Comments from Calmuse

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Calmuse commented about Galaxy Showcase Theatre on Oct 8, 2007 at 10:00 pm

Toward the end of its run, this was also known as the Galaxy Theatre.

Calmuse commented about Des Moines Theatre on Oct 8, 2007 at 9:50 pm

A few more details: built in 1918 by A.H. Blank at a cost of $750,000 (in 1918 dollars); style: Egyptian Revival interior. Torn down in the mid 1960s.

Calmuse commented about Paramount Theatre on Sep 27, 2007 at 12:54 pm

I’d wondered about the label on that photo (I have a copy of the book “The Thunderbolt Kid,” in which the old photo of the Paramount was used). Marion Davies’s career was long over by the 1950s and early 1960s when the book is set.

Just one note: the address needs to be corrected. It should be 509 Grand Ave., not 1509. The Des Moines Theatre (at 517 Grand) and the Paramount were next-door to each other, as shown in this 1962 photo used on the Lost Cinemas of Des Moines blogspot.

View link

I believe both cinemas were part of an entertainment chain operated by A.H. Blank. Both were in buildings that had offices on upper floors, so the exteriors were more like office buildings than movie palaces. The interiors were another matter—opulent movie palaces on the order of the restored El Capitan in Hollywood.

Calmuse commented about River Hills Theatre & Riviera Theatre on Sep 26, 2007 at 4:27 pm

There was huge curving screen (90-foot?) on the River Hills side and an excellent sound system. Both theaters were upscale by the standards of 1960s-1970s structures with large lobbies and comfortable seats—not at all like the little boxes in cineplexes.

Although I was a minor at the time, I got in to see “The Godfather” at the Riviera (accompanied by a parent). Also saw “2001” at the River Hills there when it first played in Des Moines. When I lived in the area again in the ‘80s, both theatres were still screening first-run top-drawer features (“Gandi,” for example).

Calmuse commented about Orson Welles Cinema on Sep 26, 2007 at 3:08 pm

The Harder They Come’s director says a seven-year run in this article from Index Magazine:
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Of course, that wouldn’t discount the Orson Welles from having soon brought the film back for another extended run, probably as a midnight show.

Ah, the Orson Welles… From back in my student days, I’ve saved a few of the old program notes on colored paper.

Calmuse commented about Ingersoll Theatre on Sep 26, 2007 at 2:50 pm

It’s good you shared that photo, Lost Memory. I haven’t lived in Des Moines for a long time, but I read somewhere there’s talk of the entire block being demolished.

Toward the end of it’s run as a cinema, the Ingersoll was an art house—some first-run films, some revivals. I saw a Bergman film or two there—can’t recall which. Also “Elvira Madigan” and Joseph Losey’s 1975 biopic of Galileo, based on the Bertolt Brecht play.

Calmuse commented about Princess Theatre on Sep 26, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Definitely not the Princess. This small former theater at has been a costume shop for about 30 years, and it’s in West Des Moines, a suburb with a street and numbering system that duplicates many Des Moines addresses and confounds people unfamiliar with that area.

Here’s a link to a blog that includes info on the Princess, which was a live stage venue. The post about the Princess is titled “A Legitimate Question.”

The fifth-most-recent entry in that blog is a 1980s-vintage article published in 1996 (see the post “The Genuine Article.”) It describes some of the old cinemas—some of which were extravagant, especially for a small city like Des Moines.

Most of the blog’s photos have perms, but the Princess photo doesn’t appear to have any. The Princess was located on 4th Street in downtown Des Moines (not West Des Moines).

The Princess photo: View link

The Princess should be classified as closed/demolished.