Showing 11 comments
My very first job “on the books” was for Dickinson in 1992. Sadly, they’ve been a poorly managed company that entire time. They’ve built some beautiful theatres over the years, but not maintained them.
Their luck wasn’t good either. It was really all over in December of 1997 when AMC opened something like 72 screens in the KC metro area on a single day, just in time for Titanic. This lead directly to the demise of the Glenwood (which would soldier on a few years in other hands) and the Southglen 12, which was just a few years old at the time.
I have fond memories of the Westglen when it first opened. Two huge main houses on either side of the concession stand, both THX certified with stadium seating at the rear, sloped floor at the front and waterfall curtains. This was in the mid to late 90’s. Last time I was there a few years ago, it was dirty and unkempt, and the projection in our auditorium was all jacked up (still film at that time).
The best Dickinson Theatres right now are in other peoples hands. The Springfield 11 with Imax was originally a very nice 8-plex with a 70mm equipped main auditorium.
Wrote to my local chain (Malco), knowing that prior to the digital conversion they used many Norelco 35/70 projectors. One of their VP’s responded that they are 100% committed to 2K digital projection. :( I can get 2K at home off of a Blu Ray a lot cheaper than going to a theatre, and far fewer jackholes to deal with. Too bad, because all in all Malco is a quality chain that maintains their properties and when they were all 35mm, their presentation was consistently excellent.
If the captions are on the screen, I’ll stop going to the movies.
I’ve never been a big fan of the way AMC does business, but this strangely makes sense for some older theatres. Their 16 screen in Fayetteville, AR has 6 high ceiling, sloped floor auditoriums that were added to the original 10 screens at the north end of the complex, and are off on their own and up their own ramp. These could easily be converted to luxed up theatres and might help them compete with the 20-years newer Malco 16 uptown. Right now, this theatre seems to survive mainly due to it’s proximity to the U of A campus.
I worked projection at two different theatres from ‘92 to '96 and we had slide projectors and muzak before the show started, then our company logos and 3 trailers and that was it. I spent a few months in '06 helping a friend run the booth in her Carmike 10-plex and the preshow generally ran an ENTIRE reel. I spent more time changing out commercials and building up preview reels using program sheets that were sent to her from her home office than anything else.
I’m married now and my wife an I hardly ever go out to a movie. 60 inch TV and it’s hard to feel ripped off by a $1.50 Blu Ray rental, even if you hated the movie.
Yes, this was built by Dickinson in the early to mid ‘90’s and is a smaller version of the Springfield 8, which I believe was built first, around 1993. To compare, house #1 at the Springfield 8 seated 455 and was 70mm equipped. It also opened with full curtains over every screen. The Forum 8 house #1 seats 350 and never had curtains and was less luxurious, but still very nice.
Malco is not very adventuresome (no IMAX or extra large digital screens, no theatres with restaurant food), but they do a good job of running their theatres and keeping them up. Don’t know who ran this before, but few are better than Malco.
Clearly the design is dated, with the sound fold curtains and sloped floors, but it looks like Goodrich kept it up over the years. Fewer and fewer of these theatres left, and I do feel some nostalgia for them. I missed the movie palace era by decades, and never lived in a town that was big enough to have one of the big 60’s and early 70’s style monster screens, so modest multiplexes are where I cut my teeth. Time marches on.
Smilebox may not be Cinerama, and I wouldn’t pay to see digital Smilebox in a theatre, but…I thoroughly enjoyed the Smilebox Blu Ray of “How the West Was Won” on my 60 inch Sharp Aquos. Good movie, excellent restoration. My wife was not familiar with Cinerama before we watched it, and she loved it too.
I was working at the Eastgate theatre in Joplin as a projectionist at the time this theatre closed and we received two Strong lamphouses from this theatre which were installed a few weeks after it closed in our auditoriums 4 and 5, and likely they were still in use when Eastgate closed.
This was originally a twin. In the photo contributed by Norman, on the right where the roof line dips down and it looks like a storefront, those are the original screens (now numbered 8 and 9). Those auditoriums are long and narrow, with floors that slope down from the rear and then slope back up to the screen. Virtually identical to the Malco Twin that was in the Fayetteville Mall.
The other 7 screens were added in the early to mid 90’s as near as I can tell, with a central concession stand accessible from both sides. Screens 1 and 2 are the largest and appear identical, seating around 250 by a quick and dirty count. Screen 1 still displays a THX certification plaque. Screen 3 is not in use, with a large trash can placed in the doorway and a padlocked door. Screens 4-7 are along the back hallway behind the concession store room. There are lockable doors in the hallway, that are sometimes used to control access to rated R movies.
This was one of the last 35mm theatres in Northwest Arkansas and I had wondered if it was going to convert or close. I saw a film here yesterday and all 8 screens that are in use have been converted to digital projection. There were also Klipsch crates tucked against the wall in the hallway, so they might be upgrading sound systems as well. My film certainly sounded punchier than I remember from this cinema. I spoke with the ticket taker and he said the conversion happened in early May, and that they had painted the building exterior at the same time. Nice to see Malco maintaining their property. This is now my go-to place for seeing a film. All shows all times are $3. You don’t have to worry about potentially beat up prints, and it has the sloped floor style I grew up with, rather than the currently popular stadium seating.