Uptown Theatre

2014 Genesee Street,
Utica, NY 13502

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Uptown Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as a single screen theatre in December 1927. It was built for the Kallet Theatre Corp. and contained 1,500 seats. It was tripled and continued to screen movies until 2012 when it was de-tripled and began a live performances policy.

Contributed by Dave Bonan

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

bbmeg1
bbmeg1 on April 17, 2009 at 3:59 am

Just thought I’d add my 2 cents' worth …

I grew up about a block away from Utica’s Uptown Theatre (the neighborhood isn’t quite as “citified” as the photos make it appear). I agree that the photo in question most assuredly is not that of Utica’s Uptown.

Sad to see that the theatre is up for sale. Typical, evidently, of big town-small city America in decline.

Everything’s up to date in Culver City (shall we sing along?) CA, my current home. Here, where filmdom’s heart beats strongly, fine old theatres are rescued, thanks to the largesse of the likes of Kirk Douglas, and put to good and continued use.

vincentvendetta
vincentvendetta on September 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm

The Uptown became Utica’s first 70mm theater in July of 1959 with “Sleeping Beauty”. In 1957, there was an eleven day reserved seat showing of “Around the World in 80 Days”. A 46 foot screen was installed with a magnificent stereophonic sound system, but not presented in Todd-AO. I suspect the it was a Cinestage version of the film, but as far as I was concerned, Todd-AO could not have bettered it. The screen was pretty deeply curved with a beautiful new curtain. The Uptown was built as a stadium style theater and every seat was near perfect viewing. It’s still open as a first-run triplex.

Coate
Coate on October 23, 2009 at 11:16 am

jimvin… Might you have the premiere date for the Uptown’s engagement of “Sleeping Beauty”? July what?

vincentvendetta
vincentvendetta on November 7, 2009 at 10:00 am

The opening date of “Sleeping Beauty” at the Uptown was July 1,1959.
I have 6 newspaper ads and an article about this. They really went all out in advertising the fact that the Uptown was the only theater in the area that had the special equipment to show the film “as Walt Disney visualized it’s perfect presentation”.

moonmatrix23
moonmatrix23 on September 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm

That is a picture of the Uptown Theatre. Two the place may be shuttering its doors and only doing live acts from now on. It is a sad day and I am beyond angry the owner is keeping it very hush on what is happening to the place. She should have sold it and not backed out fo doing so. She has no clue how to run the place and has forced an 87 year old icon of Utica NY to fall. I know all this because my boyfriend works there, has for 9 plus years. He is losing his job today. No one has any respect for history or what this theatre had once meant to so many people.

cmbussmann
cmbussmann on April 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm

The Uptown is still open, now running as “The New Uptown Theatre” though the only thing new about it is the management and the fact that they occasionally have live performances. I haven’t been there since it re-opened. My memories of The Uptown was that it was basically a dump, the kind where you could see a second-run film for pretty cheap, which for me was a the draw. I didn’t care that the seats were old and uncomfortable, that the popcorn was often stale, and picture slightly blurry as The Uptown came as close to a grindhouse aesthetic as I could find in Upstate NY at the time. You could go to the diner, bowl two games, and still see a movie there for less than the cost of seeing a similar film elsewhere. It was that cheap, so of course it was imperfect. The managers were totally cool too, allowing the occasional sneaked food or drink. I think we ate a pizza in there once.

I never get around to Utica much anymore. But if I did, I would definitely revisit The Uptown. I’m curious to see what they’ve done to the joint.

vincentvendetta
vincentvendetta on June 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm

I had a “mini-tour” of the Uptown about a month ago. It no longer has 3 screens. It is being renovated and is now opened up as a single screen theater again. Much work is still to be done. No movies have been shown for a number of months, but various types of live performances have while renovating is on-going. A stage has been built and the very large screen removed. The screen, that I hope is temporary, is only the width is the stage However I’m happy that the theater is being revived and not closed. When I get more info, or visit it again, I’ll have an update.

Jack Theakston
Jack Theakston on October 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Does anyone know if the architectural elements (if there were any) have been salvaged in its being converted back to single-screen?

rivest266
rivest266 on September 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Official website is now at http://www.theuticauptowntheatre.com/

Stopped showing movies in 2013.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 15, 2013 at 6:11 am

The January 27, 1928, issue of Motion Picture News said that Robbins and Lumberg opened the Uptown Theatre in Utica on December 29, 1927. An issue of the same publication from early 1927 said that the Rolu (Robbins and Lumberg) Theatre Company’s new house on Genesee Street was being designed by the local architectural firm of Rushmer & Jennison.

Herbert D. Rushmer was the senior partner of the firm, and he and Albert H. Jennison had been partners in a firm with noted Utica architect Jacob Agne Jr. from 1900 until Agne’s death in 1918.

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