Kallet Shoppingtown Theatre

Erie Boulevard East,
Dewitt, NY 13214

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Kallet Shoppingtown Theatre

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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 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.

Contributed by TJ Edwards

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

RJT70mm
RJT70mm on November 3, 2007 at 6:48 pm

The Syosset theatre on Long Island was built specifically for Todd A O and opened about 3 months earlier. There may have been others. That said, Shoppingtown was my favorite theatre when I was a kid. I saw many of the 70mm roadshows there and spent a lot of time in the booth bugging the projectionists.

exit
exit on November 4, 2007 at 3:23 am

Bob, how old were you during SOUND OF MUSIC? Got any pictures of this or other theatres in the area?

exit
exit on November 4, 2007 at 3:25 am

Note that the twin that replaced this theatre is listed undr Shoppingtown 1-2-3-4.

RJT70mm
RJT70mm on November 4, 2007 at 6:11 pm

I was 17 when SOM opened. I saw it twice in 70mm at Shoppingtown.

exit
exit on November 5, 2007 at 8:11 pm

Too bad thet tiny picture can’t be enlarged for more detail…

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 24, 2010 at 11:38 am

An article, with several photos, appeared in Boxoffice magazine, May 4, 1957:
View link
(See following pages as well.)

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Renewal of expired link to 1957 trade article cited above by Gerald A. DeLuca: boxoffice

rivest266
rivest266 on September 4, 2013 at 9:59 pm

March 20th, 1957 grand opening ad uploaded here.

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