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This is weird. I sent in Bethel Cinema last week, and a few days ago it wasn’t there and i emailed the site for help and they had no recollection of it recently. Now it’s back on here by someone else. Anyway, i have frequented this place for a long time and can give the more than exact lowdowns of this gem as i’m friends with the owner and general manager.
It opened in the 1960s and first started as a Jerry Lewis Theater, then became a regular theater, then a Bright Clouds Ministry Church for 1 year, then a porn theater and in the late 80s/early 90s became its present incarnation. It’s now independently-owned by Paul Schuyler.
It’s not really a multiplex in that sense of the word. One theater has 100 seats, the remaining 3 have 80-90 seats and no center aisles in either of them. Sound quality is great. The snack stand is yuppified but has great selection. Next door used to be the Emerald City Cafe which offered 2 tickets with each entree, but 2 months ago they just closed down. Bethel Cinema has acquired it and will be making a cafe out of it for moviegoers.
Not only do they show independent films, but also foreign and mainstream movies (usually 1 of the 4 theatres). They also host weekly birthday parties. Usually on the sign from the road next detailing movies, there’s a happy birthday shoutout. They sign is not there as has been for the month of January as they are getting a newer one.
The greatest thing about them is they are known in the state as being the most successful independently-run theatres in close proximity to a megaplex (Loews in Danbury). This place is always packed.
They have great specials like Monday, 2 for 1 ladies nights, a weekly commentary before the films on Tuesday by a local guy, forgot his name and many other great deals. They have no website but they have a yahoogroup at http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/bethelcinema/
Their address is 269 Greenwood Avenue (Route 302), Bethel, CT 06801
This theater has 360 seats.
This was located on 2 Elm Street, across from what is now 1 Elm Street, Cousin Larry’s Cafe. This set of buildings is now a bunch of storefronts but was the original mall in the 50s and 60s before the present Danbury Mall took over the old fairgrounds. Info is found at http://www.cinematour.com/tour.php?db=us&id=21440
Is a Cry Room a baby changing room? i’ve never heard the term.
Forgot to add this was built in 1968 according to the previous comments website.
A photo of the facade from the News-Times is available at View link
A pic of the theatre sign is available at this website. View link
The cameo is now a church, like so many theatres have become, probably for sound quality and acoustics, i presume? There was talk not too long ago about bringing it back in the Journal-News, but who knows. The marquee is still there.
well, how we visited was illegal. we pried open a semi-ajar door and then used bolt cutters to break the thin chain and when opening the door, two 2 x 4’s fell out. upon leaving, we took our own padlock and locked the chains together and closed the door. the other door had more barricades than that. we each took a reel of film, but what i have is old and was really heavy to bring in my backpack on my bike. it’s fwded to the end. there probably won’t be any new owners.
if you go visit this place roger, please email me so we can show you around as we now have the key. we’re thinking about bringing folks from the lost film festival (a diy outlet) and bringing others there to show it in an abandoned theater but we’ll videotape it. here’s my email:
yes, the curtain is still there. what an amazing theater. the ceiling is amazing. when the movie is ready and the previews are about to play, the curtains slowly rise up and a loony tunes intro starts playing. when the movie is done the same thing happens and the curtains close slowly.
i remember from old setlists of the ct band known as max creek, they played here regularly and everytime i’m there i try to figure out by the architecture. there’s a place further up on the left in the plaza whose facade looks like a marquee. this health food store is called Edge of the Woods.
i also remember a theater in new haven called the great american music hall, like the one in san francisco. i believe there was one in waterbury too.
the last movie i saw here was saving private ryan in 1997? the movie sign is still there and yes there is a hotel on its site. i remember it showing 2 films and it closed in 1999. it was spacious and comfortable.
i live down the street from the palace and the empress. my friends have owned the empress club and studio for 5 years (the venue is under the orginal stage).
the palace is owned by slumlord, Joe Dasilva. that may be libel, but it’s the truth, spouted by many a tenant under him and i used to be his tenant.
he’s owned it for many years and refuses to sell it to the city for any price. we need it for a performing arts center/community center but he won’t sell. what good can he be getting from an abandoned building that he refuses or to do anything with? there was a tour of the place a few years ago and to add insult to our history, this past new years eve on first night danbury, i saw the palace listed as a place for one of the many shows that night! wtf?!? sure enough it was open but i had to catch a train and didn’t have time to wander in. i will be calling the mayor today as i know him and ask about the issue.