Comments from dallasmovietheaters

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dallasmovietheaters commented about AMC Dine-In Grapevine Mills 30 on Dec 1, 2021 at 7:52 am

The AMC Grand 24 Theatres in Dallas had opened May 19, 1995 and was such an immediate, bombshell hit that it spurred a megaplex boom in the DFW area and beyond. Three projects would be announced by AMC that ramped up screen count to 30 in Mesquite, Grapevine, and Frisco, Texas (that latter of which was later changed to an interior 24-screen venue). In Grapevine, it was August of 1995 when the Mills Corp. announced a mammoth outlet mall. It was the eighth for Mills, called Grapevine Mills. It was another of its concept destination centers that already existed including the St. Louis Mills, the Gurnee Mills near Chicago, Potomac Mills in Virginia, Franklin Mills in Philadelphia, and joining projects on the books including the Ontario Mills, Concord Mills, Arundel Mills, and Katy Mills complexes.

Grapevine Mills featured six neighborhoods in a circular race track layout with two pass through stores allowing quicker north to south pedestrian travel. Entertainment and food would be a key concept and AMC got an outparcel location it was calling the AMC Odyssey 30 just yards away from the Mills' North entry/exit by the Sega GameWorks arcade. The space-themed AMC venue by RTKL Associates had a playful 80-foot space themed attractor.

Further food and entertainment steps away included a Virgin Megastore with CDs and DVDs, the Jekyll & Hyde Club / Eerie World theme restaurant featuring animatronic puppets from horror films including those from “Killer Klowns from Outer Space,” the Stockyards Food Court, and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Café. An amazing iWerks Extreme Screen Theater was also planned for the Grapevine Mills to present educational films. However it was scrapped during the planning stages of the complex.

The 6,360-seat AMC Mesquite 30 - which had a rustic, western theme - and the AMC Odyssey 30 - which had the space-aged theme - were cousins with 6,360-seat capacity and the auditroia ranging from 118 to 603 patrons. So similar were the two theaters that the AMC Mesquite 30 employees were sent to Grapevine Mills to train there when the Mesquite project fell eight months behind schedule. AMC changed the name of the Grapevine location from the Odyssey to the AMC Grapevine Mills 30 just months prior to the opening. It would do the same for other Odyssey projects though some such as the AMC Oakview 24 in Omaha still had Odyssey exterior signage.

AMC Grapevine Mills 30 blasted off on December 19, 1997. Despite the name change, auxiliary concession stands were still named as the “Big Dipper” and “Little Dipper,” planetary signage was above many auditorium entries, a galactic ceiling motif was in evidence, and the cinema’s arcade room at launch was known as the “Galactic Gallery.” And it was hard to miss the aforementioned large attractor in the front with its AMC globe. But straight movie going was not the ticket at the end of the 2000’s opening decade as overbuilding of megaplexes and aging multiplexes allowed start-ups to take closed cinemas and create full kitchen and bars that challenged multiplexes. Cinema Grill, Movie Tavern and Studio Movie Grill were just a few of those upstart circuits.

Revenues were fading to the point that AMC’s Grand did the unthinkable bolting at a 15-year leasing option point while the Grapevine Mills rocket engine was sputtering with revenues down 40% from 2003 to 2010. The side concession stands had been taken out of commission at the Mills due to decreased foot traffic and demand. In Summer of 2010, the east concession stand would be renovated out and replaced with a full-service kitchen. That would coincide with 13 auditoriums in the kitchen’s stratosphere getting major renovations as part of a $7.5 million overhaul reducing seating and allowing for in-theater ordering and consumption. Eight cinemas were branded as Fork and Screen auditoriums and five were Cinema Suites. The arcade alcoves would also be renovated out and would help create the MacGuffins Bar with big screen TVs. And 35mm projectors were mostly phased out as digital projection would now be in all 30 screens instead of select screens. The venue became the AMC Dine-In Grapevine Mills 30.

Both the AMC Mesquite and Grapevine Mills had also taken their largest screens and designated them as IMAX experience auditoriums. While these screens were derided by many as “faux Max” screens, they added branding and additional revenue to the location with upcharged admission pricing. The retrofitting nationwide for AMC was in high gear when Dalian Wanda Group of China bought AMC in 2012. Recliners became the thing greatly reducing seat count and more Fork and Screens would be built including the south screens at the AMC Mesquite 30 in 2013/2014.

For both the Grapevine Mills and Mesquite, the main and only-used concession areas received high-tech self-serve Coca-Cola mixing stations and Icee drink dispensers. Another large auditorium became identified at each 30-plex as an AMC Prime / AMC Dolby Cinema theatre. In 2019, AMC began to convert the west side concession stand at Grapevine Mills to a full-serve kitchen. But when COVID-19 hit, the project was scrapped and the theatre continued with 13 upgraded seat option auditoriums, two large screen upcharge options, and basically the original auditoriums on the opposite end.

AMC Dine-In Grapevine Mills 30 closed along with the rest of the circuit on March 16, 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Seven DFW locations reopened August 20, 2020 with a 15 cent night as the AMC was also celebrating its 100th Anniversary year of operation (when combined with Dubiknsy Bros.). Grapevine and Mesquite were two on the list. As the 2020s continued, both 30-screeners in DFW tried to remain viable without squandering increasingly scarce facility enhancement budgets especially when Dalian Wanda Group sold off the AMC circuit in 2021.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Bertrand Theatre on Nov 29, 2021 at 11:07 pm

The New Victory Theatre was announced in 1919 as a major addition to Minor Avenue as Victor Peterson was taking an existing building and creating a 350-seat theatre. Peterson had previously programmed the once-weekly films screening at the Bertrand Opera House. But when the owners demanded much higher rental costs in 1919, Peterson balked and moved to a former drug store.

The former retail spot opened as the New Victory Theatre on September 26, 1919 with “Romeo and Juliet.” In February of 1920, Peterson changed the name to the Victor Theatre. The Bertrand Theatre opened April 14, 1931 with “The Passion Flower.” It was taken on after being dark as the Victor Theatre which closed as a silent film house on September 21, 1929 and was briefly reopened in 1930 before failing. The name was changed to The Bertrand Theatre beginning April 14, 1931 with “The Passion Flower.”

In 1951, the theatre closed due to competition from television. It eked along with free merchant screenings and agricultural demonstrations until final closure as a movie venue on December 23, 1955 with “So This is Paris.”

dallasmovietheaters commented about Jewel Theatre on Nov 29, 2021 at 9:39 pm

J.W. Hoffman launched the new-build Jewel Theatre in Havelock on June 7, 1923 with Lydia Knott in Booth Tarkington’s “The Flirt.” The Luce Sisters provided the music. The theatre appears to have closed in 1928 failing to convert to sound and challenged by the Joyo and the new-build New Lyric. In 1937, the former Jewel Theatre was converted to an auto garage for the Jones Motor Company.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Joyo Theatre on Nov 29, 2021 at 9:24 pm

The New Lyric Theatre launched on February 17, 1928 with Marie Provost in “The Rush Hour.” It became the Former Lyric Theatre (true!) on August 5, 1936 for three weeks when veteran Havelock theatre owner Robert E. Wintersteen took on the venue on July 21, 1936. He staged a naming contest as Former Lyric Theatre just seemed odd.

The winner of the contest was Mrs. Robert Sterkle who suggested the (New) Havelock Theatre. She won tickets for two for an entire year. Second place winner, Edith Cassady, chose the Ballard Theatre for which she won a 17-pound Morrill’s Prize Ham. Third place winner Mrs. Otto Bloom’s entry of Shoptown Theatre receiving a 48-pound of flour (brand unknown at this time). And fourth prize went to Mrs. Art Anderson who suggested the North Side Theatre who got a case of canned goods (again, exact items are unknown at this time).

“Slim” Frasier of the Joyo Theatre across the street had seen enough. He came up with a business proposal essentially to merge the two theatres on November 28, 1936. He immediately closed the former Lyric turned Former Lyric turned Havelock Theatre and did a major refresh at the Havelock including adding a cry room, improving ventilation and likely moving his sound system from the old Joyo to the new Joyo.

The soon-to-be-former Joyo Theatre location closed permanently on January 18, 1937 with “Satan Met a Lady.” Slim reopened in the newer-build “new” Joyo Theatre on January 20, 1937 with “Three Cheers for Love.” Frasier then equipped the theatre for CinemaScope on February 12, 1954 with “The Robe.”

The venue still was around in the 2020s.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Joyo Theatre on Nov 29, 2021 at 8:55 pm

W.J. Vallery opened this O Street theatre namelessly on June 4, 1912 with a naming contest, motion pictures, and Webster’s Orchestra furnishing the music. Frank McCoy was the lucky naming contest winner earning $5 for the clever Joy-O or Joy Theatre on O Street while second place winner Stanley Webster suggested the Evergood Theatre receiving $2. The theatre would lose the hyphen over time going by Joyo Theatre and The Joyo. The only other dedicated Havelock movie theatre was the Happy Hour Theatre on N Street. But there was no more joy when the Happy Hour Theatre closed just prior to Christmas on 1912 after just under two years of operation.

Roy Headrick took on the Joyo and would buy out the Jewell Theatre in 1926 which had launched on June 4, 1923. Charles Clarence “C.C” / “Slim” Frasier purchased the theatre in 1926 and would move the venue across the street to the 1928-built Lyric Theatre. He would give the Joyo one last overhaul including improved ventilation and Largen sound in 1936. Slim Frasier closed the Joyo on January 18, 1937 following showings of Bette Davis in “Satan Met a Lady” supported by a cartoon and an oddity.

He then transitioned the theatre across the street relaunching at the new Joyo Theatre on January 20, 1937 with “Three Cheers for Love.” Frasier would go on to add widescreen there to present CinemaScope titles beginning on February 12, 1954.

dallasmovietheaters commented about AMC Oak View 16 on Nov 27, 2021 at 10:05 am

Closed as the AMC Oakview Plaza 24. Its former name was the AMC Oak View 24. It was never called the AMC Oak View 16.

dallasmovietheaters commented about AMC Oak View 16 on Nov 27, 2021 at 9:16 am

The AMC Oakview Plaza 24 from a realtor’s website selling the building in 2020

dallasmovietheaters commented about AMC Oak View 16 on Nov 27, 2021 at 9:13 am

Layout of the AMC Oakview Plaza 24

dallasmovietheaters commented about B.B. Theatre on Nov 27, 2021 at 8:09 am

The Palm turned B.B. Theatre’s opening film was “Kiki” with Norma Talmadge on July 15, 1926.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Studio Movie Grill Chisholm Trail on Nov 23, 2021 at 9:50 am

The re-opening date was announced December 24, 2021.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Jasper Theatre on Nov 23, 2021 at 7:27 am

The Jasper Theatre closed late in 1932 and reopened less than a year later under the new ownership of Robert Turner on August 18, 1933 - likely with a new sound system. The theatre runs continuously and has RKO films booked and advertised in all of the years from 1933 to 1936. Not sure what evidence exists that the theatre was closed from 1933 to 1936.

dallasmovietheaters commented about National Theatre on Nov 23, 2021 at 7:13 am

Please replace the above with:

The National Theatre launched in downtown Wilmington on March 9, 1916 showing movies and live vaudeville. It was the second theatre trying to reach an African American clientele after the Strand opened in 1909 and had little success. The National, however, connected with the community becoming a long-running African American movie theatre under the operation of John O. and Josephine Hopkins. Hopkins had been on the Wilmington City Council since 1913 and would serve 16 consecutive terms before retiring in 1945. The National converted to sound to remain viable and played a wide array of films including one starring Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, and Lena Horne.

The National Theatre (and sometimes called the National Auditorium) served as a place for worship on Sundays, hosted live sporting events on its stage, had political rallies and civil rights presentations, and hosted many dances and live musicians including Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. The National operated until a replacement theatre was built nearby - the Hopkins Theatre. That theatre was drawn up in 1945 but didn’t open until the early 1950s.

The final films to play at the National were on May 22, 1951 with a continuous double-feature that grinded from 10a until well after midnight of “S.O.S. Submarine” and “Helltown.” The Hopkins couple along with their son, John O., Jr., launched the new-build Hopkins Theatre on May 23, 1951. The National was converted to a short-lived dance hall called Danceland.

Parking was an issue for the Hopkins so a decision was made to tear down the National and three adjoining buildings in 1955 for a parking garage. But the Hopkins Theatre was heading for closure and the garage didn’t help that theater survive. It went out of business in 1958 and both the replacement parking garage and theHopkins Theatre would be demolished in 1965 as part of the city’s Civic Center urban renewal project.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Benson Theatre on Nov 21, 2021 at 9:32 pm

The Benson Theatre opened in December of 1911. It appears to have closed October 30, 1958

dallasmovietheaters commented about Jasper Theatre on Nov 21, 2021 at 8:24 am

The Jasper Theatre was announced in 1929 by Will Richards and on a lot adjoining the Masonic Temple. It appears to have opened June 13, 1929 with “Riley, the Cop.” It appears to have closed October 30, 1982 with “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”

The town’s other venue, the Lyric Theatre launched August 20, 1927 as a silent movie house in downtown Jasper with Jack Hoxie and Rex, the Wonder Horse, in “Rough and Ready” supported by the Warner short, “What’s Your Hurry” plus a newsreel. It hosted African American film nights and survived to the end of 1928.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Rialto Theatre on Nov 21, 2021 at 7:45 am

The Wehrley Theatre opened July 29, 1926 with Betty Compton in “The Pony Express” and a capacity crowd. Trouble was ahead when there was an unpaid note for the theater’s 1930 transition to BesTone Sound. The theatre relaunched under new management as the Rialto Theatre on July 29, 1933 with Lee Tracy in “Blessed Event.” The theatre switched to widescreen presentations in 1954 becoming the Arnold Theatre on November 27, 1954 with “The Mad Magician.” It reopened with volunteers at Arnold’s Rialto Theatre on April 10, 2010 with sub-run discount films. It later switched to digital projection and first-run films in its mix.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Strand Theatre on Nov 21, 2021 at 7:45 am

The Brach Theatre opened with a Louis the XIVth style on October 2, 1916 with Orrin Johnson starring in “The Light at Dusk” showing on the Gold Fibre screen. The $8,000 pipe organ wowed as did the terra cotta front and interior marble work. C.W. Martin took on the venue on July 1, 1917 to make improvements and renamed it the Strand Theatre at a relaunch on July 6, 1917 with Earle Williams in “Apartment 29.”

On October 26, 1929, the Strand relaunched after a brief refresh and now with Vitaphone sound to keep pace with the Rivoli. The Strand added widescreen projection in 1954 to present CinemaScope titles. It was still open in 1964. Central States took on the venue closing at the end of a 20-year lease on March 30, 1984.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Cook Theatre on Nov 20, 2021 at 8:26 pm

The Cook Opera House opened in 1894. In 1918 it appears to have become the Strand Theatre playing motion pictures. It converted to sound films on December 4, 1929 with “The Flying Fool.” On November 15, 1930, local merchants took on the theatre renaming it as the Cook Theatre on November 15, 1930 with “Men of the North.”

The theater was closed by Ernest Gundmann in 1954 but taken over later that year by Paul Benson who reopened it. It is likely that the Cook Theatre closed permanently on November 1, 1955 after showing “The Blackboard Jungle.”

dallasmovietheaters commented about Parrot Theatre on Nov 20, 2021 at 1:39 pm

Alma was home to the Crescent turned New Theatre turned Rialto turned talking Parrot Theatre. But by 1933, the owners felt constrained by the cobbled together building which had been used for films for 25 years and was likely reaching the end of a leasing agreement. They decided to move to a brand new theatre designed for sound film. It was the New Parrot Theatre.

The New Parrot was architected by Swift & Arrowsmith of Belleville, Kansas. They were inspired by the World’s Fair of Chicago in creating the Art Deco venue with a new neon sign. Their New Parrot Theatre opened at 603 West Main in downtown Alma. The former Parrot Theatre and former Crescent Theatre was converted to an art supply retail store.

The New Parrot Theatre opened December 14, 1933 retaining its name, two parrot plaques in the lobby, and launching with Ginger Rogers co-starring in “Sitting Pretty". Ten cars drove all over the county to drum up support for the first show and also the free Santa show on the following Saturday.

The original, deco Parrot theatre was gutted by a fire on December 8, 1958 leaving its original walls. The town went without a theatre while the Haekers started over though retaining the four walls.

The newly-rebuilt Parrot Theatre relaunched with a new 300-seat auditorium and the film, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” at its grand reopening on April 30, 1959. The theatre had widescreen projection to present CinemaScope screenings. Owners, the Haekers, celebrated 50 years of operation in 1980.

But during the home video era, the Haekers closed the Parrot Theatre in 1986. In 1988, Paul Haeker sold the venue to the Alma Chamber of Commerce. The Parrot Theatre got a new roof and refresh reducing seat count slightly. A 12-panel group was devised to provide a large cadre of operators without overburdening a single person. The concept worked and volunteers have kept the place running into the 2020s

dallasmovietheaters commented about Rosebowl Movie Theatre on Nov 20, 2021 at 8:11 am

The Franklin Opera House launched with a live play on October 18, 1909. The venue experimented with movies over the next ten years. It switched to full-time movies when a new operator rebranded it as the Pastime Theatre launching there on July 2, 1918 with the World War I propogandastic feature, “The Beast of Berlin.” Burton Flower Shop owner Harold Daddow reopened the venue changing its name to the Rex Theatre beginning on September 2, 1921 with D.W. Griffith’s “Love Flower” on a four-day a week movie policy.

Daddow sold the venue to Harold Gould who continued it as the Rex. The theatre closed briefly for a remodeling in January of 21, 1927 following showings of “Laddie.” New owner George E. Hall - and future Franklin, Nebraska Mayor - relaunched it as the Rialto Theatre on February 10, 1927 with Harold Lloyd in “For Heaven’s Sake.” Hall would operate the nearby Bloomington Picture Show Theatre just five miles away in the town’s opera house.

In 1929, likely due to the end of a 20-year leasing period, Hall moved the venue adding sound to the Rialto to stay viable and closed the Bloomington operation as well as the Franklin former Opera House venue. Three years later, Hall then remodeled the former Opera House/Rex/Rialto venue moving the local movie house back to its previous location on December 29, 1932 and renaming it as the RoseBowl Theatre. (The newspaper listings often added a space to the name but it was the “spaceless” RoseBowl Theatre for reasons unknown.) Hall added widescreen projection for the presentation of CinemaScope films beginning March 4, 1954 with “Mister Roberts.”

On September 28, 1990, Al & Val Smith and Steve Siel donated the RoseBowl venue to the Franklin Chamber of Commerce. It was reopened as the RoseBowl Playhouse & Theatre on January 18, 1992 with the film, “An American Tale: Fievel Goes West”. Fire in September of 2012 ended film projection but not the theater. The RoseBowl converted to digital projection thanks, in part, to donations in 2012 at its refurbishing. It was still working in the 2020s through the assistance of dedicated volunteers four days a week. Its name has become the Rosebowl Movie Theatre (still no spaces) losing its capital “B” (though still reflected with the RB on the marquee).

dallasmovietheaters commented about Papio Theatre on Nov 19, 2021 at 9:41 pm

Art Sunde launched the Papio Theatre on August 4, 1948 with “Carnival in Costa Rica” supported by a cartoon in a sneak preview opening. The Grand Opening took place the following night. The 400-seat theatre was the first movie house in town since the early 1930s.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Starlight Drive-In on Nov 19, 2021 at 6:35 am

The Starlite Drive-In opened August 28, 1952 despite protestors trying to prevent that from happening. The opening films were Anthony Steel in “Ivory Hunter” supported by the shorts “Caribbean Sentinel” and the Woody Woodpecker cartoon, “Chew-Chew Baby.” The protests appeared to come from the operator of the Stockade which had just opened two months earlier and felt that Black Hills Amusement was simply trying to undercut his business. Black Hills bought the competing and independently run Stockade Drive-In prior to the 1957 seasons and continued operation of the Pace Theatre and changed the name of the Starlite to Starlight likely with a new wide-screen screen tower.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Stockade Drive-In on Nov 18, 2021 at 10:06 pm

The Stockade Outdoor Theatre opened July 8, 1952 with Vincent Price in “Bagdad” and Dick Powell in “You Can Never Tell.”

dallasmovietheaters commented about Civic Theatre on Nov 18, 2021 at 9:56 pm

Clyde Walgren took on the venue changing its name to the Star Theatre beginning on August 13, 1920 with the Wm. S. Hart film, “Sand.” It had 219 seats at opening. H. Esmond Hardin took on the venue on November 1, 1947 and renamed it as the Civic Theatre. The theatre closed on May 31, 1966 and was reopened by Mrs. Dick Burback on September 8, 1966. She appears to have closed early in 1967.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Plains Theatre on Nov 18, 2021 at 9:45 pm

Dave T. Gourley not only built the city’s first performance venue, the Gourley Opera House, but also its first electrical plant. On August 21, 1914, the Star Theatre opened in downtown Rushville apparently in the Opera House. By 1915, movies had taken over the the Gourley Opera House and shown every night of the week.

July 1, 1919 was a momentous day in Rushville, Nebraska, as it was the first day of Prohibition in the United States and it was the day that new operators, the Shipleys, took over the Star Theatre and changed it to the EssAnEss Theatre or Essaness Theatre playing upon their surnames “S and S.” The theatre converted to sound films in 1929 to remain viable.

Two owners later, on May 9, 1938, the theatre became the Plains Theatre showing Warner Baxter in “Vogues of 1938” supported by the comedy short, “Ask Uncle Sol” with Eddie Lambert. 100 years later the venue was still operating.

dallasmovietheaters commented about Arbor Theatre on Nov 16, 2021 at 7:27 am

Harry Lawrie - architect (sorry misspelled above)