Twin Lakes Theatres 1 & 2
2030 N. Amidon Street,
2030 N. Amidon Street,Wichita, KS 67203
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I was a doorman at Twin Lakes Theatres from 1981-1983. It was a fun job - even with the orange Commonwealth uniforms! The number 2 theatre was smaller (350 seats) but had a lake view with a long curtain that closed when the lights dimmed. The number 1 theatre was much larger (600+ seats) and had an amazing sound system. We played Stripes, ET, Evil Under the Sun, Reds, Tootsie, and On Golden Pond while I was there. We also did a special showing of Ben Hur - very cool to see it on the big screen. Good times!
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.
Grand opening ad posted. Twin lakes theatre opening Sun, Jun 9, 1968 – 60 · The Wichita Eagle-Beacon (Wichita, Kansas) · Newspapers.com
The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum has a thread of memories about the Twin Lakes Theaters.
Following info courtesy the Wichita Eagle, advance opening story, Sunday, June 9, 1968, pp 1F.
-Owned by Commonwealth Frontier (later Commonwealth).
-Theater opened Wednesday, June 12, 1968 with THE ODD COUPLE (as noted above) in Theater 1, and the 1968 Best Foreign Language Academy Award winner, Jiri Menzel’s CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS (1966, released in the US by Sigma III Corp.) in Theater 2. Miss America Debra Dene Barnes (later Snodgrass) of Moran, KS, attended.
-Seating Capacities: 630 seats in Theater 1, 306 in Theater 2.
-Cinemeccanica projectors (both 70mm capable) and six-track stereo systems in both auditoriums.
-Single box office for both theaters capable of handling either regular or reserved seating.
-Architects: Feagins & Kirsch. Contractor: Law Construction Co.
Twin Lakes opened on June 12, 1968. It’s first showing was “The Odd Couple”.
Twin Lakes is where I saw “Lawrence of Arabia” in 70mm when it was re-released in 1989 I believe. At the time, I believe it was the only theatre in Wichita that had the capability of showing a 70mm print. The other memory of Twin Lakes I have is that one of the “twins” had a huge window where you could look at the lake outside. It had a curtain that was drawn before the movie started of course.
The Twin Lakes Theaters were never demolished as they were part of the Twin Lakes Mall. The part of the mall where the theater was is still there. It is now offices.