Today’s great movie theaters tend to be huge multiscreen complexes showcasing everything new in the world of cinematography. Whilst we still love going to the movies, the theaters themselves are pretty soulless places really. There was a time when going to the cinema was a glamorous outing, when movie theaters had luxurious seating, velvet curtains, ushers and an organ left over from the silent movie era. Here are 7 Great American Movie Theaters that still keep the glamour alive.
1. Byrd Theater , Richmond, Virginia
Having opened their doors in the 1920’s, this now historical landmark was once the regal lady of the box office, with patrons coming from far and wide to experience the glamorous movie theater that made each visitor feel like a celebrity. These days the actual theater has not changed much with movies still shown 365 days a year, and the prices are very reasonable. Now run by a foundation, there is a massive drive to undertake major renovations to restore the old dame to her former glory.
2. Music Box Theater, Chicago
This luxurious cinema is a legend all in its own right, right from the exclusive 800 seater start in 1929, when movie theaters were seating more than 3000, to the late manager Whitney, who managed the theater from opening night until 1977, when after closing one night, fell asleep on the couch on the lobby and never woke up. Built to mimic an open air palazzo, the ceiling is complete with a mural of clouds and stars.
3. The Egyptian, Los Angeles
Most of us know of the famous palm tree lined pavement home to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and there, right on it, the epic Hollywood landmark, The Egyptian movie theater on Hollywood Boulevard. The Egyptian was the very first theater of its kind to host the first Hollywood movie premier, Robin Hood, staring Douglas Fairbanks in 1922. After falling into disrepair during the late 80’s, the theater was reopened in 1998 after substantial renovations.
4. Inwood Theater, Dallas
In May 1947, the Inwood Theater opened its doors to a post-war public, who were yearning for a feel good fix. On opening night, patrons were blown away by the sensational lobby, towering celling to floor marine murals and even the pay phone was in a giant shell! Air-conditioned with double love seats and divans at the end of every row, patrons were entranced by this glorious oasis that filled their souls when they needed it most. These days the Inwood is more famous as a movie theater for independent and foreign films, the infamous martini lounge and the fact that movie goers can take their beer into the screening lounge and plop down in one of the divans or bean bags to watch the show.
5. Cinerama, Seattle
This art deco 60’s themed movie theater gem, made going to the pictures an really special occasion; state of the art combined with the swinging 60s, meant patrons were in for a real treat. With cutting edge technology, the Cinerama used no less than 3 projectors to get the perfect wide-screen image, and it is still being used and functioning today. The lobby is full of epic movie costumes, like some of the authentic pieces from Planet of the Apes.
6. State Theater, Traverse City, Michigan
Since opening its doors in 1916, the State Theater has not had an easy road. Destroyed by fire in January 1923 and yet again in January 1948, the theater was rebuilt a 4th time and re-opened its doors in 1949. The beautiful starry ceiling is perfectly astronomically correct depicting a starry Michigan night in August. The theater is now lovingly run by volunteers and operated by the Traverse City Film Festival.
7. The Castro Theater, San Francisco
As one of the very few 1920’s movie theaters to still be in operation today, The Castro Theater has been on the national heritage list since 1977. Built by the Nasser brothers in 1922, this grand old cinema has been lovingly restored and maintained, keeping the elegance and dramatic grandeur intact. Still run and managed by the Nasser family today, The Castro is one of those places that immediately transports you back to the Golden era, from the minute you walk through the door.
If you have ever been lucky enough to attend a show at one the grand old cinema theaters, you will know about the magic and charm the buildings still hold, especially if you were lucky enough to have been during the film theaters’ heyday. Out of these 7 Great American Movie Theaters, which one of these regal film halls would be one you would want to attend?
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