Loews Salem Avenue Cinemas

4100 Salem Avenue,
Trotwood, OH 45424

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kphipps3000
kphipps3000 on December 9, 2012 at 12:01 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.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm

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.

cinefyl
cinefyl on October 27, 2011 at 3:36 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.

cinefyl
cinefyl on October 27, 2011 at 3:32 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.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on February 18, 2010 at 6:01 pm

No photos of when it was a LOEWS?

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on May 23, 2009 at 4:51 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?

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson on May 17, 2009 at 6:44 pm

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).

markp
markp on February 23, 2009 at 7:35 am

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.

ZookieFreddie
ZookieFreddie on February 22, 2009 at 11:54 pm

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.

savetheqv
savetheqv on March 25, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Did ReelMovies ever finish the KonTiki website? I’d like to see it.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 4, 2007 at 11:02 am

This is a ¼/2005 brief article about the former Kon-Tiki Theater.

“Gawkers turn out to watch demolition of Trotwood, Ohio, theater.

Source: Dayton Daily News
Byline: Ryan Justin Fox

Jan. 4—TROTWOOD, Ohio — Nostalgic Trotwood residents and Montgomery County officials gathered Tuesday morning to witness the demolition of the old Kon-Tiki movie theater in Trotwood.

The South Pacific-inspired theater debuted in 1968 and was a staple for filmgoers in the area with its distinctive architecture and decor. The theater became a Lowes theater in the 1980s before it closed for good six years ago.

The city hopes to turn the property into a retail outlet or a medical facility as part of its continuing effort to revamp the Salem Avenue corridor.

“That’s what this city is about — creating sites for development. We’re trying to make this area attractive to developers,” Trotwood Mayor Donald McLaurin said".

southernlandthief
southernlandthief on November 29, 2006 at 5:52 pm

I took a date to see “Halloween”. It was sold out and I will never forget the experience. I believe this was the first theater in the Dayton area to incorporate stadium seating. The Levin’s were way ahead of everybody else when it came to theater.

ZookieFreddie
ZookieFreddie on July 11, 2006 at 8:45 pm

My ex-wife and I had our first date in this theater in March 1977 when it was still the Kon-Tiki and very, very popular at the time.

topo872
topo872 on December 1, 2005 at 1:13 pm

Thanks! I found this on a search for info on The Kon-Tiki, so I will follow your advice accordingly! Thanks Again
Andy

JimRankin
JimRankin on December 1, 2005 at 11:57 am

Andy, of the hundreds of thousands of people who worked at “grindhouse” cinemas, dozens of them must read this web site, and so your inquiry might best be posted as a “Theatre NEWS” item where they can ALL see it. Click on the link at the top of the first page. If such a notice seen by all here should not bring you the contacts you seek, then write or E-mail the Theatre Historical Soc. ( www.historictheatres.org )to have them refer your quest to their members in the Dayton area. Best Wishes, Jim R.

topo872
topo872 on November 30, 2005 at 5:47 pm

Hello All

I am writing a book about Grindhouse cinemas and drive-ins that flourishe dinthe 70’s and 80’s (pre-video of course). the Kon-Tiki is especially close to my heart as I worked there after it became Salem Avenue Cinemas. If anyone could provide me withinformation on people who managed, or worked at these sort of cinemas, especially in Dayton, Ohio it would be much appreciated.

thanks
Andy Copp

englewoodcinema
englewoodcinema on January 7, 2005 at 1:48 pm

TO CINEMA TREASURES.ORG
What is Loews Salem Avenue Theatre, they never used that name at the theatre or did USA and Levins used cinemas when it was a twinplex and later it was Kon-Tiki Cinemas 1-2-3.
Loews and USA Cinemas called it Salem Avenue Cinemas the only Dayton area theatre Loews used the word theatre in was Beaver Valley which was Loews Beaver Valley Theatres, USA and MidStates called it Beaver Valley Cinemas anyway Loews Salem Avenue Theatre is VERY WRONG.
Loews Salem Avenue Cinemas would be correct.

englewoodcinema
englewoodcinema on January 7, 2005 at 1:42 pm

ALSO THE CHAIN:UKNOWN should say Levin Theatre Co.
They owned over 2 dozen theatres in the 1950s,60s,70s and 80s today only theatre is Dixie TWIN Drive-In.

englewoodcinema
englewoodcinema on January 7, 2005 at 1:39 pm

Kon-Tiki was the brainchild of the late Sam Levin.Kon-Tiki means Sun God and Al Levin puts it best. To the Levins the Kon-Tiki closed on May 13th 1987 when they leased the theatre to USA Cinemas who named the complex Salem Avenue Cinemas. When it closed in February 1999 it could have been a turnkey theatre since Levin’s owned all the equipment.
The Kon-Tiki featured six projectors, two for each screen.
LOEWS owned nothing and took nothing. LOEWS was paying Levins $125,000 a year in rent so when it closed the Levins just put it up for sale asking $590,000 for the 28,000 sq ft theatre and the land. All hope was lost when the roof started to go and a few winters back the water pipes busted. The theatre also had been broken into a few times over the years that is why two of the screen was cut.

I have been inside the Kon-Tiki several times over the years since she closed and I saw her waste away. On Monday I was there to say my goodbye and Tuesday to see her come down, in the end she was full of mold and water. Kon-Tiki is now gone forever but

WE WILL NEVER FORGET THE SUN GOD- KON-TIKI.

KON-TIKI THEATRE
1968-2004

TIMELINE

August 1968 Opens with Odd Couple.

By mid 1970’s Kon-Tiki Twin was born.

Late 1970's
Midstates keeps adding screens to Salem Mall Cinemas from 1 to 2 to 4 and Chakeres Theatres twins Cinema North so another screen is put up at Kon-Tiki.

1983 Levins close nearby Salem Drive-In

1985 Levins find it harder to get good movies at Kon-Tiki.

May 13th 1987 USA who took over Midstates Salem Mall 4 and Beaver Valley 6 lease Kon-Tiki from Levins in a 15-year deal.

USA now has 7 screens in West Dayton Chakeres now has 5 at Cinema North.

1990’s LOEWS takes over USA Cinemas.

Salem Avenue Cinemas get flops and left over movies from Salem Mall Cinemas and even sometimes movies from the now National Amusements owned Cinema North.

1996 Salem Mall Cinema close in June.

1997 The first real hit to show at Kon-Tiki in almost 20 years Titanic opens national and at Salem Avenue Cinemas.

September 1998 National Amusements close Cinema North 5.
West of the river now has no first run cinemas but the Salem Avenue Cinemas. Salem Mall is now a $2.00 cinema.

December 1998 LOEWS wants out of Dayton market.

February 1999 LOEWS closes Salem Avenue Cinemas Kon-Tiki plays
The Faculty, Virus and Down in the Delta.

December 1999 LOEWS leaves Beaver valley and the Dayton market/

January 2000-2004
Water pipes bust at Kon-Tiki and vandals trash the theatre and cut screens.
Mold takes over theatre.

Levins donate Kon-Tiki to Trotwood

2005 Trotwood demolishes Kon-Tiki.

englewoodcinema
englewoodcinema on January 7, 2005 at 1:33 pm

KON-TIKI had 1,687 seats as a triplex about 1100 when a single.

englewoodcinema
englewoodcinema on January 7, 2005 at 1:32 pm

The final movies played by Levins at Kon-Tiki was as follows:

Friday May 8th – Thursday May 14th, 1987

Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (PG)
FRI @ 7:25, 9:10, 10:55 SAT @ 1:45 3:30 5:20 7:25 9:10 10:55
SUN @ 1:45 3:30 5:20 7:25 9:10 MON-THURS 7:25 9:10
………………………………………………………..
My Demon Lover (PG13)
FRI @ 7:30, 9:10, 10:50 SAT @ 1:30 3:10 4:50 7:30 9:10 10:50
SUN @ 1:30 3:10 4:50 7:30 9:10 MON-THURS 7:30 9:10
………………………………………………………..
Creep Show 2 ®
FRI @ 7:45, 9:30, 11:15 SAT @ 1:00 2:45 4:30 7:45 9:30 11:15
SUN @ @ 1:00 2:45 4:30 7:45 9:30 MON-THURS 7:45 9:30

The Kon-Tiki closed that Friday May 15th 1987 so USA Cinemas could do some “work on the theatre”. It was reopen weeks later as Salem Avenue Cinemas.

USA Cinemas did “work” to the theatre was was reopened weeks later as Salem Avenue Cinemas.

When it first open in August 1968 it said “Kon-Tiki-The Sun God”

englewoodcinema
englewoodcinema on January 7, 2005 at 1:32 pm

The final movies played by Levins at Kon-Tiki was as follows:

Friday May 8th – Thursday May 14th, 1987

Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (PG)
FRI @ 7:25, 9:10, 10:55 SAT @ 1:45 3:30 5:20 7:25 9:10 10:55
SUN @ 1:45 3:30 5:20 7:25 9:10 MON-THURS 7:25 9:10
………………………………………………………..
My Demon Lover (PG13)
FRI @ 7:30, 9:10, 10:50 SAT @ 1:30 3:10 4:50 7:30 9:10 10:50
SUN @ 1:30 3:10 4:50 7:30 9:10 MON-THURS 7:30 9:10
………………………………………………………..
Creep Show 2 ®
FRI @ 7:45, 9:30, 11:15 SAT @ 1:00 2:45 4:30 7:45 9:30 11:15
SUN @ @ 1:00 2:45 4:30 7:45 9:30 MON-THURS 7:45 9:30

posted by ReelMovieInfo on Jan 7, 2005 at 2:25pm
The Kon-Tiki closed that Friday May 15th 1987 so USA Cinemas could do some “work on the theatre”. It was reopen weeks later as Salem Avenue Cinemas.

USA Cinemas did “work” to the theatre was was reopened weeks later as Salem Avenue Cinemas.

When it first open in August 1968 it said “Kon-Tiki-The Sun God”

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 6, 2005 at 9:28 am

This entry needs to be combined with the “Salem Avenue Cinemas” entry at
/theaters/8929/

JimRankin
JimRankin on January 6, 2005 at 9:09 am

For those born too late, it may sound curious to name a theatre “KON-TIKI” and wonder at the abstruse imagination of the builder, but to set history straight, it may interest readers to know that the name is that of a Polynesian who was later deified, and the name is drawn from the famous documentary novel by the late Thor Heyerdahl writing in Norwegian, as the following excerpt from a review of his book at www.amazon.com: shows, making the name of the theatre appropriate to the day and age it was conceived, since the hullabaloo then surrounding the publishing of the book made it a cause celeb:

“ Kon-Tiki is the record of an astonishing adventure — a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage.

On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft. After three months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, whales, and sharks, they sighted land — the Polynesian island of Puka Puka.

Translated into sixty-five languages, Kon-Tiki is a classic, inspiring tale of daring and courage — a magnificent saga of men against the sea."

The now lost KON-TIKI theatre is summarized in these posts here at CT:
http://cinematreasures.org/news/12583_0_1_0_C/
Last day photos are included there. A great pity is that the interior at opening is not shown so that we all might have known of this unique design.