Comments from KenLayton

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KenLayton commented about Blue Fox Drive-In on May 13, 2006 at 9:04 am

Theater also has a great go-kart track, train rides for the kiddies, and a seperate huge arcade gamme room building. Snack bar was recently remodeled and is very beautiful. The kitchen was enlarged (food is excellent!) with more pizza ovens and hamburger grills. A new restroom building was built and the restrooms are fully handicap accessible.

Theater has FM stereo radio sound only. There is no marquue or reader board out by the main highway to direct you in so just look for the giant screen tower. You have to drive up to the old boxoffice to see the titles of what’s playing. Tickets are now sold out of a drive up window at the snack bar.

KenLayton commented about Lakewood Theatre on May 8, 2006 at 10:58 pm

Oh no—-not that guy that ruined the Liberty Theater in Puyallup! Say it ain’t so!

KenLayton commented about D & R Theatre on May 4, 2006 at 2:50 pm

I agree, Ron. City leaders there don’t care about their past let alone preserving anything. If I win the big Lotto, this is one of theaters I’d be buying and restoring for sure!

KenLayton commented about Avalon Theatre on May 3, 2006 at 7:52 am

Good news, according to the “Development Reports” in the Olympian newspaper, permits are in submission phase ‘for restoration of the Avalon movie theater’ by BJSS Duarte Bryant architects. YES!

KenLayton commented about TV Show Looking for Drive-in Theater/Home on May 3, 2006 at 7:42 am

My friend Jack Ondracek who owns the Rodeo 3 drive-in theater (Port Orchard, Wash.) lives with his family in what was the original boxoffice/ticket booths of the theater. His email is on the theater website

KenLayton commented about Need advice on movie theater startup costs on Apr 19, 2006 at 9:11 pm

Contact American Cinema Equipment ( and ask for a price quote on a used projection equipment package deal. Be sure to visit the forums at to learn about how to operate a movie theater and contact film booking agents.

KenLayton commented about Need advice on movie theater startup costs on Apr 19, 2006 at 8:34 am

33,000 square feet should make a nice 6 plex theater. Be sure to join the forums at and read their FAQ page too.

Ken Layton
Olympia, Wash.

KenLayton commented about Mount St. Helens Cinedome on Apr 19, 2006 at 7:36 am

Warning: their website tries to install Shockwave even if you select NO.

KenLayton commented about Tekoa Empire Theater on Apr 17, 2006 at 9:05 am

So they still run an occasional movie?

KenLayton commented about Need advice on movie theater startup costs on Apr 14, 2006 at 3:35 pm

Forget the video projector——it’ll cost more than the town budget and you won’t have anything to show on it. Get a good used 35mm system from just about any theater equipment dealer such as American Cinema Equipment ( Ask for a package deal on used equipment.

KenLayton commented about Aberdeen Theatre on Apr 8, 2006 at 10:06 pm

Yes this is still a nice theater building.

KenLayton commented about Looking for theaters to revitalize on Apr 1, 2006 at 11:47 pm


That floor the video store put in was a wooden floor. It was easily dismantled and the wood reused elsewhere in the theater. The photos posted here are not the latest ones. The theater has a heck of a good kick-ass DTS digital sound system, new touch screen boxoffice ticketing system, huge Cretors “President” model popcorn popper, new cupholder theater seats, and a wonderful owner Daryl Lund (everybody local calls him “the big D”).

I have helped in the restoration of 7th Street Theater in Hoquiam, Wash. and the “G” Theater in Mossyrock, Wash. I had restored the sound and projection at the Skyline Drive-in theater in Shelton, Wash. but new owners (who don’t care) took over and have run it into the ground.

I am in the process of helping the Opera Pacifica ( group restore the Fox Theater (1,000 seats, single screen) in Centralia, Wash for both stage shows and movies. They have some pictures on their website under Fox Theater restoration. I located them some ten-year-old Irwin seats with cupholders which they were able to get for FREE! I have some Eiki xenon 16mm projectors setup temporarily until we get some 35mm projectors later this summer. Their roof leaks in the original projection booth so they must wait till summer to get that squared away before I can install 35mm movie equipment and sound system.

KenLayton commented about Looking for theaters to revitalize on Mar 30, 2006 at 9:03 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 3:59 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 8:18 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 3:58 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 8:02 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 8:16 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 11:08 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 11:38 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 8:34 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 4:18 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 10:48 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 8:58 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 9:15 am

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