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There is one mistake that I can spot: the Uptown in Washington, D.C. was built in 1936 rather than 1933. For decades it has been the greatest movie theater in the East Coast for blockbusters and for revivals of epics. It is rumored that AMC might depart it.
December 6 In Focus magazine “Secrets of Size” article details why movie theater auditoriums have dramatically shrunk over time, but also explains a revived construction of bigger auditoriums.
An accompanying chart provides examples of existing and former movie palaces. A graphic shows the typical seating layout of a megaplex. A seating chart of Radio City Music Hall is also provided.
Rob Bender photos from our 12-2-06 Friends of the Boyd www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org field trip are here:
Theater naming rights aren’t usually sold to corporations but rather are LEASED for a term of years, like 5 or 7, etc. So, they not only didn’t buy the theaters, they probably didn’t even buy the naming rights forever either.
I wrote how our visit went on today’s Weekly Update to Friends of the Boyd, www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org as follows:
By luxury bus, Friends of the Boyd went Saturday to Hershey. Twenty seven volunteers and supporters enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of the Hershey Theatre. See a photo of some Friends in the classical Greek style Lobby:
When we visited BACKSTAGE, we were amazed at the size of the stage! Almost all the large Touring Musicals can be accommodated. The Boyd’s new stagehouse will be even larger!
The Hershey Theatre has been totally restored. Its interior is beautiful throughout. We saw the twinkling stars and the clouds moving across the “atmospheric sky” of the spectacular auditorium. We were told that unlike older theaters such as opera houses, the Hershey’s auditorium was built without columns and so every seat has a perfect SIGHTLINE. The Boyd also has perfect sightlines, and no columns blocking views.
CLASSIC FILMS this season are Citizen Kane, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Sunset Boulevard, Roman Holiday, Easter Parade, and Some Like It Hot, each with an organ concert first. http://www.hersheytheatre.com/films.html
A professional organist was present to rehearse for a concert the next day, so he treated us to a short concert on the PIPE ORGAN.
The tour guide told us she shows the theater to many SCHOOL GROUPS, telling them about its history and how the decorative features like the Mosaic ceiling downstairs was created (two craftsmen spent two years laying the tiny tiles one square at a time!).
Karen Noonan, President of the Theatre Historical Society of America, is unaware of any other group working to save a movie palace that sponsored a field trip to see a restored theater. Friends of the Boyd are pleased to be first! Like the Hershey, we also plan for the Boyd to be restored for shows, a classic film series, an organ, and public tours.
After the tour, we enjoyed a delicious lunch in the landmark Hotel Hershey, and visited the outdoor gardens and the beautiful public spaces.
Having been to the Newtown, I was pleased to write this blurb for 11-22-06 Philadelphia Weekly article on suburban Philadelphia movie theaters,
Built within a former church, the Newtown is a single screener with a balcony that recently added digital sound and this year has a classic series in 35 mm.
There are no movies listed today, so apparently closed. Below online from the Washington Post:
The old stand-by on one of Northwest D.C.’s main thoroughfares.
This six-screener opened in December 1987, and boasts good-size houses, great sound and parking in an adjacent garage. Theaters 4 and 5 are the largest with seating capacities of 450 and 495, respectively. Both theaters can show films in SDDS and DTS, thus earning the THX certification. None of the others is terribly small; seating ranges from 190 to 280. Unlike the older Cineplex Odeons, the lobby here provides a large waiting area and good-sized concession stand.
— Shesha Pancholi
today, November 30 showtimes for what I presume is last day, from AMC website:
AMC Loews Wisconsin Ave 6 Movie Times and Tickets
Date of Show: Today, Nov. 30
Let’s Go to Prison
R â€¢ 1 hr. 24 min.
A Good Year
PG-13 â€¢ 1 hr. 58 min.
1:40 I 4:25 I 7:10
PG â€¢ 1 hr. 26 min.
2:05 I 4:20 I 7:25
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
G â€¢ 1 hr. 38 min.
2:10 I 4:45 I 7:15
Flags of Our Fathers
R â€¢ 2 hr. 12 min.
1:30 I 7:00
PG-13 â€¢ 2 hr. 15 min.
2:00 I 5:00 I 8:00
R â€¢ 2 hr. 29 min.
1:50 I 4:55 I 7:55
I think it was a medical center for awhile. Now, it is a Bingo hall, and the marquee says bingo. I went inside, but the ceilings had been lowered, so there was very little to see of interest.
Photos, including of the interior, have appeared here:
Photos from its last season (for classics) have appeared at http://www.cinematour.com/tour.php?db=us&id=6951
Does any else have photos? If so, please share them.
Well, it wasn’t a huge crowd because Flags of Our Fathers wasn’t popular nationwide. It was in its 4th week at the Uptown and had already been dropped from whatever multiplexes likely had run it, such as the Georgetown and downtown.
If people want to see the Uptown survive as a daily movie house, you need to go to the Uptown and see them there!
You didn’t seem to realize the attraction is the Uptown’s giant screen, and the balcony. That’s why it has survived all these years. It won’t be twinned.
I started attending when it was the Circle Uptown. Circle, Cineplex Odeon, and Loews all respected the house. Loews closed the Avalon and the Cinema, and wasn’t keen on full time projectionists, but they had excellent staff. They were polishing the brass on the doors, and using the curtain at the screen.
Two Saturdays ago, I enjoyed Flags of the Fathers. The presentation was excellent- projection, sound, and the curtain was used before and after the movie. The staff however, did appear and act underwhelming. This was the first time in 21 years that I’ve been attending when there wasn’t a professional staff. AMC can do better.
from Philadelphia Weekly today:
Rest of the Best
If you’re into cinema as consumerism, the AMC Loews Cherry Hill 24 and the AMC Neshaminy 24 (the top two-grossing screens in the Delaware Valley), the Regal Warrington Crossing Stadium 22 and AMC Franklin Mills 14 all offer a sufficient if not soulless multiplex experience conveniently located near huge shopping centers with miles of free parking and fast food.
Theater That Won’t Be Missed by Many
Another example of a multiplex run into the ground but still grinding out flicks, AMC Orleans 8 rivals Movies at Cheltenham Square for grunge.
from Philadelphia Weekly today:
If a youngster ever asks what it was like to go to the movies in the ‘80s, pack them into the car and trot out to AMC’s Rt. 309 Cinema 9. Built atop a folded drive-in sometime in the '60s, the 309 is a boxy multiplexâ€"without stadium seatingâ€"whose decor looks to have been untouched since The Naked Gun 2 ½: The Smell of Fear flickered.
from Philadelphia Weekly:
Best Urban Programming
A dumpy theatergoing experience complete with sticky floors and gross bathrooms, Movies at Cheltenham Square is notable for its rowdiness and management’s willingness to program offbeat ethnic entertainmentsâ€"offering a grand chance to catch under-the-radar filmmaking on a (medium-sized) big screen.
from the Philadelphia Weekly today:
Soon to Be Reborn
The single-screen theater in Jenkintown has been redone almost every decade for nearly a century. Neighbors formed a nonprofit to operate it and are renovating it once again. Known again as the Hiway, it’ll reopen in January, again as an arthouse.
I wrote that listing in today’s Philadelphia Weekly:
Worst Remolding Job
Once one of the few remaining golden age of Hollywood single-screen theaters, the Narberth met a fate worse than the wrecking ball when the owner twinned the house and â€œimprovedâ€ the setting but charmlessly destroyed, removed or covered up all the original ornate decoration. Now called the Narberth Stadium 2, the theater gives local residents of the sleepy village of Narberth the awful megaplex experience without the drive.
In Philadelphia Weekly today:
Most in Need of Improvement
With a lot of hype but no attention paid to projection, a lackadaisical staff and two screens carved from what was once a single house, the admittedly still-under-redevelopment Bryn Mawr Film Institute has miles to go before it reaches its goal of being the center of cinema outside the city. Midnight Movies, which is generally projected in 35 mm, can’t make up for a totally unsatisfying visual experience and inconsistent sound. A grave letdown made all the more ignominious by its promise.
in Philadelphia Weekly today:
Doylestown’s County Theater boasts a handsomely produced calendar but screens the size of postage stamps. Its excellently stocked concession stand would be even better if not for the slightly indifferent staff who simply shuffle though their duties when not under the manager’s watchful eye.
Opened in 1928 and now a triplex forged from a single-screen theater (which, in its most recent previous life, featured Evangelical Christian propaganda), the Ambler shows indies, and art and foreign films, along with some repertory and loads of special events. Handsomely designedâ€"but sadly with its largest screening room unfinishedâ€"the Ambler is poised as the place to catch a movie of quality in the sticks.
When’s the last time you saw a picture show from a balcony? Flawless, finicky projection on a giant screen in a classic but newly and intelligently refurbished theater built in 1903 make the Colonial Theater far and away the preeminent local moviegoing experience. Excellently (if somewhat obviously) programmed, their Classic Sundays repertory screenings offer legendary films as they were meant to be experienced. The theater anchors the burgeoning Phoenixville community by booking first-run features of note and hosting live events on its vaudeville-era stage the rest of the time.
from today’s Philadelphia Weekly article: