Awesome abandoned theaters in the USA

Mike Grist Entertainment, USA, World Ruins 7 Comments

Cinema is the American cultural export, a clearinghouse genre jam-packed with iconic images, historical rewrites, and the changing face of the Western hero. For over 100 years movies have documented and dominated the zeitgeist, giving rise to a whole new culture of popcorn and hot dogs, glamour, romance, and the glittering stars of Hollywood’s Hall of Fame. Everyone wants to be someone, and “here’s lookin’ at you kid.”

Then the merry-go-round stops. The dream factory dies. It sits alone, becomes squalid. Its plaster rots and its grand facade chips, its halls of fantasy chink open to daylight, and depredation rolls in.

Loew’s King’s Theater, New York

My first novel opened with the image of a dead cinema. It was based on the cinema that used to be on the Main Street of the town I grew up in, Bolton, though the story was set in some Sci-Fi dystopic city. Here’s an excerpt:

“It’s rush hour, so there’s traffic. Stalled at one light, seeking permission to enter residential c-side, an old shut-down cinema catches my attention through the side window. It isn’t lit up, there’s no neon sign out front, but all the same I can’t help but look at the boards shrouding its wrinkled face, the strip lines of rusted metal where the names of the latest blockbusters would be strung up. Ha. I can tell that place never pulled in the big crowds. It makes me think, of how I used to love going to the movies. Watching those larger than life heroes, battling pirates out at sea, chasing bandits on the open prairies, swashbuckling through the halls of some regal mansion. But I don’t go anymore. Not since they shut down the old ones. After that they showed only movies they’d filmed in the city, and I’ve seen all that anyway. I don’t need to see it on a big screen to know it’s real.”

These are images from Yves Merchand and Romain Meffre. They also have some great photos of the ruin of Detroit.

United Artists Theater, Detroit

Proctor’s Theater, Newark

Keith’s Richmond Hill Theater, New York

Uptown Theater, Chicago

Loew’s Palace Theater, New York


You can see all MJG’s Ruins / Haikyo explorations here:

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Comments 7

  1. There might be a few abandoned or soon to be closed theaters here in Saint Petersburg. It has a very old downtown with an area of rundown businesses. I’ll have to do some investigating someday.

    No source links for the photos are appearing for me. I wanted to see more work by the photographer who made the projector image, a very well lit photograph.

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  3. The photo labeled as the Palace New York is actually the Leows Palace theater of Bridgeport, Conn. It is one of two “twin” theaters built in the 1920’s for the Poli theater chain. The other theater is the slightly smaller Majestic theater. The two theaters are unique in that they are located in the same building. The only other surviving example of this that I know of is in Cleveland, Oh. They are in an area which boasts 4 classic movie palaces, all restored under the same project. Also, the Palace theater was the largest theater built in Conn. in the 1920’s. The architect was Thomas Lamb.

    1. That’s correct. I live in Bridgeport, CT. I now am part owner of another restored movie house in the city about 2 blocks from these beautiful houses. There is talk now (as there has been for years) of restoring these two jewels. Please give credit to the city that needs it.

  4. I live in CT, do you know if by any chance there are any Haikyo places here? im still a student but im very much interested in going to these places more mainly in japan but for now I want to start off in area’s closer.

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