Art Towne Twin

6959 West Broward Boulevard,
Plantation, FL 33317

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WhoWhatWhereWhyHow
WhoWhatWhereWhyHow on September 30, 2010 at 1:38 am

It is important to remember that the Thursday Night film discussion series held at the Manor Art Cinema and also at the Art Towne Cinema in Plantation, FL (also owned by the same owner, Carlos Cyrulnik) was presented in conjunction with the Art/Alternative/Foreign films and mini-film festivals offerings shown there circa 1982-1985 was called “The Film Forum: An Examination of the Film Experience.”

The “Film Forum” was the creation of host, director, scholar Arch Angelus Sturaitis, an artist/writer originally from Canada who moderated a weekly discussion with headliner directors, actors, producers, movie critics and a wide range of experts expounding on the featured films being screened at the theatres.

South Florida premieres of “Say Amen Somebody”, “Siberiade”, “Gabriela”, “Heart Like a Wheel”, “Land of Look Behind”, “Berlin Alexanerplatz”, “Gaijin” “Entre Nous” among many, many other memorable Foreign/International films attracted unprecedented full house audiences of more than 300 patrons.

The Film Forum explored cinematographic, social and aesthetic issues inspired by themes of “Women in Film”, “Gay/Lesbian Cinema”, “Movies as a Medium of Social Conformity or Societal Dissent”, “New Wave Cinema from Germany, Israel, Poland, Italy, France, Hungary, Brazil”, “Representations of Race and Ethnicity”, “Sex, Violence and Changing Social Mores”, “Idealized History: Period Piece Dramas and Epic Films”. Some of these themes became stand-alone enrichment Film/Communications courses taught by Arch Angelus Sturaitis at Broward Community College, Florida Atlantic University and by popular demand as special guest lectures at Nova Southeastern University and University of Miami.

The Film Forum with Arch Angelus Sturaitis was widely covered by the Press: Candice Russell of the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun Sentinel; Bill Cosford of the Miami Herald; Skip Sheffield of the Boca Raton News; Jack Sturdy of the TWN, among others. Many radio and TV personalities also joined with these critics in the annual Oscar Gala Discussion at the Manor, a very popular program for the film crowd.

The Art Towne, Manor Art featuring the Film Forum attracted a most interesting arts/culture intelligentsia of the time under one roof. Anybody who was anybody in the local South Florida arts scene could be found in the audience. In addition, many came from all walks of life to actively participate in the programs. Including a regular contingent that arrived from area retirement complexes chartering tour buses to come to the receptions as part of their regularly scheduled activity roster. They mingled and interacted with college kids who were there earning extra credit doing reports on the films they were instructed by their professors to view.

sporridge
sporridge on July 30, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Forgot to mention the ghastly, industrial gray walls within the Towne Twin (true, the only wall that really mattered was the one with the screen). Seems every theater along or adjoining Broward Boulevard (Plantation, Towne, Broward Mall 4, Fountains 8, Movies at Plantation) was doomed to short shelf lives.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on July 24, 2010 at 9:24 am

S Porridge, I read that entire article, to me, that was really interesting, thanks.

sporridge
sporridge on July 24, 2010 at 8:06 am

IIRC, Publix has been there from the day the shopping center opened, upgraded several times over the decades.

Although “the theater was gutted and expanded into a much larger two-story addition for offices and added roughly another 30 feet to the east end of the mall” by the time the fire took place, this page gives an idea of the former Towne’s surroundings:

View link

If you should take a closer look at the floor plan illustration, the Towne previously occupied the space behind Rite Aid (east end).

Although it showed many remarkable films, there wasn’t anything noteworthy about the Towne’s architecture or decor: plain late 60s suburban concrete.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on July 24, 2010 at 7:04 am

Google Map also lists a Publix Super Market at that address.

I also found it open from 1970-1989.

What ever happened to Lost Memory?

Anyone have more info or photos?

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 13, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Thanks Al, I thought it may be something like that.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm

The Reef Zone is listed at this address now,whatever that is.

sporridge
sporridge on February 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

I’ve now left a reminiscence of the Art Towne’s east Broward accompanist, the Manor Art Cinema, at:

/theaters/25068/

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 10, 2009 at 11:32 am

The Towne opened as a Chris McGuire Cinema.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on August 23, 2008 at 3:22 pm

The Towne opened in 1970, was twinned in 1974 and closed for good in 1989.

sporridge
sporridge on August 20, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Meant to say: “full-time art film programming,” courtesy of Carlos Cyrulnik (also of the Manor Art Cinema, recently listed on CT).

sporridge
sporridge on August 20, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Born Jaded, the art film programming was what ended in 1987, and the Towne was briefly shuttered (as happened a few times before). As you note, successor management brought a final year or two of popular second-run fare. I even went there one more time before it closed permanently, think it was for “In the Mood” in late ‘87 or early '88.

Sorry you missed out on its alternative years. To be an art cinema enthusiast in South Florida anymore seems to mean a mile-long Netflix queue. If you’re ever in Lake Worth, check out the Stonzek Studio Theatre/Emerging Cinemas black box room next to the Lake Worth Playhouse. Digital projection, tiny screen, only seats 48, but they do have their act together and the audience (at least for “My Winnipeg”) had enthusiasts rather than scenesters.

bornjaded
bornjaded on July 29, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Are you sure you have the dates correct, SP? When my moviegoing career was just beginning, I saw films like Beetlejuice, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Short Circuit 2, and Big Business here, all in 1988, during which time they also ran Clean & Sober, Arthur 2: On the Rocks, and Tucker: A Man and His Dream. I recall, perhaps, a transition then to either a second-run house, an art cinema, or some combination of the two, shortly thereafter, as they played The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, House of Games (both final-quarter 1987 releases), and The Manchurian Candidate (a first-quarter 1988 rerelease). I’m pretty sure I have the chronology correct. I wouldn’t have been paying attention to their bookings prior to the release of Beetlejuice.

But it stuns me to think there was ever an “art cinema” within walking distance of my childhood home, when now, there’s not a bona fide “art cinema” anywhere in South FL.

sporridge
sporridge on March 15, 2006 at 12:55 pm

Before its life as the Art Towne Twin (1983-1987), the Towne operated as a single-screen suburban cinema from the late 60s/early 70s. Twinning divided the auditorium into a 2/3 vs. 1/3 configuration (woe to widescreen features in the latter house, and the muffled audio didn’t help the likes of ‘ROUND MIDNIGHT). Its main claim to fame was hosting the “world premiere engagement” of a 1973, locally produced, G-rated GODFATHER parody titled THE GODMOTHERS, starring Mickey Rooney (never saw it).

Various owners opened (and closed) the Towne as it became a second-run bargain house, while UA and General Cinema opened first-run multiplexes nearby… until it became the West Broward complement to the former Manor Art Cinema in East Broward (Wilton Manors/Ft. Lauderdale, closed 1987). Aside from a long run of THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY, the Art Towne hosted the Broward County exclusives of the restored A STAR IS BORN, all 15 ½ hours of BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ, and a mixture of revivals and 1980s arthouse fare.

After the Art Towne’s sudden closure in 1987, it had one more go as a $1.25 cinema before its demolition for an office complex (itself lost to the aforementioned fire a few years later).