Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bring Back the Movie Palaces

   Visitors to today's multiplex cinemas are being deprived of the full movie experience. Tiered seating and Dolby sound don't really makeup for the lack of architectural embellishment in the average mall movie theater. The movie theater was once a place to fully escape the real world by spending a short time in a fantasy environment. Copying the eleaborate opera houses of the pre-film era, the movie theater used murals, scrollwork and chandeliers to create an exotic atmosphere of style and elegance. Here are some examples of some of our cinematic palaces.

Gaiety Theatre, Strand, London 1809 - Opera houses favored outthrust stages and numerous boxes

Opera House Proscenium

Interior of Lexington Opera House, 1898

Metropolitan Opera House for a concert by pianist Josef Hofmann, Nov. 28, 1937

RKO Keith's Theatre - Many movie theaters were created by converting an opera house.

The smell of hot buttered popcorn and the sweet taste of Milk Duds are as irresistable today as in the past. Most modern theaters make most of their profits from the concessions so it costs a lot more to satisfy those cravings.

Five Flags Theater Dubuque, Iowa

Roxy Theater, New York

Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood - Possibly the most well-known theater in America because of the famous footprints in its courtyard.

Grauman's Egyptian Theater, Hollywood - Not too many people know that Graumann's has another themed theater just down the street.

Rex Theater, Hannibal MO - Not every community could support an elaborately-decorated theater and people had to settle for a much more modest facility.

Loew's Theater, Louisville, Kentucky

Radio City Music Hall interior

RKO Keith's Theatre - Syracuse, NY

Men's Lounge - RKO Keith's Theatre

Theatre Row, Broad Street,  Richmond, VA

Lobby of Fox Theater, Visalia, CA

Warners' Theater before the premiere of Don Juan with John Barrymore. New York, Aug. 6, 1926

Pacific's Cinerama Dome Theater - By the 1960s, theaters were were being designed in a more modern style.

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