Crown Cine

3 Eagle Road,
Danbury, CT 06810

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Showing 24 comments

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on December 2, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I think the sign referred to in some of the above comments can be seen on this theater’s page at CinemaTour.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm

The signs still stands as of December 2012.

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on April 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I just posted a pic on this page from the Danbury News-Times microfilm as it was being built.

DavidWallick
DavidWallick on November 4, 2009 at 6:44 am

Amazing — the theater has now been closed for just over ten years (in was flooded by Hurricane Floyd in September 1999 and never reopened), was demolished and replaced by a chain hotel, but the sign at the edge of the road is still there in 2009!

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on September 26, 2007 at 7:27 pm

The News-Times did a story about the sign in 2005. It’s confusing because nobody (including the city) knows who the sign belongs to. There’s a crack/loophole that it fell into and now it’s just going to be up for a while.

cheshir
cheshir on September 26, 2007 at 4:30 pm

My dad is the owner of All Star Welding and Demolition. I remember when he tore down the theater. I was in third or fourth grade when it happened and i recall sitting in my dad’s lap and him letting me help to knock down part of it and then my brothers also got turns. I don’t remember going there very often when it was open.

I really hope they leave the sign up. It’s almost like a historical landmark. So what if the theater isn’t there anymore? The sign is in such bad shape that anyone who actually thought there was still a theater that went with it would probably figure that the theater was in bad condition also and not bother looking for it.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on June 20, 2007 at 12:07 pm

This excerpt was from the June 10 issue of the News-Times “Do You Remember?” feature.

25 Years Ago (June 5, 1982)

Over the weekend 6.3 inches of rain fell in Danbury, which resulted in flooded roads and parking lots throughout the area. About 280 people were evacuated from the Trans-Lux Cine theater on Eagle Road in Danbury by Fire Department officials after a portion of the rain-soaked tile ceiling fell on a young boy during a showing of “Star Trek II.”

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 14, 2005 at 12:00 pm

Hey, they quoted me, cool!

Ever been driving down a street and see a sign for a business then spend like ten minutes searching for the business only to find it’s no longer there? I wonder if this happens to anyone with this theatre.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on December 14, 2005 at 9:56 am

Here’s the text of the article since it will disappear soon.

2005-12-12
Crown Cine theater is gone, but why the sign stands is a mystery
By Eugene Driscoll
THE NEWS-TIMES

The News-Times/Wendy Carlson
The Crown Cine sign still stands near Newtown Road in Danbury, although the theater has long since been torn down.

DANBURY â€" The letters look like something plucked out of 1970. It stands heads and shoulders above its neighbors.
Heck, it even has a fan or two on the Internet.

It is the Crown Cine sign on Newtown Road, which used to advertise what was playing at the Crown Cine Theatre on nearby Eagle Road.

The sign is still there even though the movie theater it advertised was reduced to rubble in the late 1990s and rebuilt as a Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

Then, a First Union bank was built at the front of the property at the intersection of Eagle and Newtown roads. A bank sign, roughly half the size of the 20-foot Crown Cine sign, was erected announcing First Union was around.

Still, the Crown Cine sign remained.

Then, in July 2003, Wachovia Bank took over the First Union building â€" the company slapped its name on the bank’s sign.

Yet the Crown Cine sign remained.

What gives?

Theories are all over the place. Perhaps its owner is an eccentric type who loves movies. Perhaps it has been there so long no one notices anymore.

The sign, now looking oddly out of place along heavily developed Newtown Road, even receives a few mentions on CinemaTreasures.org and CinemaTour.com, Web sites devoted to movie theaters, living and dead.

Roger Katz, of Thomaston, often posts on the site. Documenting movie theaters, especially the old movie palaces, is a passion for Katz. He photographed the Crown Cine sign in 2002 and posted it on the Web site. He was surprised to hear it is still standing.

When move theaters are torn down, often nothing is left. That makes the Crown Cine sign unique, at least for cinema enthusiasts.

“Usually the sign is the first thing to go. They usually tear that down before the building,” Katz said.

Katz was left scratching his head as to why the sign is still there.

“You’ve got me,” he said.

According to the movie theater Web site, in addition to the three-screen Crown Cine on Eagle Road, there was a drive-in theater on Federal Road that fit nearly 500 cars. There was the Capitol Theatre on Elm Street, the majestic Palace Theater on Main Street, plus the Cinema Twin on Padanaram Road. Every theater has been closed or demolished.

The arrival of the Sony Loews multiplex off Federal Road was the last nail in the coffin for many of the city’s small theaters, according to people who post on the Web site.

The Crown Cine sign is a bit of an anomaly, according to City Hall workers. Because there are several properties on Eagle and Newtown roads that nearly overlap each other, it wasn’t easy to quickly determine who owns the sign.

Plus, the darn thing has been there for so long it has become invisible along the Newtown Road landscape. People just tend not to notice it anymore, officials said.

Sean Hearty, director of the city’s permit center, said no one has ever asked about the sign, save for a would-be restaurateur who related a story about trying to advertise on it.

“He said the guy wanted too much money,” Hearty said.

Based on that conversation, Hearty guessed the sign still stands because it is probably the best placed sign on Newtown Road, which has become a hot commercial corridor.

“It’s the biggest sign out there and you can’t beat the location,” Hearty said.

Turns out Hearty is on the money.

The man behind the sign is Mel Powers, a developer who owns dozens of commercial properties throughout the city.

Powers' roots in the city â€" and the sign â€" run deep.

In addition to the sign itself, Powers owns empty property next to the sign. That land eventually will be developed into commercial space as well. However, Powers didn’t want to go into too much detail about future plans for the sign and the site because nothing has been finalized.

“We’re going to use it for other things. It can be converted for other places that are going in,” Powers said. “It’s grandfathered because it has been there forever.”

Powers said the sign’s history dates back to 1968, when the movie theater opened.

The theater operated independently for about 15 years, Powers said, before it was sold to the Crown Cine movie chain, which eventually pulled out of the Danbury area.

“I think they were forced out by the Sony theater. They really ran a number on them,” Powers said.

Taking it down and putting up another sign could open a can of worms with city reviewing agencies. Technically, the sign is already out of whack with city sign regulations, said Wayne Skelly, the city’s zoning enforcement officer.

“It shouldn’t be there anymore because Crown theater isn’t there anymore,” Skelly said. “The sign may be able to be there, but it shouldn’t be advertising a use that isn’t there.”

However, Skelly said he was merely speaking from memory and the sign may have an extensive paperwork trail in City Hall.

“There would have to be some research involved here, but I think the sign was involved in some variances years ago,” Skelly said. “We would have to dig them all out and check.”

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on December 14, 2005 at 9:56 am

This theatre was opened in 1968.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on December 14, 2005 at 9:52 am

I had something to do with that, for the record. My friend at that paper wanted to write about that sign and then looked on CT for the first time, saw my name and called me up. I told him Roger would be better.

mmelody
mmelody on December 12, 2005 at 7:46 am

I have a lot of great memories of this theatre. It started as a single screen, then a double screen and finally a triple screen theatre. During the 80’s showed the midnight movies, I saw Rocky Horror and The Warriors during the midnight shows.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on December 12, 2005 at 4:52 am

Hey, this is timely! Story in today’s Danbury News-Times all about the Crown Cine sign, quoting Roger Katz and making prominent mention of Cinema Treasures!
http://news.newstimeslive.com/story.php?id=77567

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on December 12, 2005 at 1:54 am

That’s really interesting. Is it my imagination, or does there seem to be a real lack of competitive spirit in the theater biz? I mean, in most other businesses, I don’t think the initial reaction when a competitor comes to town is, “Okay, let’s give up!”

mattcj1122
mattcj1122 on December 12, 2005 at 1:28 am

I believe I can comment on this, seeing as I used to work there. The main reason I remember that the Cine closed down was they just couldn’t compete with the Loews multiplex that opened down the street. There was gossip going around about expanding the Cine to become a multiplex itself to try and compete… but with the building of the Crown Marquis (sp) in Trumbull, I think the powers that be just decided to concede Danbury to Loews/Sony… thus the closing of the Crown Cine, Crown Palace, and Crown Cinemas.

Jeffrey1955
Jeffrey1955 on November 28, 2005 at 6:00 pm

What exactly happened to this theater remains a mystery to me. I recall that it was still in operation when there was a major storm in 1999 and the theater suffered flood damage. But other businesses that were damaged by the flood reopened; the Cine just never reopened, so I think they decided not to put the money into repairing it and trying to compete with the Loew’s multiplex. The fact that the freestanding theater sign is still standing there — and was illuminated for years after the theater closed — is just bizarre!

peterdamian
peterdamian on September 20, 2005 at 3:47 am

I remember this theater as the Brandt Cine, off of Exit 8 in Danbury. It had a large single screen, and a very spacious auditorium. Better movie fare opened there. In 1975, I remember seeing John Schlesinger’s “The Day of the Locust” in May, and then, in June, “Jaws” opened there and everyone went to see it. The large auditorium was packed solid with customers.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on February 3, 2005 at 6:29 pm

From the 1992-1993 City of Danbury Directory, it’s listed as the Crown Cine, obviously being bought by the Crown chain.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on February 1, 2005 at 5:51 pm

In the 1980 Directory, it’s listed as Trans-Lux Cinema at 1 and 2 Eagle Road.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on February 1, 2005 at 5:30 pm

First listed in the 1970 Danbury City Directory as Brandt Cinema, Eagle Road.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on January 11, 2005 at 12:20 pm

A pic of the theatre sign is available at this website. View link

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on January 4, 2005 at 1:15 am

the last movie i saw here was saving private ryan in 1997? the movie sign is still there and yes there is a hotel on its site. i remember it showing 2 films and it closed in 1999. it was spacious and comfortable.

RobertR
RobertR on October 23, 2004 at 7:37 pm

Was this once known as Trans-Lux Plaza?

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on June 25, 2004 at 4:08 am

This theatre was also known as the Brandt Cine. It did close in 1999. The sign was still standing as of the last time I was there in 2002. I believe a hotel was built on the former theatre site.