Century 21

1370 S. Colorado Boulevard,
Denver, CO 80222

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mindifp
mindifp on January 21, 2014 at 7:13 pm

I also worked at this theater summers from 1985-1990, eventually becoming an assistant manager. What an exceptional theater! I worked for Russ Page for quite a few of those years, does anyone remember him? I heard of Mr. Vincent frequently from District Office personnel who would frequently stop in because we were to close to their offices. This was one of the best jobs I ever had because of the great movies (“Top Gun” was showing when I started), great staff, and really great skills I developed while working my way from concessions into management. I remember when it closed and I sadly visited the Soundtrack a few times just so I could feel the aura of a place that meant so much to me.

Interestingly, I worked at Heritage High School a few years ago and it must have been built by the same folks that designed Century 21; it had the same “stripes” on the outside of the building.

Mindi

Lula
Lula on November 8, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Hey! I worked as a (concession) cashier and then an usher under the management of Richard Vincent back in the late 70’s. The Boys From Brazil was playing when I started and I was there for the duration of Superman. If I remember correctly – Close Encounters was playing at The Cooper and Invasion of the Bodysnatchers was playing at The Continental around then. It was either Close Encounters or Star Wars. The Cooper got them both at any rate. Actually I think it was Star Wars because the ticket price was $3.50 for Star Wars and when we premiered Superman it was a huge deal that ticket prices had gone up to $4.00 (it was practically a scandal to charge that much). Mile High Comics had a display set up in our lobby with something like the first 4-5 issues of Superman comic books. We had to have an armored guard in the theater because the comics were so valuable (and we had so much money in the joint). That’s back when you actually had lines wrapped around the building waiting to get in. I remember we got to have a private screening of Battlestar Galactica. They were test screening it so it was employees only. Pretty cool. Also the seats on the left side of the theater had built in ashtrays in the armrest. Something you can’t imagine now. Century 21 was such a cool theater. People now have no concept of what it was like to see a movie in a theater like that or The Cooper or The Continental. The last time I was in Denver I hardly recognized Colorado Blvd. So sad that so many cool theaters are gone.

Chazzmania
Chazzmania on July 15, 2013 at 10:17 am

I worked up the street at the Cooper in the early 1980’s and remember Rich Vincent as the manager of the Century 21. I would love to reconnect with Rich and his friend Jim Townley, the manager of the Cooper/Cameo who was also my boss.

I worked at the Cooper during Blade Runner, World According to Garp, Pink Floyd the Wall and other memorable films of the early 80’s.

jmg24601
jmg24601 on July 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I remember seeing Raiders there opening day and later on my second ever date. I thought Close Encounters was at the Cooper and Gandhi would have been the last movie with an intermission. (maybe the movie had one and they did not use it) Is there any truth to the rumor that when The Jerk was tested there, Steve Martin was there?

MontyM
MontyM on March 26, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Silent Movie and Close Encounters of The Third Kind played at the Cooper Theater four blocks north.

bbfarmer
bbfarmer on February 5, 2013 at 10:14 am

Saw many films there. The ones that come to mind are “Close Encounters”, “Marathon Man”, and “Silent Movie”.

orange
orange on November 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Funny, isn’t it so funny. I was one of the first kids to walk through that movie theater when it opened in 1967. My uncle, Royale Milo, who designed the lighting and drapery of that theater gave me a private tour. Richard Crowther the architect of the building worked with my uncle on this beautiful creation. The lobby featured large round rings of jeweled lights giving a prismatic effect. As a kid of about 9 I was REALLY impressed and as an adult years later, so saddened to learn of the theater’s destruction.

ptesone
ptesone on September 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark in ‘81 in 70mm, one of the best movie experiences in my life, the sound was amazing and loud, I was 14 back then. Now I’m watching the re-release 31 years later in an IMAX theater in Spokane WA. We’ll see how it fares…

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 25, 2012 at 6:10 am

Ironically, this never survived as a cinema into the 21st century. Described in this 1967 trade article: Boxoffice

Rich Vincent
Rich Vincent on May 26, 2012 at 1:42 am

I spent a large percentage of my career working at the Century 21, including helping set up the theatre before it opened and returning years later to manage it.

It was originally built as a roadshow theatre with 70 mm capability and was a remarkable theatre in many ways. Not the least of which was its design. There were no 90 degree right angles or parallel walls in the entire building. Not only did this contribute to a modernistic design, it had practical applications for the auditorium by controlling sound bounce between walls. It was also the first theatre in the region to offer Dolby Stereo, which was installed for Streisand’s “A Star Is Born”.

I do not recall Snow White as being the first film, although it did play there during its first year of operation along with “Quiller Memorandum”, “Gambit” and “Casino Royale”. The very, very first film to play there was “A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To The Forum”, which ran for one night as a special invitational preview for the theatre before it opened to the public. As I recall the first roadshow film to run in the theatre was Disney’s “Happiest Millionaire”.

The Cooper Theatre was located only 4 blocks north of the Century 21. This created problems when they both offered reserved seats on roadshows because customers would purchase tickets for one theatre in advance and then attend the other by mistake, probably confused by the “C” in the names. Periodically they would even get past the doorman (sorry, that’s what they were called in those days), and the usher would realize the error when they couldn’t locate the seat numbers!

It’s heyday came years later when the capability to run “black track soundtracks” was installed. This meant the theatre could run rough cuts of films before the soundtrack was added to the print, allowing it to run advance previews of films. A number of studios used it to show test screenings which would be attended by the stars, producers, directors and studio execs. Dino De Laurentiis tested both “Hurricane” and “King Kong” at the Century 21 and said it was his favorite theatre for previews.

Dantonoff: I think I met your grandfather once at the theatre. I may even have some photos that I can share for your archives if there is a way to contact you.

imadjdiva
imadjdiva on May 13, 2012 at 8:41 am

I got my very first job 2 weeks after turning 16 at the Century 21. It was the end of the run of The Shining in the fall of 1980. I loved working there. They would do something grand for certain movies. The regular uniforms were terrible…. thick polyester sailor minidresses for the girls in royal blue with mustard piping. But, when they could, they got us great costumes to wear instead. For Private Benjamin, we all got olive drab army fatigues to wear the entire run. I was heartbroken to learn this theater had gone the way of all the big screens outside of places like Hollywood and London, and that it was first closed, then slated for demolition. I don’t even go to the movies anymore. I cannot stand these tiny TV sized screens. I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t ever experienced a good movie on a big screen. You cannot come close to the experience in the theaters of today. RIP Century 21.

JoelWeide
JoelWeide on November 20, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Any pictures you can take of the Century 21 even while it is being demolished, both inside and out help document the building for future generations. Please feel free to post them on this site. Likewise any pictures you may have in your families archives of the building under construction or in operation are welcomed as well. Thanks..

dantonoff
dantonoff on November 20, 2011 at 10:07 am

I just found out that the first movie shown at the Century 21 was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The last movie with an intermission was Reds in about 1981. I look forward to hearing from all of you. Thanks.

dantonoff
dantonoff on November 20, 2011 at 10:04 am

Hi movie theater buffs – my grandfather built the Century 21 Theater in the 1960’s, and the property is still in our family. We are planning a new shopping center on the site, and will be demolishing the theater building. I would love to hear from all of you about movies that were shown at the Century 21 or other interesting facts for our archives. Thanks!

dantonoff
dantonoff on November 20, 2011 at 10:04 am

Hi movie theater buffs – my grandfather built the Century 21 Theater in the 1960’s, and the property is still in our family. We are planning a new shopping center on the site, and will be demolishing the theater building. I would love to hear from all of you about movies that were shown at the Century 21 or other interesting facts for our archives. Thanks!

rivest266
rivest266 on August 19, 2011 at 5:26 am

Closed 1993 SOUNDTRACK STORE TO REPLACE CENTURY 21 CINEMA LARGE-SCREEN MOVIE HOUSE TO CLOSE NEXT WEEK, SUFFERING SAME FATE AS UNITED ARTISTS The landmark Century 21 theater will close next week to make way for a SoundTrack store, officials said Thursday.It joins the United Artists Twin Theatre as a large-screen theater along South Colorado Boulevard that will be replaced by a retailer.A Barnes & Noble bookstore will replace the United Artists theater, 1370 S. Colorado Blvd., only blocks from the Century 21, 960 S. Colorado Blvd.Both of the theaters were built in the early 1960s and catered to an…

CapnRob
CapnRob on May 7, 2010 at 11:18 pm

BTW – Here’s a better couple of pictures of yje building…
http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/30035.html

CapnRob
CapnRob on May 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm

As of spring 2010, the electronics store moved out and the building is for sale/lease.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 4, 2009 at 2:23 pm

There is a small photo on the store website:
http://tinyurl.com/lkm74h

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 3, 2009 at 11:31 pm

The May 23, 1966, issue of Boxoffice attributes the design of the Century 21, on which construction had recently begun, to Denver architect Richard L. Crowther (though they misspell his name as Crowder.) A small rendering of the theater by the architect accompanied the article.

JoelWeide
JoelWeide on December 25, 2007 at 9:55 am

The Century 21 was originally built by National General Theatres and then became a Mann Theatre when Ted Mann purchased the National General circuit.

DenverMovieFan
DenverMovieFan on March 31, 2005 at 12:23 pm

Century 21 had 1065 seats.