Sunday, February 23, 2014

At the Eastown, 47 Years Ago This Month

Here's a page from the Eastown booking log from February 1967--a little Elvis, a little Hitchcock, a little Des Moines ("The Hostage"). Still a far cry from its later bookings as the 1536!

Friday, February 14, 2014

January 2014 Interview: Golden Globes at the Fleur

Here's local celeb Mike Pace interviewing Mark Heggen about "Lost Cinemas", his career in LA and Des Moines, and new show "This Way Back" (premiering Monday at 9pm on MC22), along with the "Swingin' Sixties" segment from the "Lost Cinemas" feature! Click the link below to watch!

Mike Pace and Mark Heggen at the 2014 "Golden Globes at the Fleur"

Saturday, February 08, 2014

"Women at War" World Premiere

Des Moines' Michael Wieskamp's Pinterest page has a wonderful section of "Old Des Moines" photos--many of which include nice shots of Lost Cinemas. Here's a great one to get you started--then check out the rest of what he's posted. Great stuff, Michael!

"Women At War" Premiere at the Des Moines

How Influenza Affected DSM Moviegoing

      In 1918, the flu epidemic was a serious danger worldwide. In Des Moines, the public was mandated by law to wear face masks in public to prevent infection. Naturally, this was a problem for moviegoers--as they were huddled together in a common warm space. Here's an excerpt from an article on Influenza Archive:

"On December 2, the Board made that recommendation mandatory: as of noon that day, the wearing of face masks was required in all public places such as theaters and even college classrooms, but were not required in streetcars, office buildings, or stores and shops. Interestingly, theater and movie house operators were willing to close to bring about a quicker end to the epidemic, but were asked by the Board of Health to remain open. “We think a certain amount of amusement is necessary,” commented Commissioner of Public Safety Ben Wolgar.
"The mask order did not last long. Theatergoers were unhappy that they had to wear masks while watching stage performances or movies, and theater owners were unhappy that they had to enforce the order in their establishments. Box office receipts fell drastically. At the Garden Theater, for example, six hundred patrons attended the December 2 matinee show, before the mask order went into effect; only two hundred attended the evening performance. Across the city, theaters and movie houses reported half of the usual attendance. Many Des Moines residents, it seemed, so disliked wearing flu masks that they preferred to remain at home rather than to don one. Bending to the will of the people and business interests, and with the support of physicians who (correctly) argued that gauze masks did little to prevent the spread of influenza, the Board of Health revoked the order on December 4 and once again made the wearing of flu masks voluntary."

One of the theatres that remained open was the little Amuz-U, at east 5th and Locust: proprietor Rudy Elman's attempt at a solution was to seat people in alternate rows, so as to bring at least a little distance between patrons. The loss of business must not have been too hard on Elman, as this tiny single-screen remained open until 1953.

To read the full article, go here