New Edition of David Naylor’s Book Needs Your Help!

posted by Ross Melnick on May 22, 2008 at 9:45 am

David Naylor’s Great American Movie Theaters was one of the first books I ever read about classic cinemas. In fact, the book was a major inspiration for this website. I remember going online in 1997-1998 trying to find information on many of the theaters Naylor profiled. That search led Patrick and I to found Cinema Treasures in 1999 as a site where we could house updated information, share it, and help others find theaters around the world to visit (and to eulogize).

So it is with considerable excitement that Naylor and the Theatre Historical Society of America have announced a new, updated edition of that wonderful guide book. According to THSA, “The revised edition will retain the style and flavor of the original and again will be arranged by geographic region, with a state-by-state listing of movie palaces and neighborhood cinemas.” The book is slated for publication in Spring 2009.

This time, Naylor, too, is harnessing the power of the Internet and the community of movie theater fans around the world by soliciting submissions for the new book. Karen Noonan of THSA writes:

In order to be considered, we have devised the following criteria that each submission must meet:

  • Located in the United States.
  • Still standing, whether operating or not.
  • Built originally as a single auditorium/performance space.
  • Presented films on a regular basis at some point in its history.
  • Retains some architectural integrity from its use as a movie theater.

We would also like to invite Cinema Treasures' members to participate as well! We have links on our website to the criteria, rules and submission forms.

The deadline is June 1, 2008 so don’t wait to submit your favorites! This is a great opportunity to highlight your local Cinema Treasure and share it with the world. I know I’ll be first in line to get the new edition.

A press release appears below the fold:


Contact: Richard Sklenar, Executive Director
Theatre Historical Society of America
152 N York Street Elmhurst IL 60126 630-782-1800
Karen Colizzi Noonan, President
147 High Street Geneva, NY 14456 315-789-6158

The Theatre Historical Society of America is proud to announce a 21st century update of the 1987 travel guide Great American Movie Theaters, in collaboration with its noted author, David Naylor. The new edition, Theatre Historical Society’s Guide to Great American Movie Theaters, is targeted for a Spring 2009 debut.

The revised book will retain the style and flavor of the 1987 version and again will be chaptered by geographic region with a state-by-state listing of movie palaces and neighborhood cinemas. The 1987 book, which served as the first real ‘theater book’ for many historic theater enthusiasts, will shine again for a new generation.

For the updated version, Theatre Historical Society members are invited to nominate their favorite local theater for consideration by going to and clicking on the ‘GAMT Update’ button. The deadline for nomination is June 1, 2008.

One of the most recognizable and widely used publications in historic theater circles, Great American Movie Theaters is still in use today, but time has taken a toll on the theaters listed. Many theaters have been demolished and lost forever, while many listed as ‘closed’ in 1987 have found new life in successful restoration. The new edition will update the status of previously listed theaters and include new theaters selected by the Editors from public nominations.

Naylor has entrusted the guide to THS both in appreciation of their support and to create a continuing inventory of historic theaters across America.

The THS team working on the 2009 revision is:

  • David Naylor – Author of the first edition of Great American Movie Theaters
  • Karen Colizzi Noonan – THS President
  • Ken Bloom – Publications director for THS
  • Mike Kinerk – THS founding member and co-author of Popcorn Palaces
  • Suzanne Leworthy – THS International Director

All proceeds from the publication will benefit THS and its mission to record, preserve and celebrate the rich architectural, cultural and social history of America’s theatres. Through its collections and publications, THSA makes available information on more than 15,000 theatres, primarily in the United States, and encourages further research in these areas.

(Thanks to Karen Noonan for the update!)

Comments (1)

GaryParks on May 22, 2008 at 11:48 am

I’ve submitted one update to a theater which was in the 1987 Edition and has since been spectacularly restored, plus one theater with which I’ve long been associated which was not in the 1987 Edition.
It’s easy to contribute—join the fun!
Gary Parks, Western Regional Director, Theatre Historical Society of America

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment