Cooper Theatre

960 S. Colorado Boulevard,
Denver, CO 80246

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Cooper Theatre

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The Cooper Theatre was the first of three Cinerama theaters built by the Cooper Foundation in the early-1960’s. Known as the Golden Triangle, the three theaters were located in Denver, Omaha, and Minneapolis. Complete with massive screens and the latest sound technology, all three were designed to exhibit films made in the 3-strip Cinerama process.

Renamed as the Cooper/Cameo by the 1970’s, the theater later became part of the Commonwealth Theatres circuit, who franchised the Cooper name. They also built the Cooper 5, Cooper 6, Cooper 7, and Cooper Twin (none of which were Cinerama theaters), which were constructed to mimick the round, elevated roofs of the existing Cooper theaters.

Visitors came from all over to see the Cooper Theatre and its wonderous screen. But after several years of delighting audiences and packing full houses, the Cooper Theatre began to draw fewer crowds.

After Commonwealth Theatres, the Cooper Theatre was run by United Artists, who continued to operate the theater until it was sold. Like Cinerama itself, the Cooper Theatre in Denver did not last forever. After years of changing hands, the massive theater was finally sold to Barnes & Noble, who razed it in 1994 to build a new store.

Recent comments (view all 83 comments)

Cliffs
Cliffs on April 7, 2013 at 1:15 am

That’s probably very true Michael. I think most balconies are closed during slow periods/showtimes. It keeps the theater staff from having to clean the theater between shows on 2 different levels when attendance is low and staffing light.

It’s amazing to me that we spent the last 25 or so years destroying all of these majestic, giant screen palaces only to now see all of the chains trying to rebuild and rebrand new giant screens (RPX, EXT, XD) to get audiences back. Did we tear down all these amazing houses only to see them rebuilt, but not quite as well?

MissaLick
MissaLick on April 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Awesome theater! I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey here in 1968 as a reserved-seat roadshow presentation with my grandparents, parents and kid sister. Waited in line to to see Star Wars (just “Star Wars” – no “A New Hope”), Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Alien all first show opening day. Hid in the bathroom so I could slip back in to see Star Wars a second consecutive time that first day and returned to see it many more times in 1977. Damn shame they demolished this one.

dcarty
dcarty on May 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

Another amazing theater lost to time and commerce.

I saw The Empire Strikes back there in 1980 (my Uncle took my brother and me). The last movie I saw there was the 25th Anniversary re-issue of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

jmg24601
jmg24601 on July 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm

To comment further on MichealAD Bad-I saw Hudson Hawk there. Good-I saw Star Wars, Empire, Jedi, Close Encounters, Roger Rabbit, and the Flamingo Kid next door at the Cameo, so I guess that makes up for Hawk

Chazzmania
Chazzmania on July 15, 2013 at 10:22 am

I worked at The Cooper/Cameo in the early 80’s. It was a magical place for a young guy from Nebraska. I was there for Blade Runner, The World According to Garp, Pink Floyd The Wall, Airplane the Sequel just to name a few. I would love to reconnect with Jim Townley the Cooper’s manager or any staff from that time.

I have a very warm place in my heart for that theater and am saddened every time I drive by the Barnes & Noble that replaced it on Colorado Blvd.

kornpopper76
kornpopper76 on August 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm

My first movie at the Cooper Cinerama was in 1965, “Its a Mad Mad World”. I was with my high school senior class on the senior class trip from the San Luis Valley to the big city.

The last movie I saw there was “Gettysburg” on Thanksgiving Day, 1993. Shortly after that, the theatre was closed and then demolished.

darrenparlett
darrenparlett on August 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm

These are stories i love reading about…peoples own cinema experiences (instead of petty corrections as I commonly see happen often on this site. Keep those stories coming…i want to know :–)

DShevlin
DShevlin on August 31, 2013 at 11:18 am

Chazzmania – I worked a the Cooper/Cameo beginning in 1984. If you are Dave L., then I remember you. I have very fond memories of working there. Even though the staff changed frequently, there was always a lot of laughter and fun. My husband and I met there, though I think that was after you left. Anyway, if you are interested, you can contact me on Facebook. – Deb

Lincolnman
Lincolnman on October 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm

My first experience at the Denver Cooper was to see “How the West Was Won”, really the last three strip commercial movie shown. At the time I was a 15 year old farm kid from Nebraska. To say I was impressed would be an under statement. I managed to see that movie twice at the Cooper and my memories are rich and wonderful. It is hard to believe that it and the other two Cooper’s were all destroyed and lost forever. The one in Omaha was purchased by the Methodist Hospital and although many organizations attempted to save it, it became a parking lot for the hospital. Sad as they were all magnificent theaters.

Denvercary
Denvercary on March 22, 2014 at 6:31 pm

I have three Cinerama projectors and a Cinerama sound reproducer like the ones that were installed at the three Cooper Cinerama Theaters during the three-strip Cinerama days. If anybody would like to see them, please contact me at . I would be happy to show them to you. Or, I’ll be happy to send photographs to you.

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