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Author Topic: First Twin Theatre
Richard C. Wolfe
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Northampton, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 07-09-2000 10:45 PM      Profile for Richard C. Wolfe   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C. Wolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We all know that the megaplexes we have today were the outgrowth of the singles of yesteryear. First as twins, then tri-plexes, quads and so on....

It's quizz time.

Who created the first twin theatre, where, and when?

I'm pretty sure that I know the answer, but wonder just how many other people do.

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Lance C. McFetridge
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 134
From: Penn Yan, New York
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 07-10-2000 06:04 AM      Profile for Lance C. McFetridge   Email Lance C. McFetridge   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In 1963, American Multi-Cinema opened the Parkway Theatres in the Ward Shopping center in Kansas City. The first Twin.
How did I do?
lance

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Tom Ferreira
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 203
From: Conway, NH, USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-10-2000 08:19 AM      Profile for Tom Ferreira   Email Tom Ferreira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm not sure about the first twin, but wasn't the old General Cinema at Shopper's World in Framingham, MA, the first mutiplex?

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Richard C. Wolfe
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Northampton, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 07-10-2000 08:39 AM      Profile for Richard C. Wolfe   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C. Wolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Good try fellas, but sorry...no cigar!

Lance:
AMC generally gets the credit for the first, but they weren't...not by a long shot. They were superceded by two other chains, both still in existence today. I'm always supprised that neither of those chains ever argue this point.

Keep trying. I have the proof. The news stories and photos of the earlier twins.

Hints: There was one on the west coast and one on the east coast. I won't say at this time which was first. Both started as singles and were added on.
There were two that were built as twins, both a long time before AMC, but one was in Canada and the other in Cuba so we won't count them as we will keep this strickly to US theatres.

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Mark Lensenmayer
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1576
From: Upper Arlington, OH
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 07-10-2000 09:04 AM      Profile for Mark Lensenmayer   Email Mark Lensenmayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How about the Bexley Theatre in 1935, in Bexley, Ohio, just outside of Columbus?
Details can be found at this link (information gathered by Mark Fontana).
http://www.mninter.net/~mfontana/drexel/other.html

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Paul Goulet
Master Film Handler

Posts: 347
From: Rhode Island
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 07-10-2000 12:02 PM      Profile for Paul Goulet   Author's Homepage   Email Paul Goulet   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

Speaking of Old Twin theaters.. Anyone remember the Jerry Lewis Cinemas chain? We had one in my Hometown and there are around 4 or 5 others that used to be JL cinemas, although I only know of one of which is still run as a theater.

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Joe Smith
Film Handler

Posts: 56
From: Dale City, Va. USA
Registered: Oct 1999


 - posted 07-10-2000 02:47 PM      Profile for Joe Smith   Email Joe Smith   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In Buena Vista, Va there was a Jerry Lewis Cinema twin built in the late 60's or very early 70's, It's still in operation but is now a R/C Cinema house.

Joe

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Paul Linfesty
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1381
From: Bakersfield, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 07-10-2000 03:03 PM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How about the Edwards Ahlambra and Gold theatres in Alhambra? I believe this twin was built in 1937, although it was more like two single screens with some shared facilities (never been in it, so don't know what the shared facilities were - I don't think it was the same as a modern(60's era) twin was. I know it closed several years ago.


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Richard C. Wolfe
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Northampton, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 07-10-2000 03:31 PM      Profile for Richard C. Wolfe   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C. Wolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Paul Linfesty:

Good work...the Edwards Alhambra in Alhambra, CA was the one that I was referring to on the west coast. It was a single that had an adjoining store within the same building converted into a 2nd auditorium. It was entered from the original lobby. Therefore it shared the same entrance, boxoffice, lobby, and restrooms as the original theatre so was indeed a twin using one staff and meeting the definition of a twin theatre. It did have a separate projection booth, but that wasn't uncommon in many twins just like it isn't uncommon even today in many megaplexes.

However... it still isn't the oldest or the first one!

Mark:
Thanks for the info on the Bexley. It is even older by several years then the Alhambra, and one I didn't know about. See what we can learn on these forums. That's why I like to ask these questions, as I'm always seeking to learn more.

The one that I think was the first was on the east coast and came into existance in the twenties.

Keep guessing everyone...you're doing very well.

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Dave Cutler
Master Film Handler

Posts: 277
From: Centennial, CO
Registered: Jun 2000


 - posted 07-10-2000 08:04 PM      Profile for Dave Cutler   Email Dave Cutler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Richard,

AMC's 'claim to fame' as I understand it is having built (from the ground up) the first twin, and yes it was the Ward Parkway Twin (now 22-plex and recently dropped Ward from the name) in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Edwards Alhambra in Alhambra, CA wasn't built as a twin it was upgraded, right? I am not trying to glorify AMC, I am not that crazy, but just wanted to point that out. Still, I could be wrong.

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Richard C. Wolfe
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Northampton, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 07-10-2000 08:59 PM      Profile for Richard C. Wolfe   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C. Wolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You're right Dave, the Alhambra was a single with an added 2nd auditorium, but the Bexley was two from day one according to the info supplied by Mark.

The question here is not who built the first twin from the ground up, but who had the idea first, and acted upon it, to have more then one auditorium in the same building and thus share the operating expenses while having the drawing potential of more then one film.

Incidentally, the Alhambra ran the same double feature in both auditoriums, as a way to make each feature available at whatever time the patron wanted to see it. They just reversed the showings in each one. The Bexley ran the same film on both screens with one print simultaneously. I don't see much advantage to that, but that's what they did.

The east coast theatre, built as a single and then enlarged to a double in the twenties, ran two separate first run films...one in each auditorium for separate admission, and shared the same marquee, vestibule, box office, and lobby. It therefore fits all the requirements to be a twin theatre. This is the one that I'm looking for.

Someone out there must know the answer...so please keep trying.

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Richard C. Wolfe
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Northampton, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 07-13-2000 03:51 PM      Profile for Richard C. Wolfe   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C. Wolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Is that all the guesses?

There were some good ones. I'll wait till Friday at midnight to see if anyone has any more...and then will post what I believe was the first twin theatre and who developed it.

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Richard C. Wolfe
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Northampton, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 07-14-2000 11:43 PM      Profile for Richard C. Wolfe   Author's Homepage   Email Richard C. Wolfe   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The first twin theatre, when and by who?

The oldest one I know of is:
The Century/Valencia Theatres in Baltimore
around 1926 by Loew's.

The Valencia was converted from the Century ballroom above the Century Theatre around 1926. They shared the same marquee, upright sign, entrance vestibule, and outer lobby. They both ran first run movies with separate admission.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

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From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-17-2000 02:28 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Richard the canadian ones do count
The oldest is 1914 with the building of the Leows Wintergarden Theatre (1400 seats) above the Leows Downtown (1800seats) THe two stages were stacked above each other and offset so shows could be quickly moved between them
Because there was only 3 small elevators the wintergarden closed in the mid 20's and was abandoned with the scenery fromthe last show left hanging in the flys.
The downstairs was Loews flagship until selling to Twinex20th century theatres and ending up as a porn theatre
Both have been restored as performing arts centres
The first twin movie theatre i canada was in 1944 when a second auditorium was built beside the Hollywood theatre in Toronto
It sharred a common lobby and a common projection room
It closed recently

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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1109
From: Hampton, GA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 09-17-2000 03:11 PM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Speaking of the AMC Ward Parkway. What a theater - lol. First a twon, then a 6, then a 12, then a 20, and finally, a 22. However, when Cinemark opened the Palace on May 7, 1999, Ward Parkway (once the crown jewel of AMC) had a 60% drop in attendance. It is now slated to close later this fall.

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