Is Your Favorite Movie Theater Still Standing?

As I mentioned some time ago in A (R)ite of Passage With Your First R-Rated Movie, I have but one remaining movie theater from my childhood still in existence. I remember calling the phone number over and over again in 1979 just so I could listen to the voice recording tell me what time Dracula would be playing that night, while wolf howls, other sound clips from the film, and bits of the marvelous John Williams score played in the background. The theater is close enough to me that I can visit it as often as possible, and I’m delighted it hasn’t changed so very much in decades. Its mustiness is enormously appealing.

Time to Ask Movie Irv if he has this same good fortune, before you share your own recollections of your favorite theaters:

Now tell us of the great buildings, still standing or long gone, that housed your most precious movie memories.

  • Wayne P.

    For some reason I couldnt play Irv’s video, George, on my browser but will go ahead and tell you of my pick.  My fave movie theater is still standing and going strong.  Its the famous Uptown on Conn. Ave, NW in Washington, DC.  Opened by Warners in 1936.  I saw quite a few famous pictures there including How the West Was Won, and Apocalypse Now, but my all time best experience was watching the world premiere run of 2001: A Space Odyssey there a week after it came out first at the Uptown in April, 1968.  The old Todd-AO was updated to Cinerama and even though Kubrick had trimmed 20 minutes off the pic after the first showing the length and surround sound effects from the side of the stage were awesome.  Ive since moved to Memphis but will always treasure the memories of that curved screen!

    • GeorgeDAllen

      Hm, sorry for the difficulty. Seems to work here OK. You could always try hovering over the top left corner to get the link to where it lives on our YouTube channel and click on that to open it in a separate window?

      Anyhow thanks for naming the theater. Looks like an excellent place to visit next time I’m in the DC area! (Although it is disappointing to read the original inside decor is apparently gone)

      For the curious, here’s the Uptown:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Uptown_theater_DC.jpg

  • akentg

    Mine is log gone. As so many the place is now a parking garage. It was the Ben Ali Theatre in Lexington, KY. Great place to sea film. Began as a legit theater many years before and became a movie house. Still had the stage, so the screen was set back to rear wall area but always large enough to get a good view. In fact, in an attempt to bring back vaudeville style shows the woners had a period of a few years when i was in elementary school of a five act stage show along with a feature film three days a week.( one of the acts was Freddy Bartholomew talking about his career) The shows were brought in by a booking service. As a theater it was great and quite unique in that the entrance was about 50 feet from the box office, and as one made the walk there were large window showpieces where local merchants could rent to display items for sale. This space also made standing in line quite an event. The architecture of the bulding was alos interesting. In fact, I did not ever notice it until I was walking across the street from the theatre and overheard some town vistors coming out of a hotel there comment on the facade. I looked at it for the first tie and saw the place for a second floor office and how whne it was “legit” it must have been quite grand. It also had a very large men’s room where, when I would go there, there were always guys smoking between shows. It also had a third balcony which was reserved for “colored” who entered from the street behind so as to not conflict with the others. That remains a sad remender. But the Ben Ali was a place to feel the dreams of a golden age.   

    • GeorgeDAllen

      And here’s the Ben Ali: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/8410
      The page is from a site that is pretty useful if you need to check to see IF your favorite theater is, in fact, still standing. (It is reasonably up to date as far as I can tell, though if anyone has a better resource please feel free to mention it — though if you supply a link of course you’ll have to wait for it to be moderated/approved).

  • Filkins_c

    My fav theatre was THE NATIONAL, in the Old SOUTH END of Boston

  • Filkins_c

    Oh, sorry. It’s been gone for a while, some off-the-wall Theatre now

  • Mstern1

    The old Fox Theatre (1920′s)  in Hanford, CA, still open and operating – though being used for live performances these days.  Draws audiences from Fresno, Bakersfield, and even – possibly Napa Valley.  This year Diana Krall made an appearance in August; ballet coming later this year.  Most wonderful to look through the place, see how it’s been maintained and renovated to its glory days.

  • Brygolf

    my favourite theatre the west coburg progress is still standing

    • Filkins_c

      Oh yeah? Where’s that at? And that’s cool it’s still there, I miss THE NATIONAL

  • Blair Kramer

    I’m not old enough to remember it but I understand that Chicago’s famous “Loop” had one of the biggest movie palaces that ever existed. The ”Paradise” was originally built in the silent era.  Parents dropped their kids off in the “playroom” to pick them up after the movie!  With nurses on staff,  employees baby-sat the children!  If you ask me, current movie theater complexes could greatly increase business if they introduce this practice today!  

    • Filkins_c

      I saw something about that on a PBS show, I know right? Business would Quadruple!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Bryankr Bryan Ruffin

    I can’t say I have “a” favorite in theaters. In my mind, if they show movies, they become my new temporary home.

  • Farnham Scott

    I would spend every Saturday in the wonderful RIVOLI THEATER in Toledo, Ohio.  It was joined to a second-run spillover theater the PALACE.  St. Clair St. in Toledo had wonderful theaters: the Princess, the Pantheon, theValentine.  Up the street was the magnificent PARAMOUNT theater, which had an arcade of fashionable shops like furriers and perfumeries leading up to the entrance.  In later years, it was the Cinerama house.  There was also the Esquire, the Loop, the TownHall burlesque; the State was a lovely neighborhood house, as was the giant COLONY.  All were destroyed and razed,but the Valentine which was restored to a legitimate house.  But the Rivoli was MY home theater.  I miss it still; downtown Toledo never recovered. 

  • Gcrespo

    Nope..The Loews Victory in New York City in Harlem. Beautiful place..balconcy, high ceiling, marble staircases, large concession stand and a fortune telling machine in the lobby.   The outside looks like it could be made into landmark status. Sadly in the late 70′s a metal detector was put in and it was split into 5 theaters and went out of business.. The building is still there but nothing has been done since then.

  • nicknnyc

    Growing up in Greenwich Village, the “Lowes Sheridan” was the theater where I saw most first run movies as a kid. I can still conjure every carpet, balustrade, thick red velvet curtain, stained glass exit sign, grand and small stair case, chandelier and folding seat from memory, even though this magnificent movie palace was torn down close to a half century ago. At least the interior appears in some wonderful paintings by Edward Hopper. There were other lesser neighborhood theaters – The Greenwich, The Art, The Eighth Street Playhouse, which m though not palaces, were great local movie houses. They are of course gone too.

     ”…we will probably be judged not by the monuments we
    build but by those we have destroyed.”

    – “Farewell to Penn Station,” New York Times
    editorial, October 30, 1963

  • Johnsaul

    All gone, although not my fond memories  of each of them, from the old North Toronto neighbourhood of my youth: the Glendale (just up Avenue Road north of Lawrence); the Park and the Fairlawn (on north Yonge St. near the old city-limits and just south of Hog’s Hollow); the Circle and Capital (further down Yonge St, but still north of Eglinton); the Eglinton and the Avenue (near the corner of, you guessed it, Eglinton and Avenue Road); and the Nortown (over at Eglinton and Bathurst) – nostalgia fare indeed

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713983697 Gordon S. Jackson

      I worked at the Fairlawn, twice, in the late sixties/early seventies.  My first time out was as an assistant manager when we opened “Half a Sixpence” (which didn’t make that much) and “Funny Girl” (which mopped up) on reserved seats.  When I returned about sixteen months later as manager we were playing “Anne of the Thousand Days” and were due to open our last reserved-seat engagement, “Nicholas and Alexandra.”  The Fairlawn remains the best theatre with the best staff in which I ever worked – both times.

      I loved the Capitol at Yonge and Castlefield, saw “The Lion in Winter” there (which I did not personally care for) and went to the Glendale two or three times to see “2001: A Space Odyssey” (which I loved) on their HUGE cinerama screen.  Also used to occasionally visit the Park Theatre on the east side of Yonge just steps south of the Fairlawn from time to time.  And altho I no longer live in Toronto I still miss them all, especially The Fairlawn.

  • Charlotte Cason

    The Sun Theater in York, Nebraska is still there and showing movies since 1939.  However it has been divided from one theater into three, two downstairs, and one upstairs.

  • Fantasticdoug

    My favorite movie theater was the Majestic Theater in downtown San Antonio, Texas. In addition to a balcony,it had box seats along the walls and the ceiling was curved,and painted to give the illusion of the night sky. Eventually, the Majestic closed down with the popularity of the larger multi-screen mega-theaters. The good news is that the Majestic made a comeback as a live performing theater today attracting musicals and a host of Hollywood celebrities! And it has been restored to the beauty and splendor of past decades!       

  • Marianne82

    Loews Pitkin and Loews Palace in Brooklyn, NY.  Still there?

     

  • Dee_6760

    Holiday Drive in Mitchell Indiana

  • DollyT

    The most beautiful Theaters  were the Baliban and Katz (not sure of the spelling) theaters  in Chicago. I remember
    feeling as if I was entering a palace.  This was during the late 1930′ and early 40′s. I believe one was called the
    “Uptown”.  They are all  gone and have been gone for many years.  This when Movies were really great and Movie Stars looke like Stars and not street derelicts. They were taught How To Dress (EAMPLES: Loretta Young and Doris Day) and could REALLY Act. Now days there is too many special effets, sound is too loud, too muh reality and one cannot use thei own imagination.  Do any of you remember those beautiful theaters but me?

    • Hurricaneholt06

      The Chicago theater still stands, and the Theatre Historical Society it trying to funds to fix the old “Uptown” and reopen it.

  • Cheryl

    My favorite movie house was the Orleans in philly on Busltenton avenue. my husband and I always went there when we were dating and after ours sons were born we took them, it’s now a target store but oh what memories i have with my family.I believe the first movie i saw there was The Poseidon Adventure with my soon to be husband and mother in law.

  • Lightnin6767

    1956 I was 13. Went to the Warner Bros.Theater on 6th street in San Pedro,Ca. to see Jane Wyman in Miracle in the Rain. She was the frist woman to make me cry. There once was thoughts of tearing it down but it was saved as a historical landmark. The theater is still there and a few years back had heard they play “Casablanca” and I missed it, that would have been something to see that on the big screen.

  • GaryKoca

    Yes, the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge, Illinois. I used to go there all the time in the 50′s and 60′s, and it is a palace. This is the theater that Siskel and Ebert used for their TV show, so you might be familiar with it. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PODTFFPVEUXYHXVGNS5G5FWKGI DIRK

    Alas, no. Not there anymore and, even worse(!), before it was demolished it had been Twinned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the horror, the horror!!!

  • pex2131

    my favorite movies were the hiway theater in essex ,md and the north point drive-in on north point road dundalk,md,lots of memories

  • Eric

    Ah, the Fox Theater on Market Street in San Francisco. A prime example of Rococo architecture. The Fox had three balconies! You were so high up you could almost get a nose bleed! But, alas, long gone, “progress” you know!
    I worked with an old timer that had done some of the carving on the interior when it was built.

  • Eastportco

    The Pickwick Theater in Greenwich, Ct. – a Moorish, mystical environment with 75 foot ceilings of starry night sky and 2,000 seat auditorium surrounded with back-lit balconies (a specialty of the theater architect, John Eberson,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Eberson .

    My first visit to the Pickwick was in the Fall of 1948 when we had just moved to Ct.. There was a live show of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp from the Arabian Nights’ stories, and being just 6 years old, I assumed this great space with its grand lobbies of Persian carpeting, draperies and Spanish, antique arm chairs had been decorated for the Aladdin show…..so for many weekly movie visits afterward, I simply accepted that they had left all the decorations for the that Saturday live theater show in place.

    I remember my friends and I usually sat way up front, and thus the already huge screen created the shadow-land images that were all that much a pleasure to travel within….

    More’s the pity, 10 years hence, the marvelous Pickwick Theater was morphed into a mundane bowling alley.

    However, most fortunately, those many magical, mystery tours into movies at the Pickwick rounded out my “secret garden”, childhood dreamworld.

  • Carolynfair5

    I’m afraid not.  The theater was ‘The Rialto.’, It was an intimate theater in a nearby town.  The population of the town drastically changed and that rung the death knell to the movie house.  The very last movie they showed was ‘Cinema Paradiso.’  We, so few in the audience, cried at the end of this classic movie and the close of our neighborhood theater.

  • ndebrabant

    No, but there are a group of us trying to raise money to buy the building and restore the building to a movie theater.
    It’s the Irving Theater in Irving Tx.

    • GeorgeDAllen

      Anybody wishing to get a Texas theater re-opened, here’s their website: http://www.friendsoftheirvingtheater.com/

      • Wayne P.

        Am there and thanks so much George for helping to show us all everyones fave movie houses, especially the older ones…speaking of Texas Theater(s)…do remember another original by that name in Dallas, not the great Irving one shown, that was where one (some say two) Lee Harvey Oswald was picked up after shooting JFK and Officer Tippett in Nov., 1963.  Can still recall the marquee was showing a Van Heflin film but forgot the name…wonder if anyone knows if its still around?

        • Benjamin

          You mean the Texas theater in Oak Cliff, yes the theater is still there. It has been reopened and they show movies again. It used to creep me out when I first moved to Dallas knowing the history it played back then.

  • Gturtle17

    The Fox theater in Bakersfield, California was our favorite when I was a kid.  Though as I got older it would have to the 99 Drive In and the Crest Drive in.  For obvious reasons.

  • GaryVidmar

    The glorious Midland Theater in downtown Kansas City, which mostly hosts concerts these days, but was re-modeled and active for films during the 70′s.  The grand elegance of the old days was retained in the restoration, but it was the stunning new sound system that I can recall to this day.  EARTHQUAKE in Sensurround opened there, but a re-release of Elizabeth Taylor as CLEOPATRA, and Roman Polanski’s TESS have stayed with me longest.  

    • GeorgeDAllen

      Your “Earthquake” anecdote got me to trying to remember where I’d seen the film in Sensurround as a kid (later to keep barging in on my parents that night convinced my room was shaking). A little Googling and I’m guessing it was the Branmar in DE. During that search, I uncovered some fun fun stuff about Sensurround: http://www.in70mm.com/news/2011/in_sensurround/english/index.htm

    • RandallCO

       One of my best movie memories was at the KC Midland, when I took my dad to see Gance’s silent: “Napoleon,” with the score performed by the city’s symphony orchestra.

      A great way to enjoy a palace theater.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713983697 Gordon S. Jackson

    My alltime favourite theatre, in Hamilton, Ontario regretfully no longer stands.  It began life as the Grand Opera House, where opera, vaudeville, plays, boxing and wrestling were the order of the day.  When vaudeville was replaced by movies it morphed into the Granada Theatre, an all-day grindhouse/shooting gallery that opened all of the Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Allan ‘Rocky’ Lane, Kirby Grant (and Chinook) Bomba the Jungle Boy, Bowery Boys etc. offerings.  It was then again closed and renovated, re-opening on New Year’s Eve 1954 as the Downtown Theatre, still a grindhouse/shooting gallery that moved into the classic cheesy fare of the fifties, film packages like “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” and “Invasion of the Saucer Men”, “Voodoo Woman” and “The Undead”, “The Man Who Turned To Stone” and “Zombies of Mora Tau” along with any number of Allied Artists westerns, American International bike pictures and rock and roll cheapies like “Rock Around the Clock”, “Don’t Knock the Rock” and during its brief heyday a title like “Calypso Heat Wave.”  Some of those pics I well remember because The Downtown was the house in which I got my first fulltime theatre job.  

    Yes, I have many happy memories of those days at the Downtown but my happiest by far are with its incarnation as the Granada.  It wasn’t the fanciest of theatres (altho it puts those shoe box/walk-in-closet afterthoughts of today to shame) but being a boy who loved all of those “B” movies, it was my Mecca.  Indeed, in the early fifties before its final Downtown Theatre incarnation, I well remember when my mother went shopping I would beg her to let me go to the Granada (which she often did) and I remember one very specific time when mom and her sister surprised my brother and me by letting us go to the Granada to see “Beyond the Purple Hills” with Gene Autry (I don’t remember the other picture) instead of having to endure the big Virginnia Mayo musical at the Tivoli, the “A” house next door to the Granada.  I was in seventh heaven.  (The Tivoli, which lost all of its lobby and the offices above it is still standing with occasional rumblings about it being renovated and re-opening as an arts centre.)  But the Granada/Downtown is gone forever, its former site now an ugly stripmall.  Oh well, as the composer wrote, “The Song Is Ended, But the Melody Lingers On.”

  • Kissand

    My favorite movie palace is the TIVOLI in Downers Grove, IL. It is the Jewel in the Crown of Classic Cinemas, a company that has successfully rescued several old movie theaters in the Chicagoland area. The TIVOLI was refurbished several years ago keeping it’s original ambience. The only modernization was the new giant screen and it’s sound system, both of which are awesome. Check it out. Papa D.

  • rodahaco

    In my hometown of Newark Ohio, there were 2 threatres across from each other. One was the Veteran’s Memorial and the other was the Midland. We as children used to go to the Memorial to watch the latest movies. It had wonderful accoutics and a beautiful victorian facade until the facade was destroyed in a fire in the late 60′s. The outside was rebuilt with a modern facade (ugly). It was used for concerts and meetings for many years after, until it was torn down I believe, in the 2000′s and is now a parking lot. The Midland (last I heard, as I haven’t lived in my hometown for several years) underwent a major renovation and remains today as a place for plays, concerts and conferences. Having been in shows in the Veteran’s Memorial…I sure miss the big stage and especially the accoutics.

  • Billy Mack

    Like Eric (below) I too would have to say that the Fox theater in San Francisco was my all-time favorite. There were five smaller theaters in the neighborhood where I lived in the ’50s and I frequented all of them, but on occasion I, & friends or family members, would ride the bus downtown  and spend a Saturday afternoon at the Fox. It was certainly the largest and most lavish movie theater I was ever in. The epitome of the term “Movie Palace”.     

  • Sparkie0317

    yes it is… the alabama theatre with the mighty wurlitzer organ  for sing-a-longs before the cartoon and the movie.

  • Patty Garbrandet

    It is verry good

  • Richard Lehmann

    My favorite movie theater from the past was The Midway movie theater at Kensington and
    Allegheny Aves.  It was a large theater, very neat and clean, complete with ushers with flashlights
    to show you to your seat.  It closed in 1977 and was torn down in 1979.  I’am 67 years old.

  • Danpupo10151

    My favorite theater is long gone.  It actually was a theater of some noteriety.  Besides it being of old world architecture with the domed ceiling, plush carpets and multiple statues, it was also noted as being the “other” theater that was being staked out the night that John Dillinger was shot down at the Biograph.  The theater was the Marboro on west Madison street in Chicago.  It was believed that Dillinger was to go etther there or to the Biograph.  It was a grand theater in the old tradion that was torm down way before it should have been.

  • Dennis

    Colonial Theater, Laconia NH.  Majestic old place, at least to the kid I was then.  Still standing and locals trying to save it.  

  • Melvin

    I grew up in a town of only 6,000 people; we had two movie theaters, the Tower and the Stanley.  The Tower became a bank when I was about 13, but that was an improvement to its neighborhood.  The Stanley, built when I was about  5, was my favorite.  For one thing, it was the first building in town to be air conditioned (an important asset in South Texas).  Also, it had a “cry room”, which had thick glass partitioning it from the rest of the theater, so that people with noisy children could sit there without disturbing others (it had speakers inside, if you are wondering).  Probably half the movies I ever saw, including Gone With The Wind and countless John Wayne movies, I saw first at the Stanley. I moved from that town when I was 17 (1959).  The Stanley is still there, along with its marquee, but it ceased being a movie theater in the 1970s.  A large hole was bulldozed into the side of it down near where the first 3 rows of seats used to be, to allow farm vehicles to bring in produce for market sales.  Now, it houses an art emporium.   But my favorite movie theater of all time was in San Antonio, about 55 miles away;  that was the Majestic, built in the 1930′s.  This is where we went to see the premieres of movies such as The Alamo, South Pacific, From Here to Eternity, Oklahoma, and, of course, And God Created Woman, haha.   The Majestic is still a majestic sight, but it is used for mostly for concerts and productions such as A Tuna Christmas.  

  • Drl1

    The Westdale Theater in Hamilton,Ontario
    The only free standing movie house in town.I used to watch Saturday matinees there.Now I’m 75 and still go there.
    It is unique

  • Hurricaneholt06

    My favorite movie theater was the Norridge Theaters. It wasn’t that old,it wasn’t fancy. It was built in 1970. But it was nice. It had only 2 big theaters.Theater 1 could fit 2000 people, Theater 2 could fit 750, then in the late 70′s the added 2 more theaters. Then in the 80′s the chopped theater 1 into 4 smaller ones and theater in half. It changed owners a couple of times and the news owners never kept the place up.It got so run down that people just stoped going. It closed on July 15 of this year. It’s sad because if they only put some money back into it still could of been a show place. 

  • Phibob22

    My favorite theater is in Kent Ohio and is still there. My brothers and I enjoyed many great Universal Horror flix with my Mama. And I use to love and watch the college kids wait outside to see the movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

  • CarterCE

    I grew up in the Kenwood-Oakland community of Bronzeville on 39th Street on the southeast side of Chicago. We were a couple of miles from the famous Regal and Metropolitan Theaters at 47th and South Park (now ML King Drive), and five miles from the equally famous Tivoli Theater on 63rd and Cottage Grove. Our neighborhood theater, the Oakland Square, provided us with first-run films and comfortable accomodations, all within walking distance of where we lived.  Once a year, on a Saturday morning, the theater manager would provide a showing of “25 Cartoons.” We would be lined up around the corner waiting to pay the twenty-five cents admission. I remember my older sisters and I getting up early and walking the two blocks to Drexel Avenue from Lake Park to get in line early enough to catch the morning run of the 25 cartoons. I think there was a matinee afterwards. This was a once-a-year happening and kids from the neighborhood would be lined up around the corner to participate in this annual “Happening.”  It was mostly a Warner Brothers cartoon line-up of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Roadrunner and the Coyote, and all the fun and violence that came with them.  There were cartoons on television every Saturday morning that we could watch for free. But this was something most of us loved to participate in year after year.

    By the late 1960s the influx of inner city street gangs was in high gear.  Those who could afford to leave the ‘hood did, and the demise of Kenwood-Oakland was on.  By the late 1970s the Oakland Square theater had become the headquarters of Jeff Fort and the Blackstone Rangers / Black P. Stone Nation / El Rukn street gang.  Jeff Fort
    (while already serving a long sentence in federal prison) became infamous when he and other members of El Rukn (a corrupted Islamic variation on inner city ghetto street gang activities -which had nothing to do with Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam) were busted by the FBI in a sting operation involving El Rukn’s cooperation with operatives of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

    Supposedly, the Libyans agreed to pay Jeff Fort and El Rukn one million dollars to commit an act of terrorism within the United States. Jeff Fort (a federal prison inmate at the time) made what he thought was the final arrangements with his El Rukn confederates on the outside while speaking with them from a pay phone inside a federal prison.(?!)  Of course the Feds were listening.  Posing as illegal arms dealers, the Feds met with and sold the unsuspecting El Rukn an inoperative shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missile (SAM) launcher with a radio transmitter inside.  Days later, following the transmitter’s beep, the Feds raided the El Rukn headquarters at the old Oakland Square Theater in the 3900 block of south Drexel, confiscated weapons, seized the shoulder-mounted SAM, arrested the El Rukn conspirators, and, after his trial and conviction, added another 80 years to Jeff Forts sentence in the Colorado federal super-max.

    It’s sad that a movie theater that provided so many hours of family-oriented fun and enjoyment, and pleasant  memories for me as a child, would wind up as a street gang headquarters and the potential staging ground for a cowardly and despicable act of domestic terrorism.  Thank God the Feds were completely on top of things.   

    • CarterCE

      I forgot to mention, the Oakland Square Theater was demolished a few years after the Feds raided it. Today it is a public park  -until more upscale housing can be built on the site.

    • GeorgeDAllen

      That story is one helluva movie pitch! Based on the available photograph of him, I cast Chris Rock in the Jeff Fort role.

  • Cyfairbob

    My favorite theaters in Houston, were the Metropolitan, Majestic, Lowe’s State (all downtown), and the Yale, the Tower, Alabama, all in the neighborhoods. The three downtown were old-time ornate palaces, good movies and memorable architecture. The others were great neighborhood theaters. All three downtown were demolished, the Yale, also. The Tower has been recycled a couple of times, and last of all, the Alabama was first turned into a Bookstop bookstore, and now has re-opened as a Trader Joe’s niche grocery store. If I had the time, I would also talk about the drive-ins, but that can be saved for another day.

    Bob Riley
    Cypress Tx

  • Rich Gehm

    St. Louis were I grew up had the Fox Theater in Midtown St.Louis.  It was and is still a grand old theater.
    Used for both Live concerts, Live theater and special released films It is great. Another of my favorites 
    is in the windy city.  The Chicago Theater. I don’t know how it is being used. I think it is still open.  It was
    so great to see Live shows and big bands on stage followed by a great film. All that in the lap of luxury
    in a big beautiful movie house like the Chicago Theater.  Those were the days.  It is such BS. to think
    you can watch any film worth watching on a 4 or 5 inch smart phone screen.  That’s just a joke.  If your
    that busy with work, then work harder to get done sooner so you can go see a movie where it should be
    seen in Theaters like the Fox Theater in St.Louis or the Chicago Theater in Chicago.

    • ED

      I grew up in the Chicagoland area and always enjoyed going to the Chicago Theater for films and live shows.  I don’t remember what film was showing one day when I went the Chicago Theater but got to see Debbie Reynolds live on stage when she was under contract with MGM in her younger days (then abount my age)

      Ed

  • Sms1211

    My favorite childhood memory was seeing “Gone with the Wind” and “The Ten Commandments” at the Towson Theater in Towson, MD.  I still remember the newsreels with Lowell Thomas and great cartoons before the movies…the theater is gone and there is a movie complex across the street — ruined Towson’s 1950s small town charm, gone the way of all flesh!  Sigh.  But my other favorites in Baltimore are The Senator and The Charles.  The Senator is  just down the road a bit from Towson and it’s where John Waters debuts all his films. It’s a beautiful theatre and presently under renovations to restore many original architectural features that have deteriorated over the last 20 years.  I’ve also been to The Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, IL, which was saved by listing it on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and renovated in 1982-83.  It has also been lovingly restored/upgraded recently, saved for those of us who love movies and viewing them in majestic surroundings! 

    • GeorgeDAllen

      The Charles is a terrific theater. I was there earlier this year and it was two years ago, I think, that I was there to see Crispin Glover host his Big Picture Show and presentation of “It is Fine! Everything Is Fine.”

  • Lizasaurus

    All of the 20 or more theatres that I frequented as a child and teenager and even some that were still around when I was in my thirties and forties have disappeared because of the huge Hoyts & Village complexes.  What I loved about the privately owned theatres was that you mostly got to see two films for cheaper than the Hoyts & Village complexes.
    The only theatre still remaining is the beautiful Regent theatre in Melbourne where they mostly have live shows and special events which are far too expensive for pensioners such as us.  I have always wanted to go there again and once I won tickets to go but they turned up a week after the date of the special event (Premier) and when I contacted them they just said it was bad luck and did not even offer us replacement tickets to go to a normal session.
    I remember the fun of Saturday Matinees, Ranch Night and when each theatre had different movies on so one had a wide choice. All the theatres (except for the ones in the city of Melbourne) were close to home.  There were several we could walk to and the cost was equivalent to a pint bottle of milk. 
    My whole family are movie addicts and the advent of DVD has enabled us to have a lot of the films we loved from the 40s – 70s. 

  • N3pmz

    i lived in hollywood in the sixtys till 1972 and my dad ran the copper skillet at sunset and vine as a kid one of my buddys dad worked at the movies but i do not know what he did but all i know is all of the movie theathers knew my buddys dad and we would just walk in get some free food and drinks and see movies for free i can remember going to his house for years and his dad was so nice he would reach in his pocket and give us like $ 20.00 each and say have a ball today . they lived in the hollywood hills and i allways loved there house looking over hollywood . years later i tryed to find him after 35 years we moved to pa near phily when i was 14 later found out he died from drugs and his dad killed himself   i was sad  i wonder what could have lead to that .

  • Geoff

    Here in Australia, in every country town and the suburbs of Sydney, mostly have the original theatre buildings/picture palaces still standing. I often drive around and spot what once were the cinemas. Some are used as supermarkets, liquor stores, gyms, video rental etc, and a lot are empty. They mostly still retain their charm, of an era that once was. An era of investment in these buildings, that I would presume that the builders of the time thought would last a long time, instead an era that passed in a relatively short time. I’m very happy that these buiding’s still remain, and I hope they remain standing for many years to come.

  • Jackalexanderwest_99

    I lived in a suburb of Chicago called Northbrook. It didn’t get a theater until 1963 and that one is now gone, but when I was a kid I would go see films in Evanston, Illinois-the Valencia,Varsity and the Evanston theater on Central street. The Evanston was my favorite and I thought it had the best screen in the Chicago area. All three of them are gone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lloyd.rutzky Lloyd Rutzky

      You forgot about the Coronet theater in Evanston.  There also was the Evanston II.

  • mikey

    Here in San Diego, CA. we use to have many great theatres, about the last good one, the one where I first saw the Ten Commandment and Ben Hur, is now some kind of gay pervert theatre.  What I really miss is all the great Drive-in’s we had.  Good times at the To View, forgot the spelling of it and the Frontier, and several others.  There was the Balboa in Downtown that they tore down to make the Gaslamp area….such a shame.  Some really great looking baloncy theatres….gone to the multi plexes.  And one last one….not a great looking one inside, but 12 midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show….I’ll never forget….

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OC6SKJLQDZEY674X7VRYBWH6AI Tom

      @ mikey : My Church Youth group saw the premier of The Ten Commandments on the big screen in a local movie theater.  When the Red Sea parted, some jumped out of their seats !

  • http://www.facebook.com/patricia.m.hofer Patricia M. Hofer

    As a kid, I grew up going to the movies at least three times a week.  The movie theatre was called The Tivoli on 8th Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets.

    • aagw

      Me too. Sometimes 4 and 5 times a week.  We had two theatres in Edinburg TX, the Aztec and the Valley later replaced by the Citrus. The Aztec showed different films twice a week and the Citrus 3 a week.  So there were plenty to see.  The Citrus had first run and the Aztec Cowboys and serials on Saturday and B movies the rest of the week.  The Citrus had giveaway nights, with an intermission when ticket stubs were drawn and you won dishes.  They also sold crackerjacks with prizes in the boxes. Entrance was 10 cents for children to 12 years and 25 cents for adults. And of course the Citrus had a balcony! Saw Song of the South at the Citrus and The Wizard of Oz at its predessor, the Valley Theater.  Good memories.  Roy Rogers on Sat. afternoon plus Nyoka Jungle Girl serial and Bugs Bunny cartoon all for a dime followed by a root beer at the Corner Drug Store across the street.

  • Bespec79

    Basically all the movies from not only my childhood, but a lot of my teen and adulthood are gone. The Hazlet UA, the Music Makers’ Plaza, The Town Theatre in Middletown, Menlo Park Cinema, Rutgers Plaza, Shrewsbury Plaza Cinema, etc. 
    And as long as they don’t show movies anymore at Radio City Music Hall … my favorite cinema is not in operation either. 

  • dog888k

    My midwest hometown pictureshow palace is still in operation as a Legion hall with bingo on Thursday nites and can be rented for wedding receptions et al.  You can still walk into the lobby past the ticket booth, and the big space where the screen was is still there waiting for someone to stretch out a bedsheet and show Nelson/Jeanette and Abbott/Costello and other good old time family flickers if someone would do it.  Supposedly the projector is still up in the projector booth.

  • Amy Reed

    I live in Everett Washington were the oldest movie theater in the west is still in operation and still showing live theater and movies. last month we watched the silent version of phantom of the opera Oct 4th White Zombie is playing October 24th House on Haunted Hill. In November It;s a Wonderful Life and the child star who played ZuZu will be there to talk about the film and sign pictures. When the silent movies play they pull out the organ so we get live organ music. I have seen Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, The General, and numerous Sherlock Holmes movies there. As a child they played first run films there we went all the time. I would rather go to a old movie house any time than a new one you can’t beat the prices, services, and atmosphere. They don’t make movies like that anymore it’s great to see them on the big screen and have the usher walk you to your seat and not worry about talking kids and cell phones. Long live the theater. 

  • Jono

     Is the Granada still there in Kansas City,KS

  • Exshamus

    Binghamton, NY

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OC6SKJLQDZEY674X7VRYBWH6AI Tom

    Our old Movie theater was great for inexpensive Double Features and giant bags of popcorn until it burned to the ground in about 1959.  Only the foundation remains.  Both nearby Drive-In theaters operated into the ’70′s; one would run “all-nighters” sometimes featuring James Bond Movies. Now, one is a vacant lot and the other is a trailer park !  In the nearest towns stands two old theaters; one is an antique / flea-market store and the other is operating as a stage production theater, but No movies.  A great era has been rendered obsolete by new technology and a faster paced society.  How sad.  Find an old Drive-In and take the kids for a memorable experience.

  • Henrycaron525

    Unfortunately all of the really cool movie theaters in Springfield MA. Are gone years ago. I lived across the street from one of the best in the city. The Fox Theater on Boston Road played all of the best flicks from the 70s as well as,having weekend afternoon double bill showings of almost all of the great Hammer Horror movies as well as a ton of other great Euro Horror and Sci-Fi flicks. I will never forget seeing Destroy All Monsters, Taste the Blood of Dracula, The Excorcist, Behind the Door, Zombie, Russ Meyer’s UP (We snuck into the theater for that one).
    We also had a Theater called The Allen & Cooley Twin Cinemas that played a ton of great exploitation flicks. Texas ChainSaw Massacre & Dawn of the Dead midnight shows.
    I would love to see someone open up a theater in this area that plays only older films from the 50s to the 70s.

  • Watt

    Mine is still standing and showing movies!  Second run, and for only $1.99!! If you are willing to wait or want to see one again, you can watch your show in the magnificent setting of the Byrd theatre in Richmond, VA.  It is very similar to the Boyd in Irv’s video.  In fact, some of you may pronounce the two exactly the same way!  The Byrd also has a magnificent organ thats still regularly played.  The Byrd is a MUST-SEE for any true movie fan in the Richmond area.  I saw many, many shows there as a child, worked there in High School and into college, and I have mentioned it numerous times in this forum.  Its a treasure.

    • GeorgeDAllen

      That is one fabulous looking theater! Here’s the Byrd site: http://byrdtheatre.com/

    • Wayne P.

      Its wonderful looking…they should show only classic oldies there but for $1.99 why be choosy?  There appears to be a ghostly apparition in the right screen-side balcony from George’s nice link below…if they showed Phantom of the Opera there I know theyd have a chandelier out in the middle for Erik to hang on!

  • Christopher

    I HEAR YA! JUST LIKE THE OL’NATIONAL THEATER IN SOUTH END OF BOSTON! SHOWED ALL OF THOSE TOO! I MISS SEEING THE DOUBLE FEATURES! BRING BACK THE GOOD OL’ DAYS!!!!!

  • Solitaire

    The Fox in San Francisco was the palace to end all palaces.  Almost 5000 people packed in 1960 for a preview of “Can-Can”.  They could have saved it for $1 million but Mayor Christopher didn’t see fit. You’d have had to have seen this place to believe it!

  • Burt

    The Cinerama Dome on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. The best theatre.

  • Lavisage

    My favorite & best movie theater is still standing strong “Redford Theatre” on Lasher in Detroit, Michigan.  It’s simply beautiful and shows classic movies and so much more…holiday movie double features, silent films accompanied by the Barton Theatre pipe organ.  It just such great time, come see for yourself, check out http://www.redfordtheatre.com.

  • fbusch @dslextreme.com

    Been to the Cinerama Dome, but the original Theater that Cinerama was shown in was one of the older ones with red velvet wall hangings and numbered velvet seats.Saw” How the West was Won” there. In Fresno, several older ones downtown looked like Egyption palaces with mezz. seating and special loge seating. across the tracks was the White Theater with .50 cent seats and all night flicks. 3 balconies high. so steep you’d think you’d  fall out. In Fontana, Ca., The Fontana theater was ’30′s deco, the building is still there as a live theater assn. venue. The Arrow Theater was all new in the early ’50′s, building used as a church today, The Harper Theater all new in late ’50′s, building used as skating rink, furniture store, latin film theater, church, and several other ideas, building still there. All 3 owned by Mr. Harper for many years. Kinda odd as Fontana was a very small town to have 3 theaters. going to show was a great experience. As a kid at the Fontana Theater we had sat. matinees with 5 cartoons, cliiffhanger serials, 2 feature films and personal apperances, (usually cowboy actors). Also the “Donald Duck Club”. Oh yeah, we were surrounded y about 5 driveins, some with snackbar seating, and playgrounds with small Ferris wheels, trains, etc. Gosh, am I really 73 years old?

  • Scherylle

    My (2) favorite drive-ins have long since “bit the dust”.  I remember going to the drive-in as a child.  The bugs,
    heat…..didn’t bother me.  I was there to have fun with my mom, dad, and friends.  Don’t forget about the trip to the concession stand.  Hot fresh popcorn, ice cold drinks, delicious burgers and HOT french fries.  We went Friday,
    Saturday, and Sunday nights even doing school time.  What a happy experience!  My daguther will never experience that kind of feeling.  All she knows are the multi-plex cinemas with 20 screens.  to her, that is a big deal and rightfully so,  She wasn’t even thought of back then when i was going to the drive-in.  A lost piece of Americana.  Now it is just a fuzzy memory that I will always remember and cherish.

  • DMarchetti

    All the theatres from my youth are gone. It’s funny that I saw someone mention seeing How the West was Won at a cinerama and remember quite clearly going with my parents to see that movie there when I was 10 or 11 years old. We are fortunate to still have a drive-in here in Rhode Island and I have taken my two oldest grandaughters to it each of the past three summers which is a wonderful memory to share with them. Seeing a movie can still be a pretty magical experience on the big screen but the atmosphere in a multiplex is not the same. 

  • Geneva P.

    I am from Cleveland, Ohio and my favorite theaters are no longer in existence.  They were the Liberty Theater and the Hippodrome in downtown Cleveland.  My favorite memories were eating freshly popped popcorn with REAL butter squirted on it and skipping all the way home with my sister after seeing Song of the South singing “zip a-dee doo dah”.

  • Eugene Higgins

    My favorite movie theater growing up was the “Melvin” in St. Louis. We used see movies 2 for a dollar on Sundays. It was also walking distance from where I used to live…in my own neighborhood. The was an ice cream shop right across the street from the Melvin Theater. I’ve seen so many memorable movies there while growing up. I’ll name a handful out of the hundred(s) I’ve seen there.

    Dawn of the Dead (original)
    An American Werewolf in London
    Demons (Dario Argento)
    Ghost (Swayze)
    Arachnaphobia
    Conan the Barbarian
    Delta Force

    Goodness…I can go on and on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Eugene Higgins

      No, the movie theater is not still around. A church is now at that site.

  • Mpavelkis

    There was a favorite movie theater in Chicago, Il. that my brother and I used to go to, mostly on Sunday afternoons. That was the Belmont theater on Belmont Av, near Paulina, north side of Chicago. On the outside, it had a gothic look, as many theaters did, back in the day. We spent many happy hours there, eating popcorn, and chewing on candy bars. The Belmont theater will always hold a special memory in my heart.  

  • Ajarvis

    I can remember seeing “Ben-Hur” in the Boyd the year it was released.  Philadelphia used to be a wonderful theatre town with such Palaces as the Stanton, the Stanley, the Viking and the Mid-Town, which  is a legitimate theatre today.  One theatre that few people remember was the Mastbaum.  It was even larger than today’s Radio City Music Hall but two factors doomed it.  First, it opened at the start of the Great Depression when audiences dropped off the map.  Second, It was rather far west on Market Street, away from popular restaurants and public parking.

    -Arthgur

    • GeorgeDAllen

      Wow, 4000+ seats! Here’s the Mastbaum: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/1207

      • Jpaf

        My comments are listed ‘above’ but *your* theater looks a great deal like the one I mentioned, called The Stanley.  The look of the Marque are quite similar.  Do you recall was it a Warner’s?

  • Kuciak

    In the 70′s, when I used to go to movies all the time I would go the these really small theater like the Rialto In Berkeley, (of was it Albany) which was a four theater complex showing all sorts of movies. I would go mostly for the double bills. If I didn’t want to see one of the films, I would go over to another theater to see another film without hassle. It was in a industrial area, and due to the video era finally closed down. Even smaller was the Telegraph theater in Berkeley, two theaters, also double bills. You might miss it driving by, but its entrance was just a door which would lead upstairs. Sadly the Theater 70 in Oakland at McCarthur Broadway closed, but the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland was revised in the 80′s with its Wulitzer playing in the main theater. It is still there, but have not been there for 12 years, and am not sure if it is as Grand as it was in the 80′s. UC Berkeley theater re did itself in the 70′s, with a different show every day. The only problem I had with it was that they mostly showed the interesting obscure stuff on Weekdays, when I had school or work, and the main stream stuff on the Week End, though sometimes that wasn’t the case. It no longer has movies there. 

  • Bootsy

    The beautiful Alabama theater in downtown Birmingham, Ala.  Still there and I’m told is still showing movies.  We’d go on Saturday morning for a amateur show of kids dancing, singing or whatever,  That was the Mickey Mouse Club complete with a Mickey mascot and membership cards.  Then cartoons, newsreels, a first run movie, previews, and the last thing was a huge organ coming up out of the floor up to stage level played with great vigor and then when he went back down into the floor, the second showing would come on and we could stay as long as we wanted.  I think it cost a dime.
    They had a wonderful concessions stand, too,

  • Jpaf

    In Jersey City, NJ there were three major theaters at Journal Square.  Others abounded in each and every neighborhood, but the overall population felt that “dah Skwair” was the best place.  There was a small, non-descript place called THE State (UA/Disney), The Loew’s (MGM) which was very Rococo in style (outside looks like the theater on the left side of the sepia print above).  It was truly glamorous.  However, with no exception, the best was THE Stanley (Warner) designed like an Italian Villa.  There were stars (small lights) in the ceiling over which clouds (slide images) passed over when the flick was not actually running.  At present, the Loew’s is currently a triplex (being returned to a single or so it has been reported) and the Stanley is a J Witness center.  That theater is on the historical record and must be preserved.  However, due to their religion, the statues in the villa’s grove are covered over, but they must be kept in place.  When I used to teach film history, years ago, I always had a field trip set up and took the students to the Loew’s and Stanley so they would get to see what Movie Palaces really looked like (L- 1926 & S- 1929).  Montclair, NJ also had a nice spot – The Clairidge on Bloomfield Ave but it was, unfortunately turned into a triplex.  Never anywhere as elegant as the JC places, but much better then than it is now and the Cineplex junk looking spots.  What a shame that movie theater have become bland boxes!!!

  • Evevnyny

    the RKO Keiths in Flushing Queens , NICE !!!! ;) 

  • dog888k

    There is a parking lot now in Des Moines where the Capri Theatre once stood till the mid 80s.  The theatre was a fire trap (I thought), but once achieved some kind of fame for showing Sound of Music for Three years (65-68).

  • cinemabon

    Downtown Chicago had so many – The State, The Lake, The Oriental, The Cinestage, Granada, Biltmore, etc. Many were converted into other stores or torn down. Literally, hundreds of movie theaters closed starting in the early 1960′s through the 1980′s. The Oriental was refurbished and is now a legitimate theater that no longer shows movies. Either the State or the Lake are still standing and also no longer show films. The era of the big movie palaces with one screen are long, gone, and forgotten. But seeing a roadshow 70mm print on a movie palace was an event I will always cherish. I saw “2001″ at the Cinestage, August 1968 in 70mm with a reserved seat!

    • http://www.facebook.com/lloyd.rutzky Lloyd Rutzky

      I too remember all those downtown Chicago theaters, except for the Biltmore.  And the Granada was up north, on Sheridan road, a bit north of DeVon I believe.  I also saw “2001″ at the Cinestage with a reserved seat, in April.  And the fact that it was still there playing in August tells another story, that movies often played downtown, for many, many months, if they were hits, and they were only at that one downtown theater–There was none of this playing in 50 theaters in one city on its opening weekend.  Some of the other downtown theaters were the United Artists, the Woods, the  Roosevelt, the Loop, the Michael Todd, the Chicago (across the street from the State Lake) and the McVickers.

      • cinemabon

        See above post about another theater and just a side note about the Cinestage. When the film ended, we were not allowed to leave the theater as a huge protest rally filled the streets and the Army stood guard outside. We were told to exit into the alley. The following day, of course, all hell broke loose… “The whole world is watching… the whole world is watching…” The night the cops surrounded Grant Park and violated every part of the US Constitution – August 29, 1968

  • JIM DRISCOLL

    THE “TIME THEATER” ON WEST JEFFERSON ON THE EAST SIDE OF DETROIT, MICHIGAN, IS LONG GONE…NOW A PARKING LOT.  IT HAS BEEN GONE SINCE AROUND 1953.   3 FEATURES….FOR 9 CENTS, FOR A KID !!    UNTIL, ONE SATURDAY AFTERNOON, THE PRICE SKYROCKETED TO 11 CENTS, AND THERE I WAS …WITH A BARE MINIMUM 9 CENTS TO MY NAME.   15 BLOCKS TO GET HOME…AND GET THE DIFFERENCE.  BUT IT WAS STILL WORTH SEEING…….THE BOWERY BOYS…ABBOTT & COSTELLO….REX ALLEN….WHIP WILSON….THE EAST SIDE KIDS….TARZAN….JUNGLE JIM….CHARLES STARRETT AS “THE DURANGO KID”…….GOD  >>>>  HOW I MISS THOSE DAYS….!!!!!!!!!!!!!….JIM DRISCOLL

  • Barbaramoss1

    THE LOWES THEATER ON SECOND AVE BETWEEN 3RD AND 4TH STREET ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE OF MANHATTAN, WAS THE PLACE MY OLDER COUSIN JOEY TOOK ME EVERY SATURDAY MORNING AFTER TEMPLE.  FOR 25 CENTS WE WOULD SPEND THE REST OF THE DAY SEEING BUGS BUNNY CARTOONS, AND THEN A DOUBLE OF FEATURE.  I WAS 7 AND HE WAS NINE AND WE DIDN’T NEED A PARENT TO WATCH US.  THE LOWES WAS OUR SAFETY NET.   MAKING NOISE, RUNNING UP AND DOWN THE ISLES, EATING  CHOCOLATE COVERED RAISENETTES AND SOMETIMES WATCHING SOME CREEP GUY OFF THE KIDS SECTION SMOKE A CAMEL WHILE BOUNCING HIS HAND UP AND DOWN IN HIS LAP.  

    THE LOWES THEATER  BECAME MY SANCTUARY FROM THE STRESS AND POVERTY OF THE EAST VILLAGE.  A PLACE WHERE I COULD SMELL THE CELLULOID FILM RUN AROUND THE BIG SPHERES THAT HELD IT TIGHT IN THE BOOTH ABOVE OUR HEADS FLASHING A LIGHT THROUGH THE WALL AND ENLARGING LIFE AT ITS MOST MAGNIFICENT  ONTO THE BIG SCREEN, WHILE SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS LEAPED INTO MY HEART.THE LOWES THEATER WAS TURNED INTO PART OF NEW YORK UNIVERSITY OFFICES BUT THE REMNANTS OF MY MEMORIES STILL REMAIN.

    • Cyfairbob

      There was also a Loewe’s theater in downtown Houston when I was was growing up. It was one of those ornate palaces that started life as an opera / vaudeville house. It was really a class theater showing only first runfeatures. For what you described I had the Yale Taheater out in my neighborhood. On many Saturdays, my parents would drop me off there about 8:30am, and come back about 2-3:00pm. The Yale had a talent show, cartoons, and either a double or triple feature. Sometimes films fairly new, while some were 15-20 years old. My parents never had to worry about my safety, too. As times changed, the Yale, the post office, and another business were demolished and replaced by a bank.

  • cinemabon

    Was it the “Bismark” in downtown Chicago that became a furniture store? I think I saw “Camelot” there in the 1960′s and later, “Oliver” during its roadshow run, both probably in 70mm

  • Susan

    Being a child of California I have California memories that kind of collide with some of those of history, television recordings, and folklore. We couldn’t afford to see al lot of first run movies when I was a little girl in the 1950′s. So my dad would park the family car on Hollywood Boulevard and we would watch people walk along the sidewalks in front of all the theaters. A lot of them were dressed in their Sunday church finery, with Easter hats and powder that you could smell from our car. Others were wearing little camera straps around their necks like jewelry, and sun visors to keep them from burning up in summer heat. Every once in a while we would venture to the courtyard in front of my favorite theater, and we would spend the afternoon reading the cemented signatures of the stars. It was years before I could afford to buy a ticket to enjoy a film in Grauman’s Chinese Theater, but it was my favorite place in the whole world. We never called it Grauman’s, The Chinese Theater, or even Mann’s after it was sold. When Lucy stole John Wayne’s footprints, we knew about the courtyard layout and we could spot mistakes in Lucy’s script

    • cinemabon

      How very sad. I went to the first show of “Star Wars” on May 25, 1977… My buddy at the Hollywood Reporter called me at 6am, so I skipped work that day to attend the 10am show that only sold one quarter of the house. The preview was “Car Wash” and when the curtains closed, they started the dolby soundtrack that sounded like an orchestra behind the curtain. The theater opened the drapes to their full width for the Super Panavision 70mm print, the first time since “Caprice” in 1966, the last Cinemascope film prior to “Star Wars.”

  • Susan

    But Lucy was announcing to the world that she knew how special Grauman’s Chinese Theater was, so any errors in the courtyard geography was forgiven. It was forever our favorite theater in the whole world.

  • Richard

    As a kid in the early 1950s through the early 1960s I lived in the small town of Yardley, PA. I had to take the bus across the river to Trenton, NJ for my adventures in the movies. In1963 that all ended when we made a move to Los Angeles, CA.

    I believe all the cinemas I used to go to in Trenton are gone now. The names of these wonderful movie houses where I was thrilled so often were The RKO Capitol which showed lots of Action, Sci-Fi and Horror. I saw “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” in 3-D there and also the first James Bond film “Dr. No” in 1962. Also just up the street was the newsstand where I bought all my D.C. and Early Marvel comics and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines.

    The RKO Lincoln where I saw “The Guns of Navarone” and the RKO Trent where I think I saw “Bye Bye Birdie” which was the last movie I saw in Trenton before leaving to live on the West Coast.

    I also remember The Mayfair Theater where I saw “The Time Machine” and I think “The Longest Day”. These are now all only fantastic movie going experiences and memories from my childhood over 50 years ago. To me they now are remembered as The Good Old Days as we say.
    If anyone remembers these days in Trenton and would like to get in touch please feel free. rifkinhollypest@yahoo.com

  • jd

    Howard Theater on Howard near Paulina in the East Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago — no longer there (at least, as a theater) as far as I know. . . .

  • http://www.facebook.com/erwin.giesemanniii Erwin Kurt Giesemann III

    As a child I lived in Great Neck, Long Island. There were two movie theatres across the street from each other, the Skouras Squire and the Playhouse. We went often as the shows changed several times a week: Monday – Tuesday, Wednesday – Thursday, and Friday – Saturday – Sunday. They were the theatres where I first saw 3D, CinemaScope, VistaVision and all those crazy William Castle gimmicks.
    The next nearest theatre was the Little Neck, across Northern Boulevard in Queens. Here is where I saw my first foreign language film, the great Diabolique.
    Later we moved farther out on Long Island, to Brentwood which had no movie theatre. We had to bus it or get a ride from a parent to Bay Shore where there were two theatres on Main Street, the Bay Shore and the Regent. The Bay Shore was the bigger house where I saw Gypsy and The Music Man. Later in adult life I took a fling at acting and a picture I appeared in actually played the Regent. Gee, from audience to screen, Wow. Very Purple Rose of Cairo.
    I believe that, sadly, all these theatres are now gone, except for the Squire in Great Neck which has been twinned.

  • old guy in Ohio

    Almost all the old theatres are torn down in Youngstown Ohio are torn down. The State. Paramount. Palace, Regent, the Ritz. the Uptown, the Newport. All gone. The Warner is now Powers Auditorium. Its really sad that NO ONE stepped up to save these old buildings. They are still open in my memory. I can remember seeing Plan 9 From Outer Space with about six other B-horror movies (all on one day) at the Ritz in Struthers, Ohio. I didn’t even know how bad the movie was.Well , at least I remember old friends.

    • cinemabon

      What about the Ohio Theater in Columbus? In the 1970′s, I saw a refurbished version of “Lost Horizon” there and Frank Capra spoke afterward. The Ohio Theater is one of the most beautiful theaters ever built and should be on the National Registry as a historical landmark.

  • Gary Koca

    The Pickwick Theater, Park Ridge, Illinois, still standing. That is the theater where Siskel and Ebert filmed the opening segment of their show, At the Movies.

  • Jim B.

    The Orpheum Theater in Okmulgee, OK is still standing and still in operation. It opened as the Cook Theater in the early 30′s and has been in operation ever since. Used to go there as a kid in the 40′s, Saturday matinees were great. I later worked there in the 50′s putting up the letters on the marquee and unloading supply trucks.

  • MickeyD

    The Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, MN, built in 1926 in the Beaux Arts style, is the longest continuously running show house in the Twin Cities. It was restored in 1998 to its former glory. The antique chandeliers were found in the attic and restored, The orchestra pit, boarded up for decades, is now where the Mighty Wurlitzer organ resides. Every Friday and Saturday night the organist plays show tunes before the movie. This theater oozes class, and my husband and I always choose it over the multiplexes in town.

    • GeorgeDAllen

      Gorgeous; here’s a good view of the interior: http://www.heightstheater.com/imgs/photos/aud-2005-lg.jpg

      I like how they are involved in repertory screenings of a wide variety, everything from classic oldies to Crispin Glover’s (wild and crazy and certainly not-for-everyone) one-man shows.

  • Junior52MI

    the Michigan Theater in Muskegon, Michigan. In the 1970′s the town had just opened a new downtown mall and the Michigan was to be torn down to make a covered parking structure. Residents and local businessmen took it upon themselves to prevent the theater from being torn down. it is now known as the Fruenthal Center for the Performing Arts. It’s interior has undergone an extensive multi-million dollar renovation. The interior has been brought back to the same as it was when the theater was in it’s fullest glory back into the 1930′s.

  • kmcc

    2 of my favorite theaters are long gone. The small neighborhood Eastwood Theater in Penn Hills PA where I saw a huge number of films in my youth and the large Liberty Theater in East Liberty PA with it’s huge US flag marquee made up of colored bulbs that was capable of actually looking like it was waving overhead. Those were great times with 2 or 3 movies at a sitting. Thanks, Dad for taking me to so many,many movies. (he is gone now too, like the theater’s of my youth)

  • desertwinds

    Basically no but the marquee was left outside the building says “Garden Theater” and inside they made it a mini strip mall, with a burger king and some other stuff, just can’t bring myself
    to go in there after they tore out the guts over a weekend, and then ended up with this
    abomination, thank s to all the developers and money mongers in San Jose Ca. for taking
    another one of my childhood memories, of fun matinees on Saturday afternoon, and laying
    waste to this great little place with art deco paintings, velveteen seats, and generally a great
    motiff, to bad.

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