Cooper Theatre

960 S. Colorado Boulevard,
Denver, CO 80246

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Showing 1 - 25 of 92 comments

DanaQualley on April 30, 2018 at 10:34 pm

The Cooper in Minnesota had a Cameo also.

MSC77 on April 10, 2018 at 9:55 am

Fifty years ago today, Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” premiered here.

To celebrate the occasion, I’m sharing the link to a new retrospective article on “2001.” This and many other cinemas get a mention in the piece.

Coate on October 8, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Anyone recall which big summer 1978 movie played here at the Cooper? “Grease”? “Jaws 2”? “Heaven Can Wait”? Other?

Chazzmania on July 6, 2017 at 7:48 pm

Tron did not play at the Cooper. I am fairly certain I saw Tron at The Century or The Continental.

Coate on July 6, 2017 at 10:27 am

Does anyone remember if Disney’s “Tron” played here in summer 1982 and/or during its autumn ‘82 re-release?

tkpms85 on August 21, 2016 at 11:59 pm

I was 13 or 14 when 2001 A Space Odyssey was playing at the Cooper. I kept begging my parents to let me see it. They never let me go. One day I told my Mom I wouldn’t be home for about six hours then my friend and I walked to the theater, it took us about two hours and when we arrived they had changed the movie I was so mad. We stayed and watched Mckenna’s Gold which was a great movie to see in cinerama. It was years later that I finally saw 2001 A Space Odyssey. I still wish I could have seen it at the Cooper Cinerama.

DenverNative on December 23, 2015 at 8:55 am

The Cooper Theatre in Denver was (is?) my all-time favorite movie theater. One of the earliest movies I saw there was “Paint Your Wagon” (which must have been in 1969). I saw Close Encounters with my family and I remember my dad commenting that the Mother Ship would make a nice chandelier. I saw Alien, Grease, The Wall and even “The World According to Garp.” The last movie I saw there was 2001: A Space Odyssey during a special showing in the 90s.

When I was 13 I saw Star Wars with my younger brother the second weekend after it opened. We sat in the balcony, behind a woman and her son. After the 20th Century Fox fanfare faded out up came the words, “A long time ago…”, the woman whispered to her son, “a long time ago?”

I still remember exactly how excited I was the first time I saw the words “Star Wars” appear on the screen. We sat through the movie twice that day. The next weekend they were clearing the theater between showings.

It is a pitiful shame that we lost the Cooper, and for that matter, Century 21 and the original Continental. (The latter is still with us, albeit grossly modified from its original beauty.) I must make a trip to Casper to see how their tribute to the Cooper turned out. Perhaps someday a new Cooper theater will be built in Denver.

I jokingly tell the young folks working at Barnes and Noble that I watched Star Wars “right here, in this exact spot.”

Brad68 on June 27, 2015 at 9:24 pm

DShevlin- I worked at the Cooper/Cameo from 1986-89?

That was a fun place to work while in high shool. Mickey was the manager and Japhy was the asst.

MichaelGraham on April 5, 2015 at 7:09 pm

The owners (Movie Palaces) of a new Theater (Studio City® Mesa + ARQ® (West)) here in Casper, WY that opened on March 27, 2015 included one auditorium named after this theater. IT was built to emulate the Denver Cooper (it even features a glass showcase with memorabilia from the Denver Cooper). It features a large curved screen that is 65ft wide X 30ft tall. It also has large oversized leather seats. Tickets are reserved, rather than on a first-come-first served basis. This auditorium also features sound from Meyer Sound. The Movie Palaces has trademarked the technology in this auditorium as ARQ (Arc).

Not sure how it compares to the Denver Cooper, as I never watched a movie there.

stebernfox20 on January 6, 2015 at 4:33 pm

this a good cinemarama or we can say theater i hope i can watch here soon.

Denvercary on March 22, 2014 at 6:31 pm

I have three Cinerama projectors and a Cinerama sound reproducer like the ones that were installed at the three Cooper Cinerama Theaters during the three-strip Cinerama days. If anybody would like to see them, please contact me at . I would be happy to show them to you. Or, I’ll be happy to send photographs to you.

Lincolnman on October 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm

My first experience at the Denver Cooper was to see “How the West Was Won”, really the last three strip commercial movie shown. At the time I was a 15 year old farm kid from Nebraska. To say I was impressed would be an under statement. I managed to see that movie twice at the Cooper and my memories are rich and wonderful. It is hard to believe that it and the other two Cooper’s were all destroyed and lost forever. The one in Omaha was purchased by the Methodist Hospital and although many organizations attempted to save it, it became a parking lot for the hospital. Sad as they were all magnificent theaters.

DShevlin on August 31, 2013 at 11:18 am

Chazzmania – I worked a the Cooper/Cameo beginning in 1984. If you are Dave L., then I remember you. I have very fond memories of working there. Even though the staff changed frequently, there was always a lot of laughter and fun. My husband and I met there, though I think that was after you left. Anyway, if you are interested, you can contact me on Facebook. – Deb

darrenparlett on August 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm

These are stories i love reading about…peoples own cinema experiences (instead of petty corrections as I commonly see happen often on this site. Keep those stories coming…i want to know :–)

kornpopper76 on August 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm

My first movie at the Cooper Cinerama was in 1965, “Its a Mad Mad World”. I was with my high school senior class on the senior class trip from the San Luis Valley to the big city.

The last movie I saw there was “Gettysburg” on Thanksgiving Day, 1993. Shortly after that, the theatre was closed and then demolished.

Chazzmania on July 15, 2013 at 10:22 am

I worked at The Cooper/Cameo in the early 80’s. It was a magical place for a young guy from Nebraska. I was there for Blade Runner, The World According to Garp, Pink Floyd The Wall, Airplane the Sequel just to name a few. I would love to reconnect with Jim Townley the Cooper’s manager or any staff from that time.

I have a very warm place in my heart for that theater and am saddened every time I drive by the Barnes & Noble that replaced it on Colorado Blvd.

jmg24601 on July 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm

To comment further on MichealAD Bad-I saw Hudson Hawk there. Good-I saw Star Wars, Empire, Jedi, Close Encounters, Roger Rabbit, and the Flamingo Kid next door at the Cameo, so I guess that makes up for Hawk

dcarty on May 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

Another amazing theater lost to time and commerce.

I saw The Empire Strikes back there in 1980 (my Uncle took my brother and me). The last movie I saw there was the 25th Anniversary re-issue of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

MissaLick on April 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Awesome theater! I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey here in 1968 as a reserved-seat roadshow presentation with my grandparents, parents and kid sister. Waited in line to to see Star Wars (just “Star Wars” – no “A New Hope”), Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Alien all first show opening day. Hid in the bathroom so I could slip back in to see Star Wars a second consecutive time that first day and returned to see it many more times in 1977. Damn shame they demolished this one.

Cliffs on April 7, 2013 at 1:15 am

That’s probably very true Michael. I think most balconies are closed during slow periods/showtimes. It keeps the theater staff from having to clean the theater between shows on 2 different levels when attendance is low and staffing light.

It’s amazing to me that we spent the last 25 or so years destroying all of these majestic, giant screen palaces only to now see all of the chains trying to rebuild and rebrand new giant screens (RPX, EXT, XD) to get audiences back. Did we tear down all these amazing houses only to see them rebuilt, but not quite as well?

MichaelAD on April 5, 2013 at 7:38 am

Thanks for adding your memories Cliff. I had another thought this morning – I almost always went to matinees to avoid the traffic that I mentioned in my first post. I’ll bet they opened the balcony for evening and night screenings. We sure are lucky to have had this theatre in out past!!

Cliffs on April 5, 2013 at 3:02 am

Yeah, the balcony remained opened (at least for big movies) to the end. I sat up there only once, for Die Hard 2 in July 1990. I worked for United Artists late 80s/early 90s and we had a couple company meetings at the Cooper. Was lucky enough to see early screenings of Total Recall (which never actually played at the Cooper, it opened at the Continental) and Black Rain. First trip to the Cooper was Return of the Jedi in ‘83. Quite an experience for a 12 year old. It was a gem of a theater and a crime that it’s gone.

MichaelAD on April 4, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Thanks for your post and memories Monty. I definitely remember That’s Entertainment. My dad and mom were big fans of those musicals. When I think back to my age at the time that may have been one of the last times that the whole family went to a film together. You could be right about the balcony – I just always remember the seeing the “Section Closed” ropes across the stairs. Maybe they opened it whenever they sold enough tickets to need the seats. Thanks again and cheers.

MontyM on April 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Great post Michael AD. I have great memories of the Cooper Theater myself.

The first movie I seen at the Cooper was That’s Entertainment in 1974, I was mature nine years old. Was too young to see the original Star Wars on May 25th, 1977, had to wait for mom to take me on my birthday in June. Although I did see the Empire Strikes Back opening day May 21st, 1980, (10:30-10:45am) showing.

I skipped school with some of my buddies that day and caught the RTD bus at 7am. As the bus approached the top of the small incline in front of Celebrity Lanes, I Could see the Cooper’s theater marquee on the left side bus. What a site to see, (THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK) with all the show times listed blow including (IN 70MM & 6 Track Dolby Stereo) and the line around the building to the south side.

Other fans making breakfast runs to McDonalds for other die hard Star Wars fans. I also remember a channel 4 mobile truck pulling up to the theater, setting up a desk on the lawn under the Cooper’s marquee with reporters getting ready to do the 11am live news cast.

If I remember correctly the balcony was never permanently closed. The last time I sat upstairs was when Dances with Wolves played there moving over from the Continental Theater.

MichaelAD on April 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm

My thanks to those of you who have posted here previously. Especially to those with links to other pics of this treasure

Here are several of my memories for your perusal.

Bad – other than the fact that it was torn down to make way for a B&N the main bad one is what a pain it was to get in and out of the parking lot. The parking behind the theater was adequate except for the biggest sellouts but there were only two exits both onto Colorado Blvd and if someone was insisting on turning left across the traffic you could be there a looooong time. I do remember that, by the late 90’s they had opened a few exists at the back of the lot but they rarely had sellouts by then.

Good – the viewing experience really was a marvel. All of the sci-fi films were better there than any other theater – the Continental and Century 21 were tip top but still not quite as good. For my money, while Imax is amazing, it doesn’t achieve the same things that Cinerama did. I know this is just me being an old foggie because Imax is just fine but it isn’t the same for me.

Other – if you look at the pictures of the interior of the theater you will see alcoves with benches on either side of the main seating area. When it first opened these actually had snack stands in them. I don’t think this lasted very long as I am sure that the noise was a problem for those sitting close to them but I do remember them being there. Later they were used as smoking areas until the indoor smoking bans came along. You can also see pics of the balcony and the stairs leading to it. I’m pretty sure that I only sat up there once and I remember getting a bit of a headache as the curve of the screen distorted the picture a bit from that angle. By the late 70’s I’m pretty sure that is was permanently closed.

I saw the 1st three Star Wars films there on the first showing on their opening days and I have found that peoples memories of that first day back in ‘77 has gotten a bit confused. It opened on Wed May 25th and the very 1st showing was somewhere between noon and one thirty. I drove down with a bunch of frat brothers and we walked in about fifteen minutes before the film started and got good seats quite easily. The theater was only half to two thirds full. People seem to forget that a) that was a school day and b) nobody new what Star Wars was yet. Now I am not saying that by that evening – and certainly by that weekend – that there weren’t long lines to get in and each showing was a sellout, its just that did not happen on the very first showing. On a different note I’ll wonder how many young people would be able to understand, or imagine, a blockbuster film only opening at one theater and playing for months, or years (a la The Sound of Music which played at the Aladdin for something like two and a half years) on end.

One other tidbit – most of the films that showed there in the 60’s had an overture, entre act (or intermission) and closing music (that went on beyond the end of the credits.) One of the extras on the DVD box set for How the West Was Won mentions that one of the factors that went into length of that music was how long it took the massive curtains to open and close across that immense screen.

Cheers to all