Loews Salem Avenue Cinemas

4100 Salem Avenue,
Trotwood, OH 45424

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Loews -  Kon Tiki Theatre

The Kon-Tiki Theatre was built in 1968 by the Samuel Levin family. It had a South Pacific decor which included giant conch shells for restroom sinks, illuminated Tiki faces on the facade, volcanic rock and abalone shells built into the walls. I believe it even had real Tiki torches on the sign in front of the theatre.

The theatre was operated by the Levin family until it became the Loews Salem Avenue Cinemas in the late-1980’s. The theatre closed for good in 1999 and sat vacant until January 4, 2005. The Levin family donated the theatre to the city of Trotwood, which in turn demolished it to make way for future developement.

If anyone has any further info and or corrections, please share them.

Contributed by Jon Flynn

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

ZookieFreddie on February 23, 2009 at 5:54 am

Something I want to add to my former comments: The Levins lived in a large house set back away from the street out on W. Third Street in an area called Drexel and immediately to the east of the Sherwood Twin Drive-in Theater, an adjoining property. They also owned the Dayton West further on out. It’s concession stand burned down during the winter of 1963-64 and it remained closed.

markp on February 23, 2009 at 1:35 pm

With regards to the very first post at the top of this page, there was a film made about that raft expedition. I remember the theatre my late father was projectionist at ran it in 1974 I believe. If memory serves me, I think it was called “The RA Expedition.” I have tried to find this on video for years, but there seems to be no record of this film. It was very interesting how they trekked across on just a small raft.

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson on May 18, 2009 at 12:44 am

I just got back from the Dayton Amateur Radio Convention. This is what I saw. The lot is completely removed like sod would be down to the soil under the topsoil. There is something new being built on the sight. It kinda looks like a small one-story health care facility (didn’t see a sign out front).

KingBiscuits on May 23, 2009 at 10:51 am

I’ve read that this the theatre didn’t have the best of clientele or upkeep. Does anyone have any stories about those two things?

TLSLOEWS on February 19, 2010 at 12:01 am

No photos of when it was a LOEWS?

cinefyl on October 27, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Hi all, not sure if anyone is still reading these comments. I actually worked there in the 1980’s/early 1990’s. I have a lot of fond memories…changing the marquee in the winter with ice on the platform, helping out the projectionist before the managers started doing it, etc. Wow, lots of memories.

I was originally hired summer 1987 (like late June/Early July). I was an usher/concession person and right before the theatre opened as Salem Ave. Cinemas, we basically did EVERYTHING, including cleaning up trash and broken glass in the back parking lot, painting, etc.

I was there when they had the Grand Opening as Salem Ave. Cinemas and worked there when many many many movies were shown.

I worked there for a few years, then worked some other jobs for awhile and came back on staff in 1992. Terminator 2: Judgement Day was a big opening. I also remember getting sent over to Salem Ave. Cinemas to work there when they needed backup staff.

I was sorry to see the Kon-Tiki falling into ruin. Working there was tough because it was like the Wild West (people smoking weed in the auditorium, bringing in full meals, liquor, beer, two liters of pop, etc.) LOL-I once had popcorn thrown at me for telling someone to be quiet.

Still, good memories.

cinefyl on October 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm

In response to KingBiscuits, yes, when I worked there a lot of rough crowds would come in. When it reopened as Salem Ave. Cinemas it was not too bad right off, but as the summer wore on and fall approached, people got crazier and crazier. There were several fights, and I even recall one of the managers getting robbed at gunpoint and tied up in the office. After that security procedures changed a lot.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 23, 2012 at 1:40 am

The entry for Columbus architect Leon Seligson in the 1970 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists the Kon-Tiki Theatre among his works for 1968. Seligson also designed the Cinema East in Whitehall, Ohio.

kphipps3000 on December 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm

cinefyl: You worked there at the same time I did. If you’re still reading, drop me a line. I’m kphipps3000 on Twitter. (Not too hard to figure out if you know me or not from that handle.)

MovieMad52 on June 8, 2014 at 4:19 am

In 4o years of theatre career,this was one of the most beautiful theatres ever built with its Polynesian decor that I have seen in the 45 years that I worked in the industry. A shame what Loews did to it. It is a shame that Levins got its hands on it.

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