America’s First Cinema Museum?

Curtains for the old cinemas? Maybe not. Here's the old curtain that protected the screen at the Forty Fort Theatre.

The notes of encouragement and thanks I get on the site are just great and very much appreciated. It’s wonderful to hear people share their stories about the Forty Forty, Luzerne, and Wyoming theatres as well as some of their memories of other theatres in Wyoming Valley.

It was brought to my attention, that there is no museum in the United States that is dedicated to motion picture theatres. There’s a tremendously rich history that is waiting to be shared with generations that go back to before the turn of the 20th century. My grandfather and his partner, Louis Marinos, got their start way back in 1906 by hand cranking on a projector in the back room of a candy store, and the rest (as they say) is history.

After speaking with several people, especially those affiliated with various historical societies in Wyoming Valley, in Southern California, and here in my current hometown of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the consensus is, we’re long overdue for such a facility.

I have been working on generating interest in bringing my grandfather’s life story to the screen in either a documentary or feature film format. Tying a living theatre museum to this process seems like the perfect fit – in that it would give people young and old a chance to discover or rediscover the cinema industry’s origins; Perhaps a part of Americana that continues to be remembered fondly to this day, the neighborhood movie theatre, would have a home.

Before the megaplex, was the twin cinema. Before that was the neighborhood theatre. Before that, the nickelodeon. Imagine a place where people could walk in and experience seeing old movies on a magnificent silver screen; Films from the silent era to the classics of maverick film makers of the 1970’s.

Visitors would see news reels, cartoons, and short subjects virtually the same way they did in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Posters, glossies, lobby cards, projectors, and photos from a bygone era would tell the stories of the exhibitors across the country who brought entertainment to their hometowns.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Questions/Comments

Contact: tommya63@gmail.com

 

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