U.S. Army Cinema Corregidor

Corregidor,
Calabarzo

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The island bastion of Corregidor in the Philippines protected the mouth of Manila Bay, Manila is 27 miles further in. It is located two miles from Bataan. Corregidor is called the Gibraltar of the East.

This full-sized theater located Topside was built of concrete sometime before World War II and had a ticket booth out front, a lobby, balcony and stage. The islands three mile long trolley went right by the cinema. It was only 15 cents to go to the movies. Shows were daily at 6pm and 8pm. ‘Sing-alongs’ were held before the 6pm show. The chaplains had the duty of leading the ‘sing-alongs’. Officers and their families sat in rattan chairs and wore evening clothes (officers wore their summer whites and women wore long dresses) to the 8pm showing.

Maps show another cine marked private located Bottomside next to Building 65. I think another theater was also located Middleside.

As relations with Japan became strained all dependents were sent back to the States. On 29 December 1941 the Japanese started the aerial bombardment of the island. The Japanese landed and the Battle of Corregidor took place 5-6 May 1942. It was 14,728 U.S & Filipino troops against 75,000 Japanese. Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright had no choice but to surrender on 6 May. The defenders had 800 dead, 1,000 wounded, the Japanese 900 dead 1,200 wounded. The last movie that had played at the theater had been “Gone With the Wind”.

The U.S. and Filipino army recaptured the island in 1945. The bombed out theater was and still is more or less standing. It is now part of the Pacific War Memorial. Damaged more by recent typhoons the Philippine Government in 2012 spent P25 million for structural retrofitting ‘shoring up’ and reinforcement so it does not crumble anymore. Steel painted blue was used to reinforce the building.

Contributed by Chief Bob Jensen
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