Lafayette’s Park Theatre Closing

posted by mcmikecroaro on September 14, 2005 at 3:25 pm

LAFAYETTE, CA — The owners of the Park Theatre announced yesterday that the single screen cinema would close after business concludes Sunday 9/18/05.

Renaissance Rialto had operated the theater for over 15 years with good success. However, in recent years, the times have changed and attendance appears to have had dropped off.

They will run the Park’s three most popular films during the theater’s final weekend for just $5.00 per person.

Theaters in this post

Comments (9)

budyboy on September 16, 2005 at 6:14 am

Well, ‘no comments’ is the biggest comment. I guess nobody really cares…

Next to go is one of the last of very few (perhaps 39), Dimension 150 theaters ever built, Century Pleasant Hill. Some local school girl realized the potential loss, then gave up, as we all lamented the loss of our theater history.

Lament, lament, yawn, yawn…….

This on the day Robert Wise Died, perhaps he isn’t our only loss.

wsanders on September 17, 2005 at 2:05 am

My wife and I had our first date at the Park (“The Governess”) and we ended up getting married and living less than a mile away in Lafayette. We’ve made most of the movies there.

We’ll make one of the “Cinema Paradiso” runs, and there won’t be a dry eye in the house, guarantee ya.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens. The citizens of Lafayette won’t allow it to become a Restoration Hardware or Borders or some other hideous chain store.

scottfavareille on September 19, 2005 at 6:30 pm

The Orinda Theater may be in danger according to today’s San Francisco Chronicle. Renaissance Rialto’s lease on it is up in a year and they are looking to get out when it is up. That would be an even bigger loss since it is an art deco masterpiece.

wsanders on September 19, 2005 at 9:23 pm

Seeing “Cinema Paradiso” on the last weekend of the Park was one of the most memorable movie experiences of my life, something to tell the grandkids about. Mama mia! More memorable than the multi-screen, live orchestra performance of “Napoleon”, topped only by “Koyannisqatsi Live” and Dennis Hopper’s Houston Premiere of “Out of The Blue” (I drank with Wim Wenders and Terry Southern that night; Hopper was too far gone! See for a description.) Dunno how to top this. Get a ticket to the Oscars?

Well, I’m not sure if any other use of the Park theater building would be any more profitable or desirable than a movie theater – there is a perceived lack of parking in the area, and any attempt to turn the building into a night club or concert venue is going to be met with opposition because there are lots of houses close by, where people have to park, and we won’t want drunken patrons in the neighborhood late at night. Ironically, there is an excellent-looking but tiny new restaurant, “Vino”, just opened up right next to the theater in the past few weeks (still too crowded, we have not been there yet.)

Orinda has a slightly better situation being closer to BART and with a real parking garage. Maybe Lafayette needs to bite the bullet and build a municipal parking structure somewhere. We need to keep our downtown alive but we don’t want it to become another Walnut Creek.

davidkaye on September 21, 2005 at 7:10 am

Alan Michaan did his best to preserve the theatre and keep it going. He’s spent all kinds of money trying to make these old theatres work. I remember when he redid the Palace in SF many years back. He restored that place into the beauty it once was, but couldn’t make the thing work.

Sometimes we just have to face facts: Single screen theatres just don’t work anymore, with only a few exceptions such as SF’s Castro Theatre.

helchat on September 21, 2005 at 5:18 pm

I was raised in Lafayette, and went to the Park Theater as both a child and a youth. I had no idea that the theater was in trouble….. If I’d known I guess I would have wanted to find an organization to save it. God knows I couldn’t afford to buy it. I pray that the person/company who bought it does what the State Theater in Modesto or the Fox Theater in Stockton do by using the location as a venue for live shows.

Crying in Lafayette (where I can only afford to work, but not live)

davidkaye on September 21, 2005 at 6:03 pm

“If I had known…”

It is safe to say that every small theatre is in danger of closing. Period.

I’m sure that if there was a say to save it, Allan Michaan would have found a way. He’s been preserving theatres for 20+ years.

sandywilcox1 on October 2, 2005 at 7:30 pm

I am looking for used theater drapes, legs or tormentors. If there is any and they are to be destroyed please contact me.

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