Old theaters deserve better

The Gripe

The gripe

September 08, 2006|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Seeing that the Maryland Film Festival will be bringing a series of rock 'n' roll movies to the beautifully renovated and refurbished Hippodrome Theatre next week - and kudos to anyone who brings movies back to that grand old movie palace - brings to mind a continuing sore point that tarnishes Baltimore's growing reputation as a great place to be a movie fan.

Why can't something be done about all the wonderful old movie theaters that lie abandoned and apparently unwanted throughout the city? Can't someone breathe life back into these civic treasures?

Every time I take the light rail north, I wince when the train passes the boarded-up Mayfair Theatre on Howard Street, where a sign still promises "continuous performances at popular prices." Someone needs to put movies back into the old Parkway Theatre on North Avenue. It's a disgrace, bordering on the criminal, that the fabulous Town Theatre on Fayette Street sits there unused.

At least these buildings haven't suffered the fate of Highlandtown's beloved Grand, which was unceremoniously demolished in 2003. Can't something be done to ensure that the rest of Baltimore's empty and neglected movie houses don't follow suit? Certainly, in a city with only three operating theaters, there's room for more.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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