Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Evolution of the American Cinema

I came across this article today, which shows photographs of 75 abandoned theaters around the United States.  It makes my heart hurt a little to see these gorgeous facilities closed and dilapidated, but that is the nature of business.  I can't begin to imagine how a person would operate some of these facilities for a profit as a cinema.  Scroll through those and check out how awesome theaters used to be (#2, the facade on #26,  the detail in #45 & #49, the marquee on #59).   Compare the architecture of some (not all) of these theaters to your run-of-the-mill megaplex today.  I LOVE watching films in big old theaters like some of these.  There is nothing like it! Wherever I travel, I look for the biggest and/or oldest theater around and go see whatever they are showing.

A lot of these theaters remind me of the Eltrym. Boy, am I am thankful that previous owners of the Eltrym stuck by it and didn't let it go to rot like the theaters in this article. The movie business is constantly changing and theaters have to evolve to survive.  We are going through another change now, with the advent of digital cinema. There were times that our theater could have closed and not ever reopened, but there was always someone there who wanted to keep going.  Lucky theater, lucky community. :)

Thought I'd share some photos of the evolution of the Eltrym:

Here's the Eltrym in 1951, still looking much the same as when it was built in 1940 as a state-of-the-art single screen show house:

Here's a photo of the Eltrym from 1981 (before I was born). Still successfully operating as a single screen, with much the same technology as was used at its opening in 1940:

And here is the Eltrym now, a first-run tri-plex with stadium seating and digital surround sound:

1 comment:

  1. Here's another good shot, from the Baker Heritage Museum collection.