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I took a date to see “Halloween”. It was sold out and I will never forget the experience. I believe this was the first theater in the Dayton area to incorporate stadium seating. The Levin’s were way ahead of everybody else when it came to theater.
Saw “Kagemusha”, “Time After Time” and “The Return of the Secaucus 7” at this theater back in the late 70’s. Stop in and say “Hi” to Carrie at the sandwich shop, she used to go to movies at this theater all those years ago.
The theater was just about to re-open for the 1987 season and a group of us stayed and watched “Evil Dead 2”. What a night. I believe the deep fryer caught fire and burned down a portion of the concession area a few weeks later. Ouch!
Tim Ahern and then Mike DeSantis managed this theater in the late 70’s. Saw many movies here. Michael Jackson once came in and saw a film and at least this theater of Bob Mills didn’t burn down like the Cinema East did in 1972.
An assistant manager (or doorman) was talking on the pay phone in the lobby of this theater to an aquaintance when he heard a single shot ring out from the other end of the line. His friend committed suicide and his pager just kept beeping when attempts were made to contact him. I believe that was 1987.
I helped put a movie together there in 1980 and screened it that evening. “The Fifth Floor” was a huge disappointment but the theater wasn’t. A nice, cozy neighborhood theater. Good luck with the restoration.
This theater used to show ‘Midnight Movies’ in the late 70’s. I worked several and there was always trouble in the parking lot. The evening we showed “Night of the Living Dead”, I never got a chance to see the movie, I spent most of my time chasing vandals and flagging down the police.
You’re correct Robert R, Dayton is the place for entertainment.
Jim Howard managed this theater in the late 70’s.
Holding a crowd for the next show then getting them in their seats took less than fifteen minutes when the ropes went down, thanks to the long hallway that stretched from the lobby to the parking lot way out front.
Some good memories. Still have the original “Magic” one sheet from 1978 and “Maximum Overdrive” from 1986.
Thank you for your Plutarchic correction.
Thanks for the update. What a shame. Stored a lot of memories from that theater.
Memories of Dayton Mall Cinema I…
In 1978, Chakeres installed a state-of-the-art sound system, which cost them a small fortune, to prepare for the Friday arrival of the much anticipated “The Last Waltz”. On opening night, they were staffed with six concession personnel (imagine how crowded it was behind that small counter!) ready to make popcorn and serve cold drinks. Four doormen were ready to seat patrons in the 1048 seats (the projectionist, John Harvey, had taken out two seats and relocated them to the booth).
Only 12 people showed up for the 7:30 pm show.
In 1979, John Harvey invited myself and a friend to help put a 70mm film together at 1:00am. When we were done, we felt it necesaary to view our work, and since none of us knew what the film was about, it seemed like the right thing to do. The splicing complete, we started the movie at 3:00. Having improved the sound system the year before for the film mentioned earlier, the sound coming from that 70mm print was phenomenal.
For the first fifty minutes, we thought Chakeres had another stinker on their hands. But the atmosphere soon changed and by the end of the movie, we were all scared beyond belief and actually glad the darned thing was over. They may not be able to hear you scream in space, but I bet there were night watchmen in the Mall that heard us in that theater.
The movie was “Alien” and thanks to that particular viewing experience, it is still one of the most frightening films of all
In 1980, the theater was slated to show “The Empire Strikes Back”. The contract to show the film was stiff – no box office receipts until the fifth week! At that point it went to a 90/10 split. So money had to be made at the concession stand. The contract also stated we had to start on Friday, May 23rd but not exactly when. So a special screening was arranged for 12:01am, Friday May 23rd to gain revenue. The only advertising for this special event was a hand written banner over the 40"x60" poster in the showcase placed two weeks prior.
By 11:55pm, volunteers were called on to seat the 955 patrons that showed up that night. They actually sold some popcorn too…
Kettering Cinema had a ninety-foot wide, convex screen and seated 904 patrons. The last movie to show on the large screen was “Goin' South”, John Belushi and Mary Steenburgen’s screen debuts and directed by Jack Nicholson. The theater was closed in the fall of 1978 and ‘twinned’. Kettering Cinemas opened on December 15th with “King of the Gypsies” and “Oliver’s Story” Even though both theaters were only partially ready, neither film sold out the 30 seats that were available.