Manlius Art Cinema

130 E. Seneca Street,
Manlius, NY 13104

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Manlius Art Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

It is in the village of Manlius, NY in the greater Syracuse metropolitan area. It could be the building was the Seville Theatre, listed in the 1930 edition of Film Daily Yearbook with a seating capacity of 270. That theatre was later renamed the Strand Theatre listed on Seneca Street in the 1940 and 1943 editions of F.D.Y. with 200 seats (179 seats in 1950). I last saw a movie there about three years ago.

Contributed by Anne-Marie Thompson

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

MarkNYLA on July 21, 2008 at 6:07 am

This is a rare still existing example of the “shooting gallery” style of theatre construction occasionally seen in the late 1920s. The Manlius has a long narrow auditorium with a fixed size screen that is barely 1:1.85. At one time, scope films were shown thru a Magnacom and “letterboxed” on the screen, although quite often the film spilled over on the walls. I don’t know if this is still the practice.

The theatre was very popular in the mid-to-late seventies and early eighties, during the last great art film era. It was at the Manlius that I was introduced to films like The Tin Drum, Eraserhead, Wifemistress, Return of the Secaucus Seven, Tree of Wooden Clogs and many others. By the late 80’s, owner Nat Tobin sold the screen to a local grocery store owner who switched the programming to sub-run. He couldn’t make a go of it, though, and attempted to auction the theatre off in 1990. I attended the auction hoping to buy it. However, it was obvious that none of the few bids submitted would be sufficient, so he wound up buying it back himself for a bid of $90,000.

The last time I was in the theatre, which was many years ago, it was in deplorable condition with a large puddle of water covering the carpet in the first few rows of seats (but it was still open nonetheless). I believe Nat Tobin has the house back now; he also had the Westcott until a few years ago.

nattobin on October 26, 2010 at 8:08 am

I first took over the management of the Manlius Art Cinema in 1992 so I was not involved with the failed auction. Scope films are still letterboxed due to the screen size and building limitations. We are quite proud of our place in the community and the staying power of the cinema. It is the oldest in Central New York and one of the oldest cinemas in the country.

Nat Tobin

CSWalczak on May 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm

The theater is going digital: View link

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