Thursday, June 17, 2021

"Lost Cinemas" is back on Varsity Virtual in a Special Edition!

After a successful premiere this May on Varsity Virtual, "Lost Cinemas of Greater Des Moines" is back, with several special bonus features, including a recreation of Ted Malone's CBS Radio coverage of the "State Fair" premiere in 1945 (starring our very own Gene Hamilton as Ted), a deleted scene of Craig Binnebose's Drive-In Museum, and a fun animated follow-the-bouncing-ball singalong of "Take Your Girlie To The Movies"!

Tickets are only $5.00, and a portion of the funds go towards the wondrous restoration of the Varsity Theatre, with plans to reopen to the public in 2022.

If you missed "Lost Cinemas" the first time around, or can't wait to see it again, do it here:

Stay tuned for further details on new platform availabilities!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Today's edition of "Hello Iowa!" on WHO-TV 13 included a short interview with yours truly, the director of "Lost Cinemas". Megan Reuther was a most professional and congenial host--but don't take my word for it, take a look right here:

Hello Iowa: Lost Cinemas

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The WORLD PREMIERE of "Lost Cinemas of Greater Des Moines", the documentary!


At long last, the video documentary of "Lost Cinemas of Greater Des Moines" is complete!

The film will be available for a FREE special run at the Varsity Theater's Virtual Varsity online site, starting Friday, May 14, 2021 for a two-week run!

Additionally, the Varsity will be providing authentic and delicious Varsity popcorn as a drive-up treat--check their site for details on how to get it!

If you're new to the "Lost Cinemas" film, you're in for a surprising treat-- nearly an hour of amazing footage, pictures, music, and stories about Des Moines' moviegoing past that will surely make you see our town in an entirely new light. If you've seen the festival cuts of "Lost Cinemas" before, you still haven't seen a version like this--the final cut includes new segments about the 1950s drive-in church phenomenon, the gala world premiere of "Night of the Hunter" downtown, and newly-added footage of the Paramount's final destruction in 1979!

So tune in and take a trip back to old Des Moines, and be part of the Varsity Theater's big comeback, through the amazing efforts of Des Moines Film (formerly Des Moines Film Society). Des Moines Film is a nonprofit, working to rehabilitate the Varsity--their goal is part historic preservation, part modernization to make it the best place in Des Moines for serious film lovers to see a movie.

The Varsity is the last of Des Moines' single-screen theaters, and will re-open its auditorium with some extraordinary updates that will make the Varsity experience all the better, so please learn more and support their efforts at: 

And if you still can't get enough of the "Lost Cinemas" experience...stay tuned for news about the deluxe roadshow edition, with many fabulous bonus features, to come later in 2021!

Monday, May 10, 2021

COMING THIS WEEK to Varsity Virtual: the world premiere of "Lost Cinemas of Greater Des Moines", the documentary!

Watch the new trailer for the completed "Lost Cinemas" video, and stay tuned for imminent details
on this fabulous FREE online premiere through the Varsity Des Moines!


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