Hellman Theatre

1365 Washington Avenue,
Albany, NY 12206

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Opened in 1960 on Washington Avenue, across the street from SUNY Albany. Originally designed with a large, very lavish lobby and lounge, and gold draperies throughout the auditorium. The two center sections had gold seats, while the two aisles flanking the walls had blue seats.

United Artists took over in the 70’s, and twinned it in the 80’s. It was the last of the Hellman Theatres in the Albany area to close—around 1989. It sat empty for a few years. A politician used the lobby for his campaign headquarters for a few months. The theatre was eventually demolished.

Contributed by Joe Masher

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

kencmcintyre on January 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm

This is from Boxoffice magazine in April 1960:

ALBANY-The new 1,060-seat Hellman Theater on Upper Washington Avenue which Neil Hellman is building at a cost estimated at $500,000, will open April 27 with the first upstate New York showing of “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies”.

The Hellman, constructed as a memorial to Neil’s father, the late Harry Hellman, a pioneer Albany exhibitor, will have a 52-foot wall-to-wall screen, eight stage and 12 wall speakers and the most modern design and deluxe equipment. Designed by Sidney Schenker, Paterson NJ architect, the house will “represent the new concept of a motion picture theater’s functions”, according to general manager Alan Iselin. Mannie Friedman, whose exhibition experience covers 23 years, will be the house manager.

kencmcintyre on January 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Here is some more information about the theater and its eventual demolition:

nritota on October 27, 2009 at 4:41 pm

This theatre was twinned in the 70’s, not 80’s as reported above. I ran a house in the market and moved to Albany in early 1980. The house was already a twin at that time.

rivest266 on February 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm

April 27th grand opening ad is at View link

Tinker3cat on April 12, 2012 at 11:49 am

Saw the “The Longest Day” at the Hellman after required reading in English class at Albany College of Pharmacy of Cornelius Ryan’s book about the D-Day invasion.The black and white film version was a great experience to view . Both projection and sound was splendidly displayed. For me this was my best movie viewing experience to that time. The trailer that day was for “Lawrence of Arabia”. Breathtaking on both ! Too bad we lose these theaters. Ray, Charlotte,NC

Tinseltoes on July 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

Featured on the front cover of this trade journal in June, 1960: Boxoffice

Tinseltoes on July 16, 2012 at 10:46 am

More description here: Boxoffice

Jasonlongtonjr on March 23, 2013 at 5:59 am

I remember going to the Hellman Theatre in the 1970’s with my classmates from school #23 to see the movie Oliver twist. This is a fond memory of my childhood. I find it sad that places like this are being demolished.

curmudgeon on October 24, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Hi Ridgewood Ken. Would this have been one of the last 3 strip Cinerama installations? Barely a couple of years prior to the 3 strip system becoming obsolete.

nritota on October 25, 2013 at 4:53 am

According the the Remembering Cinerama series posted on this site (http://cinematreasures.org/blog/2009/3/27/remembering-cinerama-part-24-albuquerque), Albuquerque was the last three projector installation in 1964.

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