, and the Ziegfeld in New York in celebrating the 40th anniversary of this epic motion picture.
September 20, 2002
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Sprenger-Lang Foundation, which had previously put $450,000 down of the necessary $1.2 million to purchase the shuttered Atlas Theater, has now pledged another $2 million dollars to help bring the Atlas back to life, according to a report by WJLA-TV.
The planned restoration and renovation project will turn the John Zink-designed movie house into the Atlas Performing Arts Center and will “contain four theaters for both movies and live performances, as well as offices and restaurants.” $12 million more is needed to begin the project.
The 1000-seat Art Moderne Atlas opened in 1938 and has been closed since 1976. Theater organizers hope to bring the Atlas back to life in 2004.
In other Washington, D.C.-area news, Jennifer Kaplan of the Avalon Theater Project reports that a new Northwest Current article has been published entitled “Jemal Says Avalon To Reopen by Christmas.”
The ATP has been working tirelessly to bring the old twin movie house back to life which now seems scheduled to reopen by the end of 2002. The Avalon was previously closed by Loews Cineplex as part of their bankruptcy reorganization in April 2001.
The festival is an all-day celebration of poetry [which] will bring together several generations of world-class, eclectic poets from all across the country to read in a festival atmosphere from Noon until Midnight.
Readings will be interspersed with screenings of experimental films inspired by poetry, and with rare sound recordings of poets. Presses and literary magazines will feature works by the participants, and food and alcohol will be available.
Closed for the last 25 years, the 2,800-seat St. George is being brought back to life by the not-for-profit organization, The St. George Theatre Inc. and its volunteers.
(Thanks to Jean for the update.)
In other New York news, the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which has been battered by a number of movie theater closings over the past decade including the 68th Street Playhouse, the Baronet and Coronet, the Crown Gotham, and the Manhattan 1 & 2, has managed to retain its most recent loss, the New York Twin on 66th & 2nd.
The New York Twin, which has been closed since this past Spring, is reportedly being reopened by Crown Theatres on October 4th. This will be Crown’s first New York theater since the Crown Gotham was shuttered in 2001.
September 19, 2002
TORRINGTON, CT — The $7 million restoration of the Warner Theatre is nearly complete with theater officials announcing that the Art Deco movie palace will have its official reopening on November 23rd.
According to the Register-Citizen, when the Warner reopens in November, “surrounded by shiny black marble, blinding gold leafing and elegant, larger-than-life size murals, theatergoers will feel as if a door to the past has been permanently reopened.”
The official reopening ceremonies on November 23rd will be a formal, black tie gala complete with live big band music with guests arriving in vintage cars from the 1920’s and 30’s.
The theater attracted almost 75,000 guests during the 2001-2002 seasons while organizers were completing the year-long restoration. They expect even larger numbers to come.
Opened in 1931, the theater was rescued from demolition in 1980 and reopened as a performing arts center in 1983.
MIAMI, FL — In other restoration news, the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts will reopen on October 12th following a $1.8 million restoration to re-enhance the theater’s atmospheric interior and ceiling, remold the theater’s decorative ornaments, and install a new air conditioning unit in the auditorium.
According to the Miami Herald, more restoration work will follow next summer when new seating, end panels, and carpeting will be installed to match the theater’s original appearance. “New theatrical rigging and audio systems” will also be installed at that time.
September 18, 2002
PASADENA, CA — The Friends of the Raymond desperately need your help!
If you can donate even one dollar (or pound or looney or shekel or franc) to help save this beautiful 1927 movie palace, please consider taking the time to send a donation to the group which is in desperate need of $3,000 within the next 12 days.
We just received this urgent email from Gina Zamparelli of the Friends:
We are truly in critical need for donations! I am working non-stop to raise the money we need to continue our effort to preserve The Raymond Theatre. I am sending donation mailers, asking local
businesses for assistance, applying for grants, putting up ebay auctions, selling raffle tickets, and it’s still not enough to keep up with the consistent flow of money needed for to keep our lawsuit ongoing.
I need to be honest with everyone… We have a $5,000 legal bill due on Monday, Sept. 30th. To continue our lawsuit we need to raise $3,000 by the end of this month. We also have another legal bill for $5,000 plus, due in exactly one month and three weeks. We also need to stage a fundraiser in November to raise the final $5,000 payment for our lawsuit.
We need a bare minimum of $2,000 to $3,000 to produce a benefit large enough to raise the money we need. We need a down payment on the venue next week. What does this all mean? We have some large legal fee’s ahead. Most critical, we need to raise $3,000 by the end of the month. If we fall short in paying our Attorney, the lawsuit will stop. If this happens, The Raymond Theater’s future will be in serious jeopardy.
I am starting a two-week campaign to see if we can all pull together and raise enough to keep our lawsuit ongoing and make our next payment by Sept 30th. I hope everyone will consider giving something. Even the smallest donation means a great deal to this effort. Everyone can spare $1 or $5. If you can give $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 or more, it would make a substantial difference in our effort.
FACTS ABOUT DONATING TO FRIENDS OF THE RAYMOND:
- Your donation is tax-deductible.
- You can donate anonymously. Just be sure to state your wishes along with your donation.
- We can also except money as a loan. This means that if we win the lawsuit, and you so request, we will send you back your money however the court awards it back to us, in full or pro-rated.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN DONATE:
Donation: A gift of any amount would be appreciated. You can send your donation to our P.O. Box or donate online by Pay Pal (see information below).
You can also purchase raffle tickets:
The raffle prizes are as follows:
1st: 3 days/2 night vacation for two at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
2nd: $500 in cash
3rd: Go-Video Duel Deck DVD/VCR Player
4th: 2 Adult Passes to Disneyland, Anaheim, CA
5th: $50 Starbucks Coffee Gift Certificate
$1 for 1 ticket
$5 for 6 tickets
$10 for 12 tickets
$20 for 25 tickets
$50 for 60 tickets
$100 for 125 tickets
$200 to $500 + donation – One raffle ticket for every dollar you donate!
Drawing will be held October 12, 2002
Winners need not be present to win.
SEND YOUR DONATION TO:
Friends of the Raymond Theatre
PO Box 91189
Pasadena, CA 91109-1189
You can also donate or purchase raffle tickets online by PayPal at: www.PayPal.com. Our e-mail address for PayPal is: .
Just send us a note and let us know if you are sending a donation or requesting raffle tickets! Please send me an e-mail and let me know if you can donate to help us through this critical time. Together I know we can do it! I will keep everyone posted on who has donated and how much we have raised in the next two weeks.
For more information on the Raymond Theatre, please visit their website. This is a beautiful movie palace that deserves to be saved.