Loew's Wonder Theatres
The Loew's Wonder Theatres were the five flagship movie palaces of the Loew's Theatres chain in and near New York City. These five lavishly designed theaters were built by Loew's to establish its preeminence in film exhibition in the metropolitan New York City area. All five theaters are still standing. One operates as a community performing arts center; one is a commercial live entertainment venue; two are currently used as churches; and one stands closed but is scheduled soon for restoration.
Paramount-Publix head Adolph Zukor acquired the successful Balaban and Katz theater chain in 1926. Partner Sam Katz would later run the Paramount-Publix theatre chain in New York City from the thirty-five story Paramount Theatre Building on Times Square).
Balaban and Katz had developed the Wonder Theater concept, first publicized around 1918 in Chicago. The Chicago Theatre, still operating in 2013, was created as an opulent theater with many amenities for its patrons and was advertised as a "wonder theatre". When Publix acquired the Balaban and Katz chain they embarked on a project to expand the wonder theaters, and started to build in New York in 1926. While Balaban and Publix were dominant in Chicago, Loew's was the major player in New York, and did not want Publix theaters to overshadow their own. The two companies brokered a non-competition deal for New York and Chicago, and Loew's took over the New York area projects, developing the five Loew's Wonder Theaters. Publix continued Balaban and Katz's wonder theater development in its home area.
- Loew's 175th Street Theatre, Manhattan (opened 1930) - In 2011, it operates as a church and an entertainment venue under the name United Palace Theater.
- Loew's Jersey Theatre, Jersey City (opened 1929) - It is operating in 2011 as a classic cinema and performing arts center.
- Loew's Kings Theatre, Brooklyn (opened 1929) - Slated for renovation to serve as an entertainment venue. Scheduled to open in 2014. Loew’s Kings was possibly the first theater designed for the post-silent era, eliminating the acoustical barrier of a large balcony.
- Loew's Paradise Theatre, The Bronx (opened 1929) - In 2011 it is operating as a venue for live entertainment.
- Loew's Valencia Theatre, Queens (opened 1929) - In 2011, it remains open as a church, the Tabernacle of Prayer.
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