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I cannot speak for this decade, as the couple of times I went the presentation wasn’t very good. But during the stretch under Telkamp in the 90s, this was my favorite place to see a film. The back screen was/is huge, and the sound system top notch. They ran a midnight series which was flat-out wonderful, and how I saw many great 70s and 80s films on the big screen for the first time. In fact, this is where I spent my last night as a bachelor. One of the employees there owned a print of Star Wars on 35 mm; one of the great movie going experiences of my life was watching that print on the back screen. I really miss this place.
This theater was the home of a censorship controversy when the theater management decided to edit a scene of “Center of the World” during its run in May and June of 2001. The theater did not tell anyone it had chosen to edit the film and Artisan (the distributor) ended up pulling the film when it found out, as they did not originally know about the editing either. I can vouch for the reports of the edit, as I was one of the paying customers for “Center of the World” and that was the last time I paid to see a movie at the Esquire.
A slight correction to the original entry: it was cinemas 3-4 which became a book store.
That story seems accurate to me. I was one of the people who attended Nosferatu, and 125 is what I had estimated for the crowd. I would not count this theater as open, as there have been no events since then. When the theater was a bingo hall, all of the seats were ripped out, and flat wood floors over the slight slope of the old floor (at Nosferatu, the audience sat on card table chairs). The walls remain the same, though in disrepair. And I toured the upstairs, so I can vouch that there is still a projector, though video projection was used for Nosferatu. Also, as mentioned in other posts, the organ is long gone. To truly renovate the place would be expensive, and I suspect the other closed downtown theater (Regent) is in better shape. The screen looked fantastic, though. I will be there for Caligari and any other silent films they choose to show.
Here’s one Dayton theater I do not miss. It was poorly designed and frequently had widescreen movies cut off on the sides of the screens. The theater also had a nasty habit of cutting off the films before the credits had run. Not only is Hollywood 20 a better theater, but so was Beaver Valley.
I am not sure I would call this a megaplex. This is a multiplex that grew to large proportions. They’ve had two expansions with different styles so the place has a sort of frankenstein feel to it. I would rate this theater as decidedly inferior to its AMC brethren the Lennox 24 and the Easton 30, both of whom were designed and opened at their present size, and both of which have stadium seating.
This complex was made on the cheap. The screens were not correctly lined up with the projectors, so if you see a widescreen movie here, the movie runs off the side of the screen. The first two posts are correct: this is not a classic theater by any description.
The best feature of the State was a built-in pipe organ. I remember in the 1980s frequently there would be a 15 minute organ concert before the feature on Friday and Staurday nights. One show I saw, the organist invited us to sing along to the last song and then launched into the Mickey Mouse Club theme song.
I went through some old Springfield News-Suns today for details on the opening of the Upper Valley Mall. The mall itself opened August 1, 1971. The new theater had an open house on August 1 and 2, showing short subjects to show off the place. The grand opening of the theater was Wednesday, August 4, 1971. The complex had two screens and the opening night features were Plaza Suite and Summer of ‘42.
According to an August 1 article in the News-Sun, the capacity of the complex was 1145. Since both theaters were the same size, that would mean capacity for each theater would be about 575. The article stated the designer of the theaters was William Riseman.
In the original design, when entering the theater the consession stand is stright ahead. When facing the stand, screen 1 was to the right and screen two to the left.
Screen 1 remains almost identical to what it was like when it originally opened. Screen 2 has now been subdivided into four houses, each seating about 100 to 150.
General Cinemas were the original owners of the theater. On September 6, 1977, the second screen was closed to split it in two. The last feature to play on the screen before being subdivided was Bad News Bears in Breaking Training. General Cinemas kept it as a 3 screen complex until it was sold to Chakeres. I will do further research and report at a later date.
In late 2004 Chakeres started playing first run films at Urbana (and Kettering) again.