Let’s All Go To The Movies! Again!

By Gary Meyer

For over a year few of us could go to a theater and enjoy movies the way they were meant to be seen. Audiences are slowly feeling comfortable returning as theaters have made a host of improvements to protect us and to my knowledge no new cases of Covid have been tracked to a cinema.


If you love them movies I hope that you will enjoy this entire article.

(Updated July 28)

The Niles Silent Movie Museum  presented their annual Broncho Billy & Friends Film Festival online Friday, July 23 through Sunday, July 25, 2021 As the museum and theater are being renovated they couldn’t do an in person/virtual hybrid. But the theme of the weekend was about going out to the movies with a selection of wonderful classic films and recent documentaries about all kinds of venues from movie palaces to drive-ins.


Most of the films and pre-recorded presentations were streaming and many continue to stream at your convenience. There will be some live virtual sessions that were recorded and can be enjoyed here.. Almost all of the films are free to watch.

There were sessions on moviegoing during the 1918 influenza outbreak, Jon Mirsalis on discovering the lost Laurel and Hardy film, THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (with its famous pie fight), music and the movies, stories about Chaplin and Keaton, San Francisco in the Nickelodeon Age, how Niles became a movie making studio, movie palace architecture, and much more.

I hosted this panel: 

 “Keeping the Movie-Going Experience Alive”   

Saturday, July 24 at 10am PDT/1pm ET with a Q&A to follow.

The recording of the panel is posted on the Niles website and we will add that link when it is available. Or keep checking their site. Complete Festival Schedule here. 

Joining me were:

Adam Bergeron, CinemaSF: Balboa and Vogue Theaters, San Francisco

Emelyn Stuart, Stuart Cinema, Brooklyn

Lex Sloan, Roxie, San Francisco

Suki Van Arsdale, who works with numerous film festivals and is a Manager at the Elmwood Theatre, Berkeley

As a bonus we have included more about the panelists’ theaters plus favorite movie theater photos and short films below.

Keeping the Movie-Going Experience Alive

This weekend we are exploring the pleasures of seeing films on the big screen from the advent of the moving picture to the era of ornate luxury in atmospheric or themed palaces and into the future. This live Zoom session focused on what makes these mass entertainment venues successful.

                                                                                   BALBOA THEATRE




Representatives from cinemas in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond weighed in with their thoughts about what it took to bring in audiences when it was a new thing and the pivot needed in the aftermath of a pandemic.

Émile Reynaud launched the idea of bringing people together to experience projected images with his Théâtre Optique in 1892. It caught on and cinema has survived challenges from the last world-wide pandemic, radio, television, and numerous forms of home video.


After the past 18 months people want to get out of their homes and be part of that communal feeling that we get in a theater. We will discuss the kind of passion, creativity, programming, and showmanship that are needed as we embark on the next chapter of the movie going experience.

                                                                                       ROXIE THEATRE

                                                                                ELMWOOD THEATRE 

kids outside theater, 1922.jpg



 Théâtre Optique



The Perfect Music to get you in the Mood for the Movies.

11 Things We No Longer See in Movie Theaters 

For More old Lantern Slides go here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s