Crown Aspen Hill Theatres

13729 Connecticut Avenue,
Wheaton, MD 20906

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Crown Aspen Hill Theatres

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I would really like to get more information on this childhood favorite theatre of mine. I lived about two miles away from it. Then (the 70’s), it had two screens. Good sized auditoriums.

The architecture of the building was nothing special as it was built into the middle of a middle class white bread suburban shopping strip. And I do mean strip: One straight line of stores. One deep, hot asphalt parking lot in front of it. There was a Peoples Drug Store and a magic/novelty store (my second fave hangout), as well as various come-and-go little shops.

Some of my fondest movie events were at this crappy little movie house. “The Poseidon Adventure”…played there for six months straight. I saw it eight times.

“Jaws”…six months or more. I saw that 14 times. I lied to my dear old mother that I needed money and a ride to go see some Charlie Brown summer camp movie when I really snuck into “Tales From The Crypt”. Oh, how my heart raced at the forbiddeness of it all (I was all of 11, mind you!)

I saw “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad” there. Just the right age to be wowed by it, too.

But, the most fascinating thing about that little two screen place…the thing that I so vividly remember to this day, was the interior manager’s office. Several times, upon entering the dim, carpeted, narrow hallway to either screening room 1 or 2, I would pass by the open office door. The entire office was plastered from top to bottom with classic movie scenes and posters. And I don’t mean just simple movie murals, as is common today. I mean true black and white original posters! King Kong, Dracula, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Casablanca, Garbo, W.C. Fields…

A few times I would pause, dawdle…hover. Meekily peering into that office. To deathly shy as a geek kid of 11 to ask anyone there if I could look closer. No, it was like the teacher’s lounge at school, a forbidden zone.

What I would give to pull that wallpaper from the walls of this since closed “House of Dreams”.

Contributed by Paul Sanchez

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on January 19, 2008 at 11:57 pm

This CVS Pharmacy currently resides in the space where the Aspen Hill Theatres once resided. Some of the records I have come across appear to indicate that the number of screens was expanded from two to four before its closure.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on January 20, 2008 at 1:32 am

When I lived in the area, I could have sworn that this theater was a twin operated by the Roth group in the early 80s. I don’t think as a twin, either had stereo, which was probably why I never went back.

klaatu22
klaatu22 on November 22, 2008 at 5:44 pm

I do remember this theater fondly. I saw my first X-rated movie there. I think I was 15. ;)

I seem to recall that originally it was indeed a Roth Theater. Roth had theaters all over the place in Montgomery County, in practically every little shopping center. The upkeep was pretty good as was the film quality, I’m not entirely sure why they sold out or went out of business.

The Aspen Hill Theater used to show all kinds of stuff that you might not see elsewhere. For instance, before Bruce Lee was ever really popular, they showed his movies there, as well as a variety of other chop-suey westerns, as we used to call them. They also had a lot of exceptionally bad films from Hammer Studios, including titles such as “Revenge of the Wolfman’s Orthodontist” or things fairly close to that. Of course, they had things like “Billy Jack”, “Fearless Vampire Killers” (Sharon Tate’s last film), and they always showed “Pink Panther” cartoons instead of Warner Brothers cartoons.

Yes, the CVS is now occupying the space… See also

http://www.aspenhillnet.net

and click around.

sconnell1
sconnell1 on March 23, 2009 at 12:51 am

The Aspen Hill opened on 4/22/70. Theater #1 showed BOB AND CAROL AND TED AND ALICE, Theater #2 showed TRUE GRIT.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 13, 2010 at 5:02 pm

I spent a few weeks in Wheaton with my cousins.They were a bit older so i found the Aspen Hill twin Cinema.Being from Augusta We had not gotten our first Twin theatre so i was excited to go to the theatre. I remember a record store nearby.

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Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Movies I saw ZEPPLIN with Michael York. WHEN DINOS RULED THE EARTH [sexy cavegirls] but rated G and the final movie i ever saw before going back to Georgia was THE OMEGA MAN with Charlton Heston. I still have the flyer they gave away at the Concession. THANKS FOR A GREAT THEATRE.Flyer from THE OMEGA MAN WAS like a newspaper,

sott68
sott68 on March 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I am pretty sure this was a Roth’s in the 80’s – and I kind of think it was up to 4 theaters… maybe only 2… I remember seeing Blue Thunder here in 1983 and I think one of the Star Trek Movies. I lived in silver spring, so this was kind of a haul but a good joint – with a record store (Kemp Mill’s) just a few doors down.

chandlerswain
chandlerswain on March 14, 2013 at 5:14 pm

The theater was not a Roth theater on it’s opening.The theater was very big on promotional items, thus the neat Caveman Dictionary from “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth”, the vomit bags from “Mark of the Devil” and the end-of-the-world newspapers for “The Omega Man”. A very eclectic mix of films with a good amount of reissues such as “7th Voyage of Sinbad” and the restored “King Kong” as well as more contemporary offerings like “Patton”, “The Cowboys”, “What’s Up Doc?” and even odd cultish items such as the sexploitation favorite “The Cheerleaders” and “Vault of Horror”. They would also show the occasional cartoon and short including a newsreel from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse which seemed to be a recurring favorite.

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on June 25, 2013 at 10:22 pm

The theatre had a seating capacity of around 1200. The two auditoriums were split in half in 1986 to make it a four screen complex. The architect was Victor Smolen.

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