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TOPIC: Historic theaters

Re: Historic theaters 21 Feb 2002 00:52 #27715

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Thank you BECKWITH. I for one really enjoyed reading that. I remember the Jerry Lewis Cinemas very well. It does seem as though most of them were red, but I do know of one that was near here that was blue. The idea for them came about before the multi-plex came into existance. The thinking was that movie audiences were still shrinking and therefore low overhead was the way to go. Out went the big old theatres and in went the mini-theatres.

You think running with two people was bad. There was a company of mini theatres, 500 seats each, in the Altanta area that ran with only one person. Peachtree Cinemas, I believe they were called. In January of 1970, I stopped in at one and sure enough there was only one person running it... the manager/cashier/projectioist. Everything was run from the box office. Concession consisted of a bank of vending machines. To think we called 500 seat theatres "mini cinemas" then. Well... when compared to most of the old houses still around at that time they were small. But, today they would be bigger then most of the auditoria in todays mega-plexes. How things have changed.

Oh, by the way... the Trans-Lux mini cinemas were 16 mm. Only a couple were ever built. I still have an advertisement for there package. What a ripoff! Anyone that was already in the business would never go for that deal. You paid for everything, yet they controlled everything... you rented the projection equipment, the concesion equipment, even the seats. You paid them to book and had nothing to say about the picture selection. You even paid them a percentage of the gross. They picked the site and put the deal together with the shopping center, and of course you paid the rent. They took care of the "home office" paperwork including payroll prep, but of course you paid them for that too. All you really were, was a glorified underpaid manager, but you could tell people that you owned your own theatre.
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Re: Historic theaters 21 Feb 2002 08:30 #27716

  • D. Bird
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Wow, Roxy, Trans-Lux were WAY ahead of their time. This is how most franchised restaurants and retail stores are structured now. Really it just skirts the tax rules to allow for corporate locations to take tax exemptions as if they were each independent.
BUT, as you say, there's no profit left for the "owner-operator". Makes it tough for all the true independents when all the competitors are priced to "break even".
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