Seems like every year.....hexx, almost every week.....we see and hear about movie theaters going "belly up". The movie business, incredibly changed in the last few years, struggles with cash receipts. They no longer hope for a long run, but rather hope for good revenues overseas and/or healthy sales of DVD's.
When this Bear was a kiddie, mid-1950's, every Saturday my older brother would walk with me over to the Avalon Theater (on Monroe Street, Toledo, OH). We would watch a double-feature.....usually a couple western shoot-em-ups. Between each movie they would run a half hour serial, such as "Zorro & The Mission Mystery". Of course, each serial would end with the hero falling off a mountain or dangling from a tall tree or in some sort of life-threatening danger. We JUST HAD to return the next Saturday to see what would happen.
Downtown Toledo (a typical mid-sized city with an active 1950's downtown) was filled with great theaters. These beautiful theaters included The Rivoli, The Palace, The Valentine, The Paramount, The Pantheon. First-run movies were the name of the game and I developed my life-long love of film in the balconies of these T-Town theaters.
Toledo had neighborhood theaters, too. The above-mentioned Avalon, The State Theater, The Colony Theater (in a strange version of a shopping center, circa 1950's. SAC probably has pictures.)
When I was a young teen we often went to The Colony on Saturdays because the owners would give free tickets for the next week to any kid who picked-up 25 trash popcorn cartons and turned them in. Picture a young Bear, wandering up and down theater aisles, racing with other kids to grab the empty cartons.
As downtown Toledo faded (1970's) all of the theaters in the central business district closed. The new game in town? Cinema I & II (and similar). By the late 1970's the mega-theater complex was coming into it's own. By the late 1990's, stadium seating 15-theater centers were replacing everything else.
But, the past ten years or so have seen theater attendance on the slide. This has forced movie makers to focus on movies for just about the only group that actively goes to a movie theater.....teenage boys.
We all know the reasons.....television (especially subscription TV such as HBO), satellite dishes (a million channels and nothing to watch), DVD's, the gaming industry, the internet.
BTW.....I plead guilty. I haven't been inside of a movie theater in a few years.
What say you? Any thoughts on the "death of movie theaters"?
BTW, again.....most of the older theaters were (and some still are) magnificent structures. Toledo's downtown Valentine Theater was re-furbished and hosts some nice live shows. I have been to the new Valentine and it is beautiful. (But, it is struggling, financially.)
BTW, once more.....my fake city, De Noc, has many movie theaters scattered in the downtown area. My guess is that that is very unrealistic. I will have to change it.
Bear Throwing Popcorn Down To The Seats Below