Loews Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

posted by Ross Melnick on November 17, 2004 at 5:24 am

ASTORIA, NY — A special exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Loews has opened at the Museum of the Moving Image. “From Penny Arcade to Megaplex” includes rare promotional items, over 75 historic photographs, archival film footage of movie premieres, and architectural elements.

According to the museum, “Among the highlights of the exhibition are objects that capture the opulence of the golden age of moviegoing, including an enormous crystal chandelier from the Loew’s Capitol Theater in New York, the smart uniforms worn by doormen and ushers, and many photographs and postcards of Loews theaters across the country, from the baroque picture palaces of the late 1920s to the drive-ins of the 1950s to the "neon-classical” multiplexes of today."

For more information, read the November 11 – 17 issue of Time Out New York (page 56) or this recent CNN article about Loews Cineplex Entertainment and the exhibit. Loews' anniversary and the exhibit was also recently featured on the November 7th edition of CBS News Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.

Loew’s (now Loews Cineplex Entertainment) was founded on November 14, 1904 by Marcus Loew and David Warfield as the People’s Vaudeville Company. Over the past century, the company has operated nearly every type of venue for motion pictures: from penny arcades to nickelodeons to movie palaces to drive-ins and shopping center theaters to multiplexes and now the latest megaplexes (and IMAX).

Along with exhibition, Loews was also intimately involved in film distribution (first with the People’s Film Exchange) and then production and distribution after the 1920 purchase of Metro Pictures and the subsequent $65 million merger of Metro with Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Productions to form Metro-Goldwyn Pictures in 1924 (renamed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925.)

In addition to the Museum of the Moving Image exhibit, The Jewish Museum in Manhattan will be hosting a panel discussion on Thursday (11/18) night with Elliott Gould and People film critic Leah Rozen titled “Reel Memories.”

Also opening next month is an exhibit on the history of Loews at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum in Hollywood, California.

In honor of Loews' 100th anniversary, this week’s poll asks for your favorite Loew’s “Wonder Theatre,” a featured element of the current exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Comments (3)

IanJudge on November 17, 2004 at 1:01 pm

For many years one of the Capitol Theatre’s chandeliers hung in the 60’s-era Cheri Cinema in Boston (a Loew house for its last years, closing in 2001). I wonder if this is the same chandelier, or if there are a few out there. I always wondered if/who salvaged it when the Cheri was closed.

br91975 on November 17, 2004 at 8:25 pm

As much as I want to catch the exhibit (and I probably will this weekend or the first weekend in December), I can’t escape the irony that Loews pulled out of so many of the movie palaces they’re paying so much tribute to during their anniversary year, a fair number of them falling into rot or eventually being demolished. (I know, I know – there’s a fair handful of classic Loews venues which have been – or are being – restored, but still, the irony strikes me large… )

TLSLOEWS on December 29, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Nobody builds MOVIE PALACES anymore.

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