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The venue operated about 20 years as Teatro Victory playing films for Hispanic audiences.
Closed. Was briefly renamed in the early sound era as the Imperial Theatre (and not to be confused with the silent-era Teatro Imperial) from 1931 to 1932. Was renamed under a new operator as the New Victory Theatre in January of 1932. Current status is closed.
Regal permanently closed here on November 10, 2022
The $30 million multi-use Hollywood Galaxy project was announced in March of 1987. General Cinema Corporation (GCC) decided to put its stake in the ground just a block and escalator ride up from the venerable Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Making way for the project was the 1919-built Garden Court apartment building - declared a monument and historic landmark in 1981 and then declared an obstacle in the revitalization of Hollywood in 1984 when preservationists lost a hard fought battle to save the neo-baroque complex after it had been unceremoniously stripped of its historic landmark status.
The home that was once home to Lillian Gish, Laurel & Hardy, Mack Sennett and others could at least play those folks' films nearly five years later as the General Cinema Hollywood Galaxy 6 when it finally launched on November 29, 1991. The best value by far that day was a 70mm double-feature of “Alien” and “Aliens” in a THX certified house. Wow! But with the multiplex era soon giving way to the megaplex era, General Cinema would go into freefall collapse watching cinema chains enter the market that decimated the GCC business plan. GCC dropped the “6” from ads as six-plexes were no longer drawing cards, especially with paid parking lots that were sometimes hard for folks to find.
AMC took on the struggling General Cinema Galaxy on April 4, 2002 along with the lion’s share of GCC properties around the country. The theater chain had just 73 theaters representing 677 screens nationwide in December of 2001 when AMC purchased the circuit - that was down precipitously from the 350 theater locations with some 1,500 screens that GCC operated just 15 years earlier according to its annual financial report. After the GCC buyout was approved in 2002, AMC exercised patience at the Hollywood venue before permanently jettisoning it from our galaxy on December 4, 2003.
If remembered, the Hollywood Galaxy was an early effort that helped revitalize what had become a seedy area in Hollywood as even the once-opulent Garden Court had been nicknamed a flop house called “Hotel Hell.” But the movie house would be undercut by a higher visibility annex to the Chinese Theatre in Mann’s Chinese 6, the revamping of the El Capitan Theatre, and the major efforts to keep the Chinese Theatre, itself, vibrant.
The entirety of the entry above submitted by Jeff Chapman reads as one sentence, “The Boulevard Theatre was opened on May 17, 1945, and was part of the Boulevard Shopping Center.” Just to add some additional information here, Fox Midwest Theatres had announced the new Boulevard Theatre in January of 1941. (The entry erroneously lists Fox Theatres of Reading, PA - an unrelated company.)The Boulevard was billed as Wichita’s first suburban theater in which there would be a parking spot for each theatre patron. Architect Glenn Thomas’ original design was done in Spanish Colonial to match the neighborhood’s existing structures while also having Old West elements from the nearby Chisholm Trail as accents.
The U.S. entry into World War II delayed the project significantly even though the project was granted a waiver exemption due to the aviation plant in town. The venue finally opened on May 17, 1945 likely on a 20-year leasing agreement with Betty Grable in Billy Rose’s “Diamond Horseshoes.” The theater’s curtain featured a scene from the Chisholm Trail with a cowboy pursuing a steer. A decorative map by Robert T. Atchinson hung in the lobby showing the path of that Trail.
The theater was joined by a shopping strip called the George Washington Boulevard Shopping Plaza in 1949. One of the longest-running stores there was McMullen Jewelry which stayed for some 70 years. The theater building, however, remained an outparcel to the Plaza until it was joined by nine other stores in an expansion in 1956 called the Boulevard Shops. The theater took on a more modern Colonial Revival to match the other stores that extended perpendicularly to the cinema. It was transitioned to widescreen projection in January of 1954 to present CinemaScope films to remain viable.
Delaware-based National Theatre and Television (N.T.&T) took on the Fox Midwest locations morphing to National General Corporation (NGC) during 1963. In 1973, the NGC circuit more known as National General was taken on by Mann Theatres which assumed operation of the Boulevard Theatre. The Bouleveard, Mall, and Fox Twin were among 25 Mann locations sold to the Dickinson Operating Company effective on February 1, 1980. Dickinson Theatres closed the Boulevard Theatre likely at the end of a second 20-year lease on February 2, 1984 with Al Pacino in “Scarface.”
The former theater space was converted into a short-lived Gold’s Gym followed a very brief Ulitmated Bodies Gym in 1987. The venue became headquarters for the Amateur Poker League in the 2000s. In March of 2009, it became the Boulevard Banquet Hall. The venue then became a live performance space called The Boulevard in 2011 closing about a year later. It was then utilized by NetSystems, an Internet company. The building may be vacant as of the 2020s. In 2022, perhaps as an homage to the long-standing theater, the Towne West Mall’s long-running cinema was renamed as the Boulevard Theatres.
Capacity here doesn’t match details. TCL Chinese (1-)6 Theatres originally seated 1,446 at its November 9, 2001 launch as Mann Chinese 6. Adding auditorium “7” - the original screen - seating 932 in its IMAX conversion in Sept. 2013 would take capacity at that time to 2,378 (if I’m understanding the entry above)..
In TCL’s $2-million refresh of Auditorium 2 to MX4D motion effect seating in December 2017, the capacity of auditorium 2 was reduced to 102. This would take TCL Chinese Theatres 1-6 to - at most - a capacity of 1,371 and with IMAX auditorium 7 (the original screen) at 932 taking capacity of the so-called seven-plex to 2,303.
In terms of naming, Mann operated the new six-plex theatre separately at its 2001 launch as Mann’s Chinese 6 at 6801 H'wood Blvd. and retained the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre moniker for the venerable 6925 H-Blvd venue . So wouldn’t this facility be also known as something like Grauman’s Chinese Theatre | Mann’s Chinese 6 or Mann’s Chinese 6 & Grauman’s Chinese theaters - or some such - for its 12 years of operating the then separate houses?
Finally, shouldn’t the address of the so-called seven-plex be altered to 6801 & 6925 Hollywood Boulevard? The venues are in multiple buildings and the current address misses the preponderance of auditoriums and overall capacity (possibly 1,371 of the 2,303 seats if the details are correct).
…and the website listed here is not correct
Emma H. Dodd had the first true new-build movie theater in Wichita built in 1908 across the street from the family’s Elite Theatre operated by William H. Marple in 1908. Dodd fronted the $15,000 venue and Marple added $6,000 in equipment to start and run the new 600-seat Maple Theatre. Marple must have been pleased that it was called the nicest movie house in the West at that time by the local press. Although that point was debatable, the Grand Opening date was not. The Marple launched October 1, 1908. D.W. Griffith’s “Ingomar, the Barbarian” was on the big screen. Bertha Koshler was at the keyboard with Persis Gardner as the vocalist and Sam W. Jones was the chef narrator explaining aspects the silent films.
Arthur and Blanche Ford assumed control of the venue and vaudeville was more heavily added to the programming mix along with film. In 1925, Mr. T.H. and Mrs. Merta E. Slothower took on the venue. 1927 was a year of transition in the film industry with sound exhibition in demand. The Holland Theatre operators decided to close. The State Theater had closed elsewhere in town. To save costs, apparently, the Marple had gone to non-union labor which caused protestations that likely didn’t help its standing as an aging movie theater. It wasn’t the first dance that the Marple had with union workers; in 1922, the venue was picketed and bombs were allegedly planted by activists. On December 27, 1927, the refreshed Marple reopened as the still silent State Theatre with Constance Talmadge in “Venus of Venice.” Vaudeville had been completely removed from the programming at the State. The theater used an Electrola to provide music - likely not pleasing the union folks. And it likely used a repurposed State Theatre sign.
The State closed but reopened with Vitaphone sound on March 6, 1930 for the Slothowers. By decade’s end, the Slothowers would build the Sandra and Southern theaters locally in 1939. They then gave the State, apparently, a much-needed streamline moderne makeover for its relaunch on January 25, 1948. After a period of inactivity, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ross of the Kansas City Strand Theatre took on the venue rebranding it as the Vogue Art Cinema for adult audiences. The seating ws dropped to 400 for or the reboot on September 2, 1966 and the entire theater was modernized with wood paneling hiding the theater’s past. Under manager George Kirk, the business was raided five times by Vern Miller’s request early in 1977 with the final one on February 10, 1977 that would end the Vogue Art’s film run.
The instrument of choice for the Warwick Theatre was the American Fotoplayer by the American Photo Player Company.
The instrument of choice for the Holland Theatre was the American Fotoplayer by the American Photo Player Company.
John G. Holland launched his Holland Theatre on July 27, 1914. Holland charged five cents on a grind policy with programming about 45 minutes of films that played continuously from morning till midnight. Holland left the theater in a year but it carried on with his name for more than 13 years. Owners including Charles Bull, D.J. Piatt, and C.L. Brosius tried to make a winner out of the silent-era movie house with middling results.
Likely knowing that the cost of sound installation was too great, the venue closed late in 1927 despite a lease that ran until 1939. The space was retrofitted as a clothing store called The Fields. The building has since been demolished.
R.R. Gunby and C.L. Hannon opened the West Theater on August 22, 1924 with Dorothy Mackaill in “Mighty Lak-A-Rose” supported by Gilbert Holmes in “Hello Pardner.” They operated on a five year lease from building owner and local real estate person, Fred Farmer. O.F. Sullivan took on the venue, likely on a 25-year leasing agreement with Farmer, closing it throughout May of 1928 to reverse the seating and give the house a needed refresh. That refresh was, in the eyes of a local critic, “as pretty as a little red wagon.” A year later, in June of 1929, Sullivan equipped the theater for sound for the venue to remain viable.
Sullivan and his wife would acquire other local theaters under his Sullivan Independent Theatres Circuit nameplate. Sullivan downgraded the West to a third-tier discount house with all seats just a quarter in its final stage of operation. Sullivan closed the West Theatre (nicknamed “The Little Dreamhouse”) on December 13, 1953 with “Texas Stampede” with Charles Starrett and Dick Sands in “Phantom From Space” supported by a cartoon and a newsreel. The space had been a retail location prior to becoming a theater and transitioned back to retail location following its nearly 30-year run as a theater.
Harold and Alice deGraw of the Oneonta Theatre launched the first and only new hardtop theater in 58 years at 11-15 Elm on November 20, 1970 with Spencer Tracy and a cast of many in the Showcase Cinema’s opening film of “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.” Prior to launch, the deGraws consummated a deal to have the venue operated by Boston-based Esquire Theatres of America. The theater fulfilled its 30-year lease before closing.
The Maxey Theatre launched December 7, 1922 with Norma Talmadge in “The Eternal Flame.” Following its renaming as the Palace Theatre, it would end on May 11, 1966 with “The Group” before being demolished for a new bank.
The Dunbar Theatre was at least Wichita’s second African American movie house. In the silent era, the Melrose turned Gilpin Theatre had launched on Main Street in 1921. It has its own Cinema Treasure page. The Dunbar Theatre launched for American Enterprises Inc. Circuit on August 15, 1941. The opening program featured Dorothy Lamour on the “Road to Zanzibar,” Mantan Moreland in 1941’s “The Gang’s All Here,” and a cartoon. The venue had Brenkert projectors and RCA sound at launch. Economical design by architect Raymond M. Harmon maximized safety and space usage in the 500-seat venue. The Dunbar was named for poet / author Paul Laurence Dunbar.
The venue at North Cleveland Street represented a shift of the hub of African American commerce and nightlife. That hub once existed from Water and South Main but began to gravitate to the North End / McKinley Park Neighborhood - especially on and near the Main Street area of the Neighborhood that thrived into the 1920s. Fading due to the Depression, the hub of African American nightlife moved slightly northward to Cleveland and Ninth Street area. (The North End / McKinley Park Neighborhood are known now as Old Town and McAdams neighborhoods.)
The Dunbar Theatre was taken on by Dickinson Theatres during World War II. The Dunbar participated in a city-wide World War II patriotic visit by Dororthy “Dottie” Lamour who came to Wichita on April 26, 1942 as part of the Victory Pledge campaign that also timed out with her feature film, “The Fleet’s In.” A neighboring ice cream parlor and nearby drug store served as de facto concession stands for many patrons prior to or after Dunbar movies, live shows, or community events.
Dickinson sold or leased the venue in 1948 - likely the latter as a 15-year subleasing agreement - to independent interests. The theatre continued to 1963. A downturn in the area led to the vacant property being condemned by the City of Wichita - a certain goner several time during and after urban renewal in which many similar era structures were eradicated. But the Dunbar remarkably staved off demolition due to great work by the community to save the historically relevant former theater. Starting in 1990, the building was designated as a local landmark and, in 2008, it was listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Power CDC purchased the Dunbar at auction for $25,000 and has been renovating the property since.
The building has been given vibrant murals on its outside, an infrastructure change on its interior, and a restoration of its marquee, attractor, and vertical blade. LK Architects created a design to move the gutted building into a vibrant arts center dedicated to African-American heritage in the Wichita area. Status - renovating.
The Crawford Theater’s final show was Walt Disney’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and Betty Grable in “Three for the Show” on January 2, 1956. A salvage sale started the day after with a treasure trove of hidden ephemera uncovered prior to the theater’s demolition. The local press opined that the Crawford’s two biggest blows occurred when talkies were installed in Wichita in 1928 leading to the live venue’s conversion from top tier live showplace to second-tier movie house in 1930 and the demolition ball that crushed the venue in February of 1956.
Fox Midwest closed the Wichita Theatre at the end of a leasing period on November 30, 1960 with “Ten Who Dared” and “The Half Pint.” The building was demolished in July of 1970.
Slothower Theatre Circuit opened the 800-car Derby Drive-In in diminutive Mulvane, Kansas, on June 12, 1956 with “The Last Hunt” and “On the Threshold of Space.” Commonwealth took on the venue and first close the venue following the 1964 season.
Commonwealth retained the lease and decided to relight the Derby in 1969 relaunching with “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Green Berets” on June 20, 1969. That didn’t go so well and Commonwealth closed following the 1969 season. Robert Howard reopened the Derby one final time on May 24, 1973 as the Country Drive-In Theatre. It closed after the 1974 season and was auctioned off in December of 1974. It was demolished and the entry is best left as the Derby Drive-In formerly known as the Country Drive-In.
Commonwealth closed the ozoner on August 19, 1979 with a double feature of “The Warriors” and “Up in Smoke.” The property was embroiled in a zoning debate over the next four years as the property owner tried to create a mobile home park after having the screen tower demolished after the final season. (Also, it was never the Country Drive-In Theatre - that was the Derby Drive-In that turned to the Country moniker.)
The Roxy exits Wichita’s downtown with Azteca Studio Films on April 15, 1956 and a double feature “Historia de un Corazón” with Rosario Granados and “Los hijos de María Morale” with Irma Durantes. The building was converted that year for other purposes and later razed.
Operators Woody Barritt and Al McClure left Fox Midwest to operate this venue. They closed it on August 13, 1972 with John Wayne in “The Cowboys” and Dick Van Dyke in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” The pair auctioned off the the remnants of the drive-in to raze the Rainbow Drive-In in favor of the rebuilt Landmark Twin Drive-In (later Starlite).
Commonwealth made news by opening Wichita’s first hardtop theater since 1952 and did so with the city’s first twin-screen indoor venue. Opening as the Twin Lakes Theaters 1 & 2, Commonwealth featured “The Odd Couple” on June 12, 1968 with Miss America Debra Barnes in attendance.
In 1988, United Artists acquired Commonwealth. But in the multiplex era, UA was trying to rid itself of aging singles, doubles, and triples. It dropped the venue on October 24, 1990. Richard Durwood’s Crown Cinema Corporation took on the venue the next month as the Twin Lakes Cinema. Crown and Durwood closed it as the Twin Lakes Cinema with Eddie Murphy in “The Distinguished Gentleman” and Richard Pryor in “The Toy” on January 21, 1993 citing low attendance and reaching the end of its 25-year lease.
The two sentence entry above as submitted by Cactus Jack notes that the Palace was open in 1957 and had been closed in 1958. For more detailed history of the Palace, it is provided below:
The Palace Theater opened on a ten-year lease by Southwest Amusement Circuit on January 17, 1916 with Frank Keenan in “The Crowd" supported by Fatty Arbuckle in “Fatty’s Fickle Fall.” P. Hans Flath was at the $10,000 pipe organ that night. It was the Boller Brothers. design that set the theater apart in the first generation of movie theaters with their creative use of terra cotta, stained glass windows, and great quantities of marble. It was organist Flath who would become a star over the next five plus years at the keyboard. Flath would move to the new Miller Theatre playing its mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. The Palace hire Don Williams as his replacement. Southwest Amusement would re-up the lease for an eye-popping $500,000 over 20 years in 1925.
Southwest Amusement and “Doc” Miller operated the downtown movie palaces including his Miller, the Palace and the Wichita until selling his entire 50-theater Midwest Theatre Company to Fox Theatres in 1929. Likely, the cost of transitioning to sound was a challenge although The Palace had the distinction under Midwest and Miller of having been the first Wichita theater to wire for sound on May 14, 1928 with the film, “When a Man Loves” and short subjects. (Note: though the film was without dialogue, the film was the third Warner Bros. feature with a pre-recoded disc soundtrack.)
The Palace’s pipe organ - presumably an Austin Organ Co. make - was de-installed and donated to Friends University in 1938 during a streamline makeover. The Palace Theatre was known as “the House of Hits” and Fox Midwest re-upped for a final 20-year lease in 1945. Fox ran the venue until selling it to Sullivan Independent Theatres in 1953. Sullivan converted the Palace to widescreen for presentation of CinemaScope titles in 1954.
The Palace closed in style with “Mutiny on the Bounty” on April 27, 1963 following a road show engagement. Competition from suburban theaters with free parking and drive-in theaters led to its closure. Sullivan carried on with the downtown Crest until selling it to Commonwealth in December of 1963 after almost 40 years of theatrical operations in Wichita. The Palace reached expiry of lease as a vacant building in 1965 eyed as the City tried to go through urban renewal in its central business district. The Palace was razed in a botched demolition job in 1966 with the walls prematurely collapsing - although there were no injuries. It was replaced by a parking lot.
Closed September 2, 1979 with a Disney double-feature of “The Jungle Book” and “Unidentified Flying Oddball”. A classified ad listed the theater contents for sale just prior to its demolition
The Meadowlark Twin Theatre closed for the season on September 19, 1982 with “Night Shift,” “Arthur” and “Caddyshack” on Screen I and “Sorceress,” “Death Race 2000,” and “Death Sport” on Screen II. The Meadowlark Twin was demolished in 1983 replaced by the Georgetown Village retirement community.