Classic Theater in Anchorage, Alaska

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  • Chris D
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Dec 2000
    • 16877

    Classic Theater in Anchorage, Alaska

    I thought I'd share some classic photos I came across for the 4th Avenue Theater in Anchorage, Alaska. I absolutely LOVE theaters like this from around the US, that have such a rich history of the classic era of film. I think it's so sad that these theaters keep disappearing, and think it's a sign of how we've lost our true enjoyment of really being entertained by the movie EXPERIENCE.

    It's not just the quality of the films themselves, although that's certainly part of it. I just don't think that today's cheap theater, gum on the floor, cell phone noise, talk to your neighbor through the whole film, experience today compares at all to the experience of the classic era. I would love to buy a theater and restore it, like the movie "The Majestic", which is one of my favorite movies for that very reason.

    Anway, back to this theater. Sadly, it's been closed with MAJOR financial problems for decades, and I don't even know if whoever bought it could dig themselves out of the prior debt before making money. Whenever I drive by, I'll stop and peer through the windows. I've never been inside, but from what I've learned from others, the interior decorations are amazing.

    Some information about the theater, other sizes of photos and picture descriptions here:
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    The Streamline Moderne 4th Avenue Theatre was opened on May 30, 1947 with a Gala opening and opened to the public on May 31, 1947 with Larry Parks ...














































    CHRIS

    Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.
    - Pleasantville
  • deewan
    Senior Member
    • Feb 2009
    • 284

    #2
    I agree with you 100%. In my mind, the perfect theater experience would be to attend a movie in a theater much like the one pictured above. Back when I was in college, I used to drive 20 miles each way with a group of friends every Sunday night to attend a movie in a small town. The theater, although not as beautiful as the theater above, was from decades ago and had been keep up very well. The theater only had 1 screen and they only showed 1 movie a night. Shows always started at 7:30 and each week they switched out the movie. Shows were only 99 cents and the candy, pop, and popcorn was VERY reasonable in price. The other cool part of the price, the owner (who would take your money at the ticket booth) would ask, "Do you want your penny?" If you said no, he put the penny into a bucket. When the bucket was full, he would use the pennies to buy everyone in the theater that night free popcorn and a small fountain pop. It may not seem like much, but the one time I was in attendance when the bucket was filled and everyone got free popcorn and a pop, it was like winning the lottery. People were calling their friends talking about how THEY WERE THERE for the free popcorn.

    Now I hate commercial movie theaters and don't even go during the biggest blockbusters. I just wait 5 months for the movie to come out on disc and watch it in my own theater.
    The Old Woods Theater
    My Various Speaker Builds
    Statement II Remix build

    "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?"

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    • Chris D
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Dec 2000
      • 16877

      #3
      Great story, deewan! If I ever do start a new theater, I'm going to use that idea of the periodic free popcorn and drink. Yes, ABSOLUTELY the owner or other high staff should be taking tickets, then giving the nice little tear when the patron enters the theater. Classic theater uniforms for the whole staff, with the bellboy-style hat for the ushersConcession stand should not be just a commercial food stand, but an experience of its own to visit for some treats.

      Speaking of treats, you would HAVE to use the classic "Let's all go to the lobby" reel. Longer movies like the Lord of the Rings series would have to have a classic intermission.
      CHRIS

      Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.
      - Pleasantville

      Comment

      • P-Dub
        Office Moderator
        • Aug 2000
        • 6766

        #4
        Wow, nice theater!

        Only movie with an intermission that I can ever recall attending was The Right Stuff.

        That theater reminds me of the Stanley Theater. It has been converted to a live theater venue.

        I remember lining up to see Empire Strikes Back. Ah, movie memories. I think I'll keep mine for a long time to come.
        Paul

        There are three kinds of people in this world; those that can count, and those that can't.

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        • Chris D
          Moderator Emeritus
          • Dec 2000
          • 16877

          #5
          Yeah... things like that are exactly what makes the true movie experience great. If I ever do get my own theater, I'll definitely be doing fun stuff like special showings. Maybe Star Wars marathons, Lord of the Rings, etc. Friday midnight "Rocky Horror Picture Show". Maybe Thursday night "80's classic" flicks.

          I have very fond memories of lining up for the re-release of the original Star Wars trilogies, back in like 94-97.

          There was an intermission when I saw Mel Gibson's "Hamlet", when it came out back in like 1996 or something. I think I was too young when The Right Stuff came out, but there definitely was the intermission on its VHS tape(s) and original DVD that I bought. The Lord of the Ring movies were so long, that people were getting up right and left in the middle to use the bathrooms. Intermissions would have been great for those.
          CHRIS

          Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.
          - Pleasantville

          Comment

          • deewan
            Senior Member
            • Feb 2009
            • 284

            #6
            We currently have a "budget" theater in the town I live in along with 3 megaplexs. The budget theater has 4 screens, and they run movies after they have come out in the larger commercial theaters in town. The owner used to work with my wife at a local, but nationally known, aviation company. He quit is job to do this I guess. If you ask me, he is doing things right. He has owned the theater for about 4 years now. Tickets are $4 no matter what time the movie is. Discounts for seniors and kids under 17. He has a sign that reads, “If you aren’t old enough to see a R-Rated movie, then you shouldn’t be asked to pay adult ticket prices.” Novel idea. The food is pretty cheap and the when you order popcorn you get a bag of popcorn and YOU get to put however much butter on it as you want. And it's REAL butter. Signs all over the lobby stating they are the only theater in town that uses real butter on their popcorn. Also, before ever show, the owner comes in and talks a little bit about the movie, then randomly draws a few ticket stubs from that showing and those people get a coupon good for one free popcorn. It's that personal touch that is nice.

            He also does other cool things. During college football season he shows the local college football games on the big screens. He runs specials on the food and brings in a local food vendor to grill up food. I have not gone, but a coworker has and he said it is a great experience. The theater also shows every movie Tuesday night with captions so that local people who are hearing impaired can come and enjoy the movie as well. Some people complain because they say the captions are disrupting, but I think it is a great idea.
            The Old Woods Theater
            My Various Speaker Builds
            Statement II Remix build

            "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?"

            Comment

            • George Bellefontaine
              Moderator Emeritus
              • Jan 2001
              • 7637

              #7
              Ohhh, those pictures bring back some pleasant memories. There were a couple of theaters like that in Halifax, where I grew up and they had screens big enough for 65 and 70mm presentations. That was a time when the movie-going experience was exactly THAT. Today's so-called cinemas are terrible and as much as I like a big 30 foot or more screen experience every now and then, I find myself being content with my own 7 foot theater where I don't have to worry about a noisy atmosphere, poorly focussed images and piss poor sound.
              My Homepage!

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              • Hdale85
                Moderator Emeritus
                • Jan 2006
                • 16075

                #8
                That's a beautiful theater Chris.

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                • John Holmes
                  Moderator Emeritus
                  • Aug 2000
                  • 2703

                  #9
                  Great topic and cool pics, Chris!

                  It does make you want to go back to a simpler time. Until I saw these pictures, I'd forgotten how grand some of the old theaters really were. And as some have already stated, it was that personal touch, which sealed the deal.

                  Thanks for the memories! :T
                  "I have come here, to chew bubblegum and kickass. And I'm all out of bubblegum!!!"

                  Comment

                  • David Meek
                    Moderator Emeritus
                    • Aug 2000
                    • 8938

                    #10
                    Good one, Chris. :T

                    Growing up in Tyler, Texas in the 60's we had a choice of 3 theaters to attend: the Tyler, the Liberty and the Arcadia. The Tyler and the Liberty were nice enough, but the Arcadia was the grand dame of the three. Her interior looked much like the photos you posted above, and it was always a treat to see something there. Ahh, the memories you stirred up....
                    .

                    David - Trigger-happy HTGuide Admin

                    Comment

                    • Chris D
                      Moderator Emeritus
                      • Dec 2000
                      • 16877

                      #11
                      Great, I thought you guys would like it. I'd really like to see classic theaters in your parts of the world, and hear whether they're still going, under restoration, or whatever.
                      CHRIS

                      Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.
                      - Pleasantville

                      Comment

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