Comments from KenLayton

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KenLayton commented about Looking for theaters to revitalize on Mar 30, 2006 at 6:03 am

Costs vary from dealer to dealer. Always check with several dealers. Many dealers do package deals on new and/or used equipment packages. Scott Hicks' American Cinema Equipment ( in Portland, Oregon is a great example of excellent prices on equipment packages.

If a closed theater already has some or all projection/sound equipment there it’s likely much of it can be reused. Have a competent theater technician check it out to see what’s needed. Every theater and every building is different.

My friend had his usual theater employees (grunts) unload the new seats at the theater. The seating tech charged $5 a seat for the installation which included cutting off the old bolts, filling in the holes, prepping/cleaning/painting the floor, laying out and installing the new seats.

I’m sure that if a theater had no projection and sound equipment in it that a good package deal on basic brand new stuff would be around $50,000. A person could get a great deal on a used projection & sound package at $20,000. Some dealers include the deliver and installation in that package price depending on location.

If a person were to install that overpriced “DLP” video projection crap then you could look at $200,000 just for the ‘projector’.

I strongly suggest you visit the beautifully restored single screen Chehalis Theater in Chehalis, Washington. It’s a theater that I helped restore and modernize. It had been stripped and converted to a video rental store and a flat floor had been installed. It now puts on several movie showings a day every day on equipment that’s older than I am! It uses a vintage RCA 1040 soundhead from 1936 (retrofited with a red led reverse scan kit), a very old Simplex projector, a 25 year old Super Lume-x xenon lamphouse running a 3,000 watt bulb, a 25 year old Potts/Strong platter, and a complete DTS digital sound system (used). Some of this equipment was bought from the fine folks at American Cinema Equipment at very reasonable prices. This equipment has been running flawlessly every day.

KenLayton commented about Looking for theaters to revitalize on Mar 29, 2006 at 12:59 pm

Brand new Irwin seats are on sale for $89 each. A friend of mine just remodeled one of his theaters and that’s the price he got on his Irwin seats. Brand new film projection equipment and sound costs no where near $200,000. Many theater equipment dealers have plenty of perfectly good used projection & sound equipment for sale.

KenLayton commented about Looking for theaters to revitalize on Mar 29, 2006 at 5:18 am

And don’t forget about those horrid A.D.A. regulations that can ruin a nice old theater in short order.

KenLayton commented about Looking for theaters to revitalize on Mar 28, 2006 at 12:58 pm

Suggest looking at the Gem Theatre in Athena, Oregon here on this site.

Also join the forums at for theater operational information/film booking/projector operating info.

KenLayton commented about St. Helens Theatre on Mar 18, 2006 at 5:02 am

It was indeed a movie theater. When I showed the movie, “The Chehalis Story” a few months ago the nighttime scenes showed a couple of movie titles on the marquee. I forgot what those movies were though.

KenLayton commented about St. Helens Theatre on Mar 17, 2006 at 5:16 am

The building still exists but has been converted to retail store space. This theater is shown in the Reelife Productions movie, “The Chehalis Story” (early 1950’s). I had the pleasure of projecting the only remaining copy of this movie in the Chehalis Theatre a few months ago. It shows the interior of the St. Helens Theater and some beautiful nightime views of it’s marquee all lit up with flashing neon and border chasing lights.

KenLayton commented about 7th Street Theatre on Mar 2, 2006 at 8:08 pm

The stage show ‘faction’ of the group carved up the wall of the projection booth because they wanted to make it their “lighting and computer control” booth. Now with that huge picture window in that front wall all kinds of noise and extreneous light get out in the audience.

KenLayton commented about 7th Street Theatre on Mar 1, 2006 at 8:38 pm

That machine and the lamphouse parts were partial payment (along with some money) by the 7th St to me and my friend the late Paul Thompson in exchange for us installing their ‘new’ projection equipment in their theater. This was authorized by Matt Hershfelder at the theater.

KenLayton commented about 7th Street Theatre on Mar 1, 2006 at 5:34 am


I know for a fact that at least one of those E-7’s went to Wisconsin as I helped load it into the car. We stripped some good parts off one of the carbon arc lamphouses and took those parts too. They had one complete E-7 setup in the lobby.

KenLayton commented about Lakewood Theatre on Feb 28, 2006 at 1:18 pm

The main sticking point is the rent. The theater could never survive at $7,000 a month for rent! The rent should only be $1,500 a month. This wonderful little theater needs to be open!

KenLayton commented about Capitol Theater on Feb 24, 2006 at 7:48 pm

The east side of the marquee currently has nothing in it! All the glass panels and letter tracks are gone. This marquee has major rust problems!

KenLayton commented about How do I get the movies to show? on Feb 21, 2006 at 5:58 am

Join the forums at and read the Frequently Asked Questions there as this question gets asked all the time. When you get there be sure to change the “default topic view” from “show posts from last 20 days” to “show all posts” or you’ll miss somre great information.

KenLayton on Feb 17, 2006 at 6:15 am

That site is only about video projectors and not the line of Eiki 16MM FILM projectors. :(

KenLayton commented about Winterbottom film continues "day and date" trend on Feb 15, 2006 at 5:31 am

In general anytime a film distributor pulls stunts like that it means the movie sucks bigtime.

KenLayton commented about Thomas W. Lamb on Feb 10, 2006 at 5:47 am

Wow, he was one of the greatest theater designers of all time!

KenLayton commented about Wanted: Theatres on Feb 1, 2006 at 5:59 am


The Super Wal-Mart started out as a regular Wal-Mart but quickly became so popular they had to expand. It’s located at the north end of Shelton where all the development is going on now. There’s a good spot right next to the freeway with easy access that still hasn’t been developed yet which would be a good spot for a theater. Oh, the Super Wal-Mart is right next to the huge high school. I think a new theater complex here would make you some good money!

KenLayton commented about Wanted: Theatres on Jan 31, 2006 at 6:14 pm

The city of Shelton proper has a growing population of around 10,000. It is located in Mason County and there is probably at least 80,000 in the surrounding radius. Five miles from the theater is the huge “Little Creek” Indian casino that draws big crowds to the area. There is tons of new development on the north side of town near the Super Wal-Mart in Shelton. This area is begging for a new theater.

KenLayton commented about Wanted: Theatres on Jan 31, 2006 at 1:48 pm

How about the Shelton, Washington area? There’s a poorly run twin theater there (with sloped floors) that’s over 20 years old now. The same people that run this theater also run the nearby drive-in theater even worse. Only theaters for miles.

KenLayton commented about Penn Cinemas on Jan 25, 2006 at 5:27 am

My photocopy of that article came from the Washington State Library directly from an actual copy of the magazine (not microfilm!). It’s too bad the day I was there (several years ago) the photocopy machine wasn’t working very well so my copies came out so-so. The library is no longer open to the public (just State of Washington employees now) so I can’t go and make new, better copies. The picture quality in the original hard copy of the magazine is outstanding. I understand that Architectural Record renewed all copyrights on their magazines so it wouldn’t be likely to get permission to post their photographs or text on a website. That’s why I suggest going directly to the magazine publisher.

You could check with your own or neighboring state libraries to see if they have actual hard copies of the magazine that they could photocopy for you.

KenLayton commented about Penn Cinemas on Jan 24, 2006 at 8:27 pm

That article is available by contacting the archives at Architectural Record magazine.

KenLayton commented about Penn Cinemas on Jan 24, 2006 at 6:32 am

There is an excellent detailed article about this theater, illustrated and photographs included, in the July 1938 issue of Architectural Record magazine (pages 100 and 101). It states the original seating as 1,040.

KenLayton commented about Dante Theatre on Jan 24, 2006 at 6:23 am

There was a beautiful and detailed writeup (with photos) of this theater in the July 1938 issue of Architectural Record magazine. Armand Carrol is listed as the architect. The marquee was manufactured by Philadelphia Sign Company.

KenLayton commented about Galaxy Theatres closes Kendig Square 6 on Jan 17, 2006 at 5:07 am

Do not confuse this company the the that operates theaters on the west coast.

KenLayton commented about Utah Theater Cancels 'Brokeback Mountain' on Jan 13, 2006 at 5:49 am

jnjeisen is indeed a theater operator. As I said in a previous posting, ALL theater owners, be they independently owned or chain-owned are free to book or not book any film. If that owner feels that the local customers would not see it then why book something that would lose money?

There is a Mormon-owned theater about 90 miles from me way out in the sticks that does not show any “R” rated movies—-period. Their local community does not like movies with sex, violence, crude language, etc. That theater is still open and business is fine.

KenLayton commented about I want to buy used theater seats on Jan 13, 2006 at 5:40 am

I suggest contacting Scott Hicks' AMERICAN CINEMA EQUIPMENT ( in Portland, Oregon.