Kallet Shoppingtown Theatre
Erie Boulevard East,
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This, the original Kallet Shoppingtown Theatre, was built in 1957 behind a shopping center in DeWitt, NY (a suburb of Syracuse). Shoppingtown was the first theatre in central New York state built specifically for the Todd-AO 70mm process. When the theatre opened, Boxoffice magazine reported that Shoppingtown was the only Todd-AO equipped theatre between New York and Buffalo.
Opening on March 20, 1957 with an encore run of “Oklahoma!”, (it had played initially in downtown Syracuse), the Kallet Shoppingtown had a flexible screen that could be shaped to the 128 degree curve of early Todd-AO films. The Shoppingtown became the premiere showcase for bigscreen epic roadshows, including “Around the World in 80 Days”, “South Pacific”, “King of Kings”, “The Ten Commandments”, “Ben Hur” (in full 2.55 AR), “The Sand Pebbles”, and “The Battle of Britain”. Walt Disney’s “Mary Poppins” had a very long run before being replaced by “The Sound of Music” for over a year.
A decade later, the Shoppingtown complex was enlarged by building a huge department store in the rear, taking up the theatre’s parking area and sealing it off from the outside. One of the last pictures to play the Kallet Shoppingtown was the 70mm Todd-AO roadshow of “Doctor Doolittle”, from winter 1967 to spring 1968.
The first Shoppingtown theatre had a proud but short (eleven years) life before being replaced in 1968 by the first twin theatre built in upstate New York, the Kallet Shoppingtown I & II.
The Todd-AO 70mm projectors were moved from the original Shoppingtown into theatre II at the new location. After the original theatre was blocked off by the new department store, it sat vacant for a while, was later used for offices, and eventually demolished for extra stores.
Note: the owner’s name is pronounced exactly as it looks (Kal-let, not Kal-lay) A photo tour of the original Kallet Shoppingtown and the subsequent twin theatre can be found at the link below.
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