1863 Cinema

36 Michigan Avenue,
Smithers, WV 25186

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Showing 16 comments

kpkilburn2 on March 13, 2014 at 8:55 am

I can’t believe I forgot “Walking Tall: The Final Chapter” — it was the first movie shown in the 1863 Cinema.

kpkilburn2 on March 13, 2014 at 8:34 am

A “complete” list of movies shown in the 1863 Cinema I compiled years ago. These are from memory and the projection booth wall (where we wrote the names of the movies).

The movies are listed by year of release, not necessarily the year they were shown in the 1863 Cinema. Titles with an asterisk (*) may not have been shown (again, going from memory).


[FROM 1974]

Blazing Saddles

[FROM 1976]

Car Wash

Eat My Dust! *

The Great Smokey Roadblock *

The Gumball Rallay *

The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams

Ode to Billy Joe

Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare

[FROM 1977]

Across the Great Divide

The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training *

Buck Rogers (This was a re-release of the 1950s serial converted into a full-length feature. It was promoted as “Star Wars Owes it all to Buck Rogers.”)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Damnation Alley *

End of the World

For the Love of Benji

Freaky Friday

The Gauntlet (the 1st Cinemascope movie ever shown in the 1863)

The Goodbye Girl

Grand Theft Auto *


High Anxiety

High Velocity

In Search of Noah’s Ark

Pete’s Dragon

Saturday Night Fever

Slap Shot *

Smokey and the Bandit

Star Wars

Which Way is Up?

You Light Up My Life

[FROM 1978]

The Amazing Captain Nemo *

American Hot Wax

The Bad News Bears Go To Japan

Beyond and Back

Born Again

The Buddy Holly Story

Casey’s Shadow

The Cat From Outer Space



Damien: Omen II


Every Which Way But Loose


Foul Play

Goin' South *


Harper Valley PTA


Hot Lead and Cold Feat

Ice Castles

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

It Lives Again

Jaws 2



Movie Movie *

Oliver’s Story *

The Other Side of the Mountain Part 2


Return From Witch Mountain

Revenge of the Pink Panther

Sasquatch, the Legend of Bigfoot

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band


Thank God It’s Friday

They Went That-A-Way and That-A-Way

Warlords of Atlantis

[FROM 1979]

Note: Most of the movies from 1979 are unconfirmed because, after the theater closed, my father and I went to the 7th Heaven theater which was owned by friends of his. I probably saw some of these at the 7th Heaven in Cheylan, WV.


The Black Stallion *

Breaking Away *

Escape from Alcatraz *

Fast Break *

A Little Romance (The last movie shown in the 1863 Cinema)

Mountain Family Robinson *

Norma Rae

North Dallas Forty *

On the Air Live with Captain Midnight *


High Ballin'

Seven Blows of the Dragon

Horror of Dracula

Curse of Frankenstein

Superman: The Movie

The End

Raggedy Ann and Andy Movie

International Velvet

Death on the Nile * (may have been Murder on the Orient Express)

Who’s Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?

The Shaggy D.A.

The Wiz

Young Frankenstein

Jason and the Argonauts

Simon, King of the Witches

Born Free

Digby, The Biggest Dog in the World

American Graffiti

Take This Job and Shove It


Captain Marvel


Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 11, 2014 at 7:29 am

kpkilburn2: I have now added a page for Cinema 63, Ansted, WV.

kpkilburn2 on March 11, 2014 at 7:28 am

On my blog, you can see a video tour of the 1863 Cinema as it was in 2000 operating as an auction house. The wallpaper was still intact and the writing in the projection booth was still legible.


kpkilburn2 on March 11, 2014 at 6:57 am

I was looking for a theater in Anstead, WV called the Ritz, later reopened and renamed Cinema 63 by my father. I don’t see it on the site, but maybe I’m just missing it?

kpkilburn2 on March 11, 2014 at 6:54 am

Yes, “1863” was to commemorate WV and was also used for a restaurant my father owned before he opened the theater. He kept the name “1863” for the theater when he reopened it in 1977.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Clickable version of kpkilburn2’s link. Zooming in on the Google street view you can see the address, 36 Michigan Avenue, on the door of the building.

The building looks as though it could have been built in 1863, so I’m wondering if that’s how the theater got its name? Or was it named to commemorate West Virgina’s admission to the Union as a state in 1863?

Jay Harvey
Jay Harvey on March 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

I checked out the picture and I could barely make out part of “Fountain”, cool!

kpkilburn2 on March 10, 2014 at 9:02 am

Here’s the short URL of the same link above:


If you look at the upper left of the building, “Fountain” is engraved above the air conditioners. It’s not legible in the picture though (and perhaps not in real life either).

kpkilburn2 on March 10, 2014 at 8:52 am

The actual location is here:


The building still exists as an indoor archery range.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Boxoffice has uploaded its archive to issuu.com. The 1978 mention of the 1863 Cinema is brief, and is the only one I’ve found in the magazine. It is simply listed among a number of theaters for which Mid America Theatre Service was doing booking and buying.

The scan is here. The mention is in the “Cincinnati” column.

KPKilburn on November 8, 2009 at 10:00 am

Wow, do you still happen to have that issue of Boxoffice (or a scan)? I’d love to see it.

Unfortunately, there are very few pictures we took while operating the theater. I was able to visit it in 2000 and would you believe that all of the graffiti we wrote on the projection booth walls was still there? Every movie shown, we wrote on the walls.

I have hardcopy pics in storage and will scan them someday.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 8, 2009 at 12:32 am

I think I had a comment on this page, too, and it’s gone. It looks as though the comments on the page all got lost in some sort of digital disaster. Blasted computers.


The January 2, 1978, issue of Boxoffice mentions the 1863 Cinema at Smithers, West Virginia, operated by James Kilburn.

It appears that Bill and Al Thalhimer’s Logan Theatres operated the Fountain Theatre for a while in the late 1940s-early 1950s, according to a couple of mentions in Boxoffice. I’ve been unable to find any connection between Logan Theatres and the Fountain in later issues of Boxoffice.

In fact I’ve not found the Fountain mentioned in Boxoffice later than 1955, but it’s mentioned in the May 19, 1931, issue of Exhibitor’s Forum as one of several houses that had recently installed Photophone (or Phototone) sound equipment.

KPKilburn on November 7, 2009 at 10:11 am

Why was my previous comments deleted?

The Fountain Theater was open in the late 70s (not early 70s as stated) and was run by my father. It was renamed The 1863 Cinema. It held 200 seats and closed in 1979.

First movie: Walking Tall – Final Chapter

Last move: A Little Romance