Cinema Downtown

645 Main Street,
Buffalo, NY 14203

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Dipson Circuit, Jo-Mor Theatres

Architects: Albert A. Rumschik

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Midtown Theatre, Cinema

Nearby Theaters

Cinema Downtown

Opened on May 29, 1946 as the Midtown Theatre, it was a true art theater well before the time that idea became popular. Aside from showing subtitled foreign films, the management served European-style coffee and fine pastries in the lobby before the show began. On July 13, 1950 it was renamed Cinema. The theater had a policy of showing British and other European product almost exclusively. It was a relatively small house with subtle, indirect lighting on dark, velvety walls. The seating capacity was never quoted in edition of Film Daily Yearbook. On November 17, 1972 it was dropped by Dipson Circuit and was renamed Cinema Downtown. On May 23, 1980 the balcony was divided into 2-screens making it a triplex cinema.

The Cinema Downtown burned down in a fire in 1984. The Market Arcade theatres (a modern six-plex) currently stands close to the site of the Cinema Downtown.

Contributed by E. Summer

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

roberttoplin on January 25, 2006 at 2:32 am

The Cinema, which opened May 29,1946, was originally named The Midtown and designed by Albert A. Rumschik. It was located at 645 Main Street and it burned down May 20,1984. The Market Arcade, located at 639 Main St., was built on the site of two small restaurants at 639 and 641 Main St. which burned out in the early 60’s.

LouB on August 14, 2007 at 6:08 am

At one point 2 additional theaters opened above the theater on the first floor making the Cinema a triplex. This theater was also known as the Downtown Cinema and featured martial arts and action films.

railroad on April 9, 2008 at 5:46 am

Located at 647 Main St, phone number 1960: MAdison 8805

LouB on April 15, 2009 at 2:07 am

View link

The website above shows this theatre.

alknobloch on May 18, 2009 at 6:42 pm

I think this theater used to have ‘seashell’ type light fixtures on the side walls which were back-lit. A friend of mine used to usher here, and told me of how management would ‘occasionally’ piece together torn ticket stubs and resell them to patrons to be ripped in half again — of course, that’s his story, he could be wrong….

He got me up to see the projection booth once which had a giant, ratty old stuffed chair where the projectionist would sometimes fall asleep and miss a changeover!

tsar on July 28, 2013 at 9:05 am

Saw many movies as a teenager here circa 1980-81. Saw Eraserhead, I spit on Your grave, Last House on the Left and Escape From NY. Nondescript with an odd and eclectic booking selection: from foreign art house offerings to porn to horror to martial arts it was one of the few places I remember from that era that never asked for ID.

rivest266 on September 8, 2022 at 9:06 am

This reopened as Cinema on July 13th, 1950, showing British and European films. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on September 23, 2022 at 7:36 am

This was dropped by Dipson and reopened as Cinema Downtown on November 17th, 1972. Ad posted.

rivest266 on September 28, 2022 at 7:41 am

The Balcony was split up to 2 screens and reopened with three screens total on May 23rd, 1980. Another ad posted.

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