Theaters and Drive-Ins
Whether they spell it “theater” or “theatre,” these Web sites are all passionate about the picture palaces and drive-ins where most of us saw our first classic films.
Started in 1967 by UK journalist Eric George, the Association is dedicated to cinema buildings, particularly movie palaces of the 20s and 30s, as well as live theatres, music halls and other buildings. You can join the association and support its work, or just read the news and peruse the archives.
Devoted to movie theater preservation and awareness, and dedicated to saving the last remaining movie palaces across the country. You’ll love the individual profiles of classic theaters across the country, searchable by location, seating, ratings, and a half-dozen other factors.
This site’s stated goal is to “research and document the locations and histories of cinemas throughout the world.” It includes an extensive database of theaters, both new and old.
Great-looking Web site for the fully-restored Art Deco movie palace in Brookline, Massachusetts, which has been showing films since 1933, with a program which today includes indies, classics, and world cinema. Check out the schedule, order tickets, become a member, etc.
This well-designed site “dedicated to the culture, history, preservation and promotion of Drive-in theatres” includes a state-by-state listing of existing drive-in movie theatres in the U.S. (Canada is still to come). Most of them don’t show classics, of course, but the venues themselves are classic.
Photos of every operating drive-in theater in the United States, plus a list of those that are no longer with us, makes for an extensive database, to be sure, but that’s just the beginning of this fascinating site, which also includes lots of historical info, animated intermission clips, dancing popcorn and hot dogs, old movie ads, screen saver, etc.
From the Drive-In Theater site listed above, here’s an illustrated listing of home pages for drive-ins all over the country.
This non-commercial Web site focuses on the history of the movie theatre business in Canada (recently expanded from Toronto-only coverage). It includes an alphabetical listing of theatres in 1940, some with photos, plus a slide show and links to other sites.
Home page for the international non-profit association for people who work to “rehabilitate and operate their theatres in communities throughout North America.” With resources for both members and non-members.
Web page for Friends of The Loews, a group working to restore the landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre as a not-for-profit arts and entertainment center. Take the Virtual Tour to learn the history of this cathedral-like classic movie venue, and learn about the latest film showings sponsored by Friends of the Loews.
Classy Web site for the equally classy Oakland, California Art Deco movie palace, home of the Oakland Ballet and Oakland Symphony, that presents classic films on Fridays, complete with organ recitals, newsreels, and cartoons, just like the good old days.
Re-opened in 1999, the 808-seat Seattle Cinerama Theatre is the only place in the United States (and one of only two places in the world) still capable of showing three-panel Cinerama films. The theatre also shows non-Cinerama films, including classics (click on “Special Events” for more information).
If you’ve ever wondered how to could find out where the old movies can be seen on the big screen, this is the answer to your question. Billed as “An online resource for public exhibitions of silent and early sound films,” Michael Neno’s listing of venues from all over the United States is obviously a labor of love from somebody who not only cares about the classic stuff, but also knows what he’s talking about.
A labor of love by a French fan of great movie palaces, this site focuses on present and past threatres in Paris as well as Toulouse, Luxembourg, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, with photos and histories, plus articles, news, and links. Apparently not updated recently, but still fascinating.
From the University of Virginia American Studies program comes a fascinating history of the movie theatre in America from the earliest times up through the 1940s.
Built in 1926, the ornate theatre is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and features a Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ. And they show movies, too, including a winter classic film series.
A resource center for those interested in theatre history, and an introduction to theatre historian Cezar Del Valle, who offers slide talks and walking tours of everything from Victorian opera houses to movie palaces. You’ll also enjoy Theatre Scrapbook, by the same folks, a monthly ezine devoted to the same subject.
Recommended, But Without Annotations
(A temporary category so that we can add links we recommend right away without waiting for full annotations to be written.)