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No, the Mid-States or Mid State twin, was located in the Mid-State Mall about 5 to 6 miles south of this location. The Mid-State was originally a Jerry Lewis franchise that was also taken over by the Dickinson circuit. The Mid-State is a totally different theatre than the one described here.
I had worked for the Dickinson circuit managing theatres for them, and had been hired by the Mann circuit district office in Wichita, Kansas and was working as a assistant manager learning their system before being transfered to manage one of their theaters. One of my assignments was to the Mall Cinema in Wichita, which was installing a ‘dolby system’ before the opening of ‘Star Wars.“ We ended up playing 'Star Wars’ for 52 weeks, changing prints at Christmas because we wore out the first one, we even had to hire a new janitor because the one we had quit because of the mess people were creating. Actually got robbed once, and even had a bomb scare. We were so busy that you feet just throbbed at night when one sat down to catch your breath. I have never seen the picture completely, becuase we were just that busy, I probally should take the time someday.
Yes!!! It is good to see people around the boxoffice, and appreciating a venue such as the National. It is sad to see the marquee carved up like they did in removing the Mann name, but maybe (probally not) they’ll replace it with something. Also excellant work on the part of Michael Coates with the booking list ,very well done!
You pose an interesting question. I am out here in Kansas, and I can tell you this much, that the fire threat in the projection booth diminished with the advent of xenon bulbs and fire retardant film, which melts instead of burns, ( I dont know the technical name for it.) The great theatre fires were started from the curtains, seats and generally in the projection booths when film caught on fire and set everything else off. I used to have a projectionist who could tell the story about just getting out of a booth before the fire doors locked on him. However, you do also make a good point, that the art of projecting a motion picture is, and has become a lost art. There are fewer and fewer ‘moving picture machine operators’ left in this world. The concept of pride in ones craft and the motovating influence to instill that pride is becoming fewer and fewer, but if you can find a theatre where that pride is exemplified, by all means patronize the place, and frequently, and let the management know you appreciate their efforts, sometimes they need to know.
We in district 5-5 were definately considered ‘under performing’ or not wanted if you want to call it that. Mann was twining the larger Fox Theatres NGC had built in the late 60’s and early 70’s but no new construction. The district I was in was eventually sold to the Dickinson Circuit which either closed or gave away the ageing downtown properties. All are closed or demolished today, some have undergone extenisve renovations to become community centers, but that is the exception no the rule.
Thank you for your responses.
You bring an old question to my mind with your above comment. I used to work for the Mann circuit out of the district office in Wichita, Kansas, my question is; How exactly did Ted Mann come to purchase National General? That question has been debated for decades around ths part of the country. If anyone has an opinions or knows the history of the transaction, I for one would be interested in reading your opinions.
Ward Parkway is the orignial home of the multi-plex. This shopping center is where AMC orginally put in a twin theatre becuase the overhead beams of the mall would not alow a single wide screen theatre to be constructed. This new twin actually ran the same movie in both houses, it wasn’t until about a year later that two different movies were shown at the same time. AMC moved back into Ward Parkway , (might be in 2000,) after closing the twin many years earlier.
Yes, hollywood90038, I am refering to that picture, I had assumed it was ‘doctored’ you did an excellant job with the concept. It is very sad that the Mann Corporation could not negotate favorable terms on the lease renewal. Again it is my sincere hope, even sitting all the way out here in Kansas, that something good will come from this, it is SO unfortunate to see buildings just sit vacant and detorate while something else is constructed across the street.
I used to work in the district office out of Wichita, Kansas when the Mann circuit was a national chain, having taken over National General, and the National as well as a variety of LA and NY houses were a great source of pride for that organization. It is unfortunate to see it close, and I sincerely hope that some constructive use will come of this venue. The picture of the closing night is awesome, but also a sad sign of the times.
This was a real interesting situation, as with any transaction do your homework, Kick the tires and buyer beware!
The Ranchmart was the flag ship of the Commonweatlh Circuit. I was always wondering what actualy happened to it after the Canon Group took it over from Commonwealth. This theatre and the Glenwood were located in a very affluent end of Kansas City, and were extremely good grossing theatres. The banner on top lists it as having 5 screens, was one added I was under the impression it only had 4, plus what were and are now the seating numbers for each auditoriam. Could you also expand on if the new theatre has more than 35mm capability and sound. I and glad to see it open again and I wish you much success in your venture.
Your pic from from 1970’s era is probally around the grand opening time for the National. Its opening attraction was ‘Posiden Adventure.’ Klein, (his first name escapes me) as Presdent of National General, wanted premire theatres on both coasts. They already operated the Chinese in Los Angeles, and the National was the first new theatre construction on Broadway in many years. Ted Mann, when he took control of the place, twinned it.
CONGRATULATIONS GUYS!!!!!!!!! Its really exciting to see just how far this fantastic web site has progressed. The data base is a wonderful resource tool, and the preservation issues that this site has covered ( Indian Hills, Omaha, just to name a few,) have also been a highly motovating factor in generating interest from around the nation to the ongoing efforts of communities to deal with the issues of historic preservation and reuse. To all those who update theatre listings with photographs I encourage you to try to get inside and document the interiors as well. Dont forget the film companies, and other industry related busineses, at one time also had regional offices, and if you know of any, it would be interesting to see what has happened to them today as well.
I agree with the above post. I realize that sometimes it is plain tough to find quality product for your screens, but the advantage this owner has is that being independant he does have control over what he shows not what the home office spits out. There is plenty of other product out there.
Who was the owner/operator of this theatre when it closed?
Unfortunately it is an old article, but none the less it is interesting to see how showmanship can make ones theatre more of an enjoyable experience. Earlier this week I posted a story on an expansion of the Central Mall 8 theatres in Salina, Kansas, which will expand to 10 screens over the fall. Note that one screen will seat 80 and the other 60, the screen sizes have to be small, and many homes have large screen televisions which will be larger than the new auditoriams at this theatre. The exhibitor today HAS to GIVE the movie going public a REASON to patronize their theatres. This story emphases what exhibitors can do to give the public a reason to go to the movies. While the Central Mall 10 will be just another boring shopping mall experience.
Thank you for your information…
Your list does not show the original ‘Star Wars’ I was wondering which theatre was showing the film and do you have any idea why the Century 21 was not.
AMAZING!!! No matter how hard someone tries, somebody, somewhere, will turn ones good intentions compeltely around. When it comes to historic preservation issues, the hardest part of the battle is convincing the public in general that this is a ‘qualtiy of life issue,“ and regardless if you partronize this theatre or not the well being of the communty as a whole benefits. The fact that this community is trying to perserve its hertiage says a lot about the community in a highly positive sense, the challenge becomes convincing the city commission members that this restored theatre will be more of a positive impact on the community than the "new” commercial business that potentially will replace it.
Unforturnatley this has and will always we an uphill battle, but I imagine that is just the type of challenge the individuals whom are attempting this venture are acustom to and will galdly fight.
I am an former movie theatre owner, I am an historian and I strongly urge everyone to voice their option about the preservation effort immediately. The opposition is obviously well orgainzed and must be confronted. DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!
I know the feeling….. dealing with the studios will do that to you.
My perspective is from several areas. I operated a theatre in a small town in Kansas. Yes I had a day job and ran my theatre at night. Yes there is competition in a small town, Friday night football, Friday night basketball, and if the kids have a winning season,…it’s just much more difficult, and yes the competiton does come to town, it did in my case, plus a major lake 10 miles west, and you live and die by the farm economy. Trust me the next worst thing to having a Wal-Mart in your community is one 34 miles away where people can drive to it. I sincerely hope this gentlemen does sell his theatre, power to him. What we are talking here is just plain movie business sense. This is a cut throat business, profit margins can be thin, I just felt that the realtor whom posted message on this site makes it sound just a little too good, but if he can find a buyer, CONGRADULATIONS and welcome to the business world. The studios will educate you at what ever percent you are willing to spend.
Thats exactly what I am getting at. In today’s business world if you have the cash and dont have to borrow any of it, you are probally ahead to put that $390,000 somewhere else. I know that there are business that will make your investment back, and this may very well be one of them, but as long as too much doesn’t change, and it of course will, I dont care what business you invest in its a tremdous risk and takes a lot of commitment. As theatre owners, and I’m a former one. we will have a lot of competition for the entertainment dollar and the competiton down the street can be just the least of the worry. Thats why I found the ‘sales pitch’ for this theatre so interesting.
Gladly….. I have managed and owned theatres across Kansas for the past 30 years. I have worked for the Dickinson , Mann and Bill Warren organizations. It just not as simple as described above. You CAN and DO loose on pictures, it just like any retail business, bar , gas station, grocery store even a funeral home, it does take work. Just simply giving a percentage of the gate to the film company doesn’t mean that you are flush with cash at the end of the night. In the 1970’s we made enough money on a film called “JAWS” that we paid for one 4-plex and built another, only to loose enough money on a picture called “MC ARTHUR” to put us back into debt. The movie business is fun, no doubt about it, it is challenging, but in todays enviorment you are nuts to work for yourself, let some else have the headaches. This particular theatre may very well be a great investment…..until some guy builds 15 screens down the street, then how quickly do you think you can get your $390,000. investment back. I think Dan Sperry has made a great sales pitch, unfortunately his description of the amount of time and ease of making money is probally a little kind…
Fantastic web site. The pictures of the projection booth are super. I like the creativity of the mail box projector, wish I’d thought of that one. A must see web site, ONLY after you finish surfing this one.
I take it Dan Sperry has NEVER OWNED a movie theatre before !