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Update on this theatre: This is a picture of the second Premier theatre which was built on the exact same site as the first Premier in Littleton. The first Premier was built in 1920 and burned to the ground in 1924. The second Premier theatre which is shown above was built in 1941, and in 1949, was also destroyed by fire. The theatre pictured above had 800 seats when built and hosted the world premier of the 1941 Bette Davis film, “The Great Lie”. The event coincided with Bette’s birthday so she attended along with an additional influx of 10,000 tourists. Littleton briefly became the center of attention of all Bette’s fans. When the second Premier theatre burned down in 1949, only a year elapsed before Jack Eames, owner of the two previous Premier theatres, built his 3rd theatre on the same site. It opened in 1951, and was named the Jax Jr. Cinema. It still operates today and I’ll write it up for submission shortly.
The Village Bookstore in Littleton is carrying the new Cinema Treasures' book. So, while you are in Littleton, enjoying the fall folliage, and checking out the Jax Jr Cinema, you’ll also be able to purchase the new Cinema Treasures' Book. So, get going.
I saw the inside of the Hippodrome on the day the demoltion began. Yes, it was huge. A radio announcer was joking about how “you could get lost inside”. I stumbled onto this magnificent theatre because of this radio program. The theatre originally even had an elevator to wisk you up to the upper levels.
This theatre was availabe at a tax auction a few years ago. I’ve never seen the inside but was informed by an official in the tax department that it had been vandalized prior to it being seized by the tax officials. An owner of a retail store next to the complex told me the last time he and his friend attended a movie on the theatre’s “bargain night” they were the only two people in the theatre. Parking was also a problem in the area and supposedly the last owner tried to work out an arrangement with the neighboring church to use their parking lot in the evenings. The church wasn’t interested. The Hollywood does have a balcony and is the larger of the two Dormont theatres. Memory tells me there was no protruding marquee of vertical.
The non-profit group which owns and runs The New Angola Theatre is the Claddagh Commission. Their purpose is to aid and provide employment opportunities to the mentally challanged and others who might need their assistance. So when you see a movie at The New Angola, you’ll not only have great movie experience but you’ll also be helping a worthwhile organization.
I first discovered the Angola theatre in 1996 and seriously considered leasing it from Dightner (sp?), who owned the theatre at the time. The theatre’s mechanics and dire need of improvements scared me away. It was nice to return to the theatre which was almost mine and actually see a movie. The theatre is a second run house but both the admission and concessions are reasonably priced. I saw “Anchorman” on August 28, 2004.
I just looked at the pictures on the Palace’s webite and immediately lusted after this theatre. It looks like a wonderful theatre and many thanks for submitting it. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to see it in person someday. Seth, does it have a balcony and do you know the approximate seating capacity.
I first discovered this theatre in very early August 2004 but the theatre was dark the day I passed through Port Hope. After arriving home, I checked Cinema Treasures to see if the Capitol had been written up and then went to the website link above. I was impressed and decided to return to the Capitol on August 22, 2004 to see a live performance of Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians”. What a lovely little theatre this is and yes, they still show movies. I plan to return soon for a movie. One reason why the Capitol is successful is because like many of these rescued theatres, the Capitol has an “army” of unpaid volunteers.
Today the Capitol seats 361 which appears to be down considerably from its original seating capacity. Newer seating (although they’re still not real wide) and fewer rows as well as a stage in front of the proscenium arch has diminished the seating capacity. Yes, they have a working cloud machine but don’t always use it because they’re worried about replacement parts and are trying to make it last as long as possible.
During October 22nd to 24th, the Capitol is holding a three day vintage film festival, please check out their website above for details. I was informed during the winter months they book films that were shown at the Toronto film festival.
After about a twenty year hiatus, I returned to the Regent on August 20, 2004. The film showing was “Door In The Floor”. The acting was superb but the film was definitely weird. I understand it was based upon a short story by John Irving which accounts for its strangeness.
Much of the original interior of the Regent remains intact and its installation of wider seats and diminished rows provide all the comfort of the newer theatres while the retaining the charm and atmosphere of older theatres. Its 40'+ screen which is both draped and curtained also add to the movie experience. The theatre’s sound quality is unsurpassed. This is the result of part of the theatre being rented to the post production film company. I was told by the theatre’s manager that technicians from Dolby visit the facility quarterly to make sure everything is perfect for the production company.
Despite severe parking problems, I’d boldly state that currently the Regent is probably the best operating theatre in Toronto to see a motion picture.
The now called Regent opened in 1927 and has undergone 3 name changes since then. The opening name was the Belsize. In 1950. the Belsize was renamed the Crest and in 1986, the Crest became the Regent.
The Cinema Treasure write up prompted me to revisit the Regent after an approximate 20 year hiatus. We saw “Door In The Floor” on August 21, 2004. A very well acted film but very strange. The movie was based upon a short story by John Irving — I guess this summarizes the “strange” aspect quite well.
The Regent, as stated above by Peel, is still a full fledged movie theatre and still owned by the people who’ve owned for many years.
Today with the installation of wider seates and less rows, the total seating capacity is just over 600. The Regent is part of a small chain which consists of 3 single screen theatres (one in Hamilton, Ontario) and a 5 plex in Mississauga. Today the Regent is a second run house showing mostly semi-mainstream films. Despite severe area parking problems and driving from one side of the city to the other, I felt my revisit to the Regent was well worth while. It’s 40'+ draped and curtained screen and comfortabe seating plus excellent sound system (remember Theatre D Digital uses this theatre for mastering) probably make it currently the best theatre in Toronto in which to see a movie.
This is a little addition for the historians: Opened as the Belsize, renamed the Crest in 1950, and renamed the Regent in 1986.
I try to visit the Palace at least once a year because not only is it an enjoyable experience but it’s also a bargain. At the time of the above submission (August 14, 2004) two of us saw “The Village” and split a medium popcorn and a jumbo drink— the total price including admission was $10.00. Oh yes, the popcorn is served in a tub not one of those bags which leaks the butter all over your pants.
A lovely theatre, good movies, great popcorn, and bargain prices — let’s all go to the Palace.
The theatre has a great marquee but the inside is quite another story. If it weren’t for the original lighting fixtures (they’re kind of art deco and very unique) you’d never know you were in an old movie palace. Actually, there are also some visual traces of the molded plaster from the balcony’s front in the rear of two of the auditoriums. I suppose if Jeff hadn’t carved up the theatre into more screens someone would have built a multiplex just ouside of town resulting in the American being torn down. It certainly was the lesser evil
What a great job you did. Hopefully, I’ll be in Maryville before too long to take in one of your vintage film showings. If I ever get my movie theatre, I now know whom to turn to for advice. If you’re lucky I’ll let you know in advance of my purchase so you can change your phone number.
I tried for about 10 years to see the inside of the Rialto but my passings through Williamsport never coincided with the building being open. I finally got inside in April 2004, my first thought was “I wish I owned it”. The was probably the “number 2” theatre in Williamsport second only to the much larger and more palatial Community Arts Center
Probably the most spectacular theatre I’ve been in, and I’ve been inside hundreds. I grew up going to the Uptown theatre despite having to take two buses to get there. The last time I was inside the Uptown it was just a shell of its former self. I saw the inside of the theatre for the last time on the very day it made the switch from English to Spanish films. It had been purchased by the family that owned the Peoples theatre. Their 12 year old son gave me quite an extensive tour. All the huge oil paintings along the staircases had been removed and the auditorium had been painted completely black.
The Chicago Tribune magazine section from April 25, 1993, did a great article with pictures about the Uptown theatre, titled, “A Movie Palace In Search Of A Happy Ending”. Fortunately, its still standing but I doubt the ending will be happy. I think it’d cost a 100 million to restore it back to its original glory. The Tribune (at the time of printing of this article) list the Uptown as “the country’s largest theatre in square feet”
Brian, thanks for the link to the Wilmette theatre. I enjoyed the photo’s and hope to take in a movie during a future trip to the Chicago area.
The theatre was named the Crest for many years and owned by the person who also owned the Mt. Pleasant theatre about one block south of the Crest. Both the Crest and the Mt. Pleasant theatres were leased to Viacom’s Famous Players chain for a number of years. It was during this time period that the Crest was renamed the Regent and the theatre was also twinned. The second screen was installed in the balcony. I believe the original owners again operated both theatres after the Famous Players arrangement lapsed. Immediately after the Famous Players arrangement, the now named Regent tried stage productions briefly but soon reverted back to movies. The two theatres operated for many years mostly showing 2nd run semi-mainstream movies.
Prior the the theatres becoming under the Famous Players' helm, I attended both theatres several times. The Crest (Regent) was significantly larger and nicer than the Mt. Pleasant. Sometimes, but not always, the management would let you watch the movie in the officially closed balcony. During this time period the Crest (Regent) had probably a seating capacity of 1200+.
I was hoping someone would submit this theatre. I saw the inside of it once after it had closed. The last event to take place at the theatre was a Linda Ronstadt concert or if not the last event it was at least the last time the marquee was changed. I’m guessing this was the late seventies or very early eighties. When Linda’s name was still on the marquee, I managed to get a side exit door open and looked around. Seating capacity, memory tells me, was well over 2000. The theatre had not been cleaned after the Ronstadt concert and the floor was a sea of popcorn boxes and drink cups. While poking around I tried to imagine Linda belting out “Carmelita”. I wish I’d been there.
I hope someone will contribute some more details about the theatre. I, of course, can’t find any of my notes. I do remember, however, that someone told me the theatre was made up of two smaller theatres. Years later, however, someone told me this was not true. Anyone know the real story?
Hi JBCDC, I was in the Tiffin many times during the early 60’s and saw many of those awful Elvis movies (Elvis even hated making most of them) there. I can’t remember much of the interior so if you could jog my memory it’d be wonderful. I know it was closed a number of years before it was demoslished, do you know the dates? Do you have any interior or exterior photos of the theatre? If so please let me know and I’ll post my email address. I’m in the process of setting up a links for all the theatres for which I have pictures. I know many would enjoy seeing the Tiffin again. It’s begining to look as if Cinema Treasures photo submissions is a thing of the past.
I believe this Paramount has been torn down. While touring the Loew’s Jersey Theatre three or four years ago, I talked to a staff member about a “lost Paramount” I saw 20 years ago but couldn’t remember where. He told me about a Paramount in Plainfield which had recently been torn down. Anyway, it was not the Paramount I am trying to find again. I’m hoping one of the Cinema Treasure fans can help me. The new owner at that time (approx 23 years ago) told me this particular Paramount was the second to last Paramount built and the theatre had no balcony. I believe the theatre was in New Jersey or possibly one of the New England states. It’s marquee was identical in style to the Paramount in Peekskill.
I saw the inside of the Tivoli about 20 years ago and was very impressed. It certainly exudes spaciousness and palatialness well beyond a 1000+ seat theatre. If you live in Chicago, it’s definitely worth the short drive to Downers Grove to see this gem.
While driving through Cleveland in 1979 or 1980(?], I was tuning the car radio around trying to find the station broadcasting the Blue Jays & Indians game. Someone on a talk radio station mentioned about a theatre being demolished so I listened more. They talked about its immense size and elevator. I was, of course, intrigued and went to the site of the “Hipp” as it read on the marquee. The theatre was huge and yes it did have an elevator. Even the 5000 seat Uptown in Chicago lacked an elevator. Workman were removing things but the theatre was still intact the day I saw it. I’d guess seating capacity at 3000+ but soon someone will supply the exact number.
A year or two later I returned to Cleveland to look at two of the remaining downtown theatres. I asked the manager at one of them why the Hipp wasn’t able to be saved. His reply, “It was too far from the theatre district”. Yeah, like two theatres make up a theatre district. One of these two theatres was actually more night club than theatre so this logic seemed a little cockeyed to me.
The web site for the Strand is http://www.strandtheatre.com/index.html
It looks and sounds great, we’ll see you in the fall.
I got an extensive tour of the the Paramount on May 14, 2004. Later that evening I returned and saw the movie “Troy” in the main auditorium. The loveseats, huge screen, and mostly original auditorium all combined to make it an enjoyable movie experience. “Troy” was pretty good too. I noticed no sound from the other screening rooms so perhaps they’ve corrected this problem.
If you plan to visit the Paramount and also take in a movie, do definitely choose the movie in the main auditorium. I was told at another theater by an employee that the projector for the Paramount’s store front auditorium is actually not in that auditorium. It seems there wasn’t enough room in this tiny space for the forty seats and the projector. Memory tells me it is the ceiling and projected onto the screen with the assistance of two mirrors.
I’ll always have fond memories of the Paramount. In 1980, I released a oldies compilation ablum and I wanted a picture of a Paramount theatre on the album’s cover. After having the marquee set up with all the various artists names, the photographer informed me that to get the best “shot” he’d have to be in the middle of the river. I guess someone overheard us talking because 30 minutes later the Aurora Fire Dept. arrived and my photographer was wisked away in a basket and extended over the river.
Thanks again Aurora Fire Dept. and the Paramount staff.
One reason why this theatre is successful is because of its “army” of dedicated volunteers. I’m not sure if there’s a paid member on staff but you’d never know there wasn’t. Everyone is professional, knowledgeable, courteous, and exhudes pride in being part of the Ritz success story. I had the pleasure of seeing this theatre and Art Garfunkel on May 15, 2004. I’d estimate 1150 to 1200 of the Ritz’s 1400 seats were occupied. Joe, many thanks for the nearly two hour tour — the Ritz is lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer.
Much of the millions spent on the Ritz were for mechanics so you can still see some water damaged areas and other asthetics which have not yet been dealt with. The Ritz still has projectors and uses the old carbon arc system. They’re ready to roll anytime needed but with a new stadium style seating 8 plex being built (ready to open in June) in Tiffin, I doubt the Ritz will show any more movies.
Tiffin is a wonderful small city with two post secondary schools, lots of good restaurants, and an interesting downtown area. To boot, it’s within an easy drive of five other small cities all of which also have nice theatres.
The Patio was part of the Mitchell Bros. chain which owned a minimum of seven or eight theatres in the city of Chicago. Maybe more but I know of only this number. Alex, the current owner, acquired the Patio theatre complex at a tax sale in 1986. He re-opened the theatre in October 1987 and closed it in August 2001. Other than the fact Alex is now 77 and would enjoy some leisure time, there were other reasons why he closed the Patio. I think all of the problems could be overcome. There were no building code violations involved with the theatre’s closure.
I promised Alex I would not list his telephone on Cinema Treasures because he was worried the curious and passionate theatre enthusiasts would be constantly telephoning. So here’s the deal, the interested (not the curious) email me and I’ll forward your number to Alex.
If you have no idea what it would cost to heat and cool a theatre that seats 1500, research this first before you email me. Investigate all the licenses that are required—the latest on the list is the P.P.A. (Place of Public Amusement). This one alone will run you $1500 yearly.
No one more than I would love to see the Patio re-opened so let’s hear from all of you with deep pockets or good credit and excellent motivational skills. The later needed to get support from city politicians, neighborhood residents, and the many vounteers you’ll need to make it viable. My email address is