Thursday, March 26, 2009

Movie Palaces (3/31/06)

Thomas L. Tally opened the Electric Theatre in Los Angeles on April 2, 1902 -- the first movie theater in the United States. He couldn't possibly have imagined that a century later, the moviegoing experience would be a cacaphony of ads, cell phones, screaming babies, and talking patrons. He may have hoped that his small storefront theater would evolve into a movie palace, a grand temple where thousands could gather in lush and opulent surroundings to watch giant flickering images on the silver screen. The heyday of movie palaces was short, lasting only about 30 years, and while most of the grand theaters of yesteryear have vanished, many are still standing -- and thriving. From Jersey City to Hollywood, from Detroit to Abilene, there are still opportunities to get a good seat in the second balcony and lose yourself in a classic film or show with a couple thousand of your best friends.

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