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The Triphammer Theater opened in 1968. Adjacent to the Triphammer Mall which comprises several local business and services, the theater was Ithaca’s first commercial movie house built outside the downtown area. It offered ample parking and, more importantly, superb viewing facilities. The glass facade in the International Modern style opened on to a spacious lobby with an attractive concession stand and lounge areas. The perfectly raked auditorium with two aisles and three banks of spacious seating accommodated 800 patrons. With no balcony, its walls and proscenium were draped in green and dark blue fabric, with a traveller curtain of the same fabric. The large, gently curved screen with excellent strereophonic sound and perfect masking complemented its first-rate projection equipment. But audiences declined to trek to the suburbs, and the theater closed periodically for want of seat-filling fare.
When the multiplexes at the nearby Pyramid Mall opened in the mid-1970s, they drew crowds that ignored the smaller Triphammer complex. The theater was twinned in the mid-1980s with its auditorium bisected and its seats repositioned for head-on viewing, but it showed mostly subsequent runs, children’s films, or oddly chosen revivals that generated little business. After remaining shuttered for most of the 1990s, the theater reopened late in that decade as a renovated four-plex. Yet once again the Triphammer failed to attract steady customers, and it’s now been dark for several years.
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