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List: Posted: 08/11/11
If you're looking to find the oldest movie theaters in the U.S., it's important to understand that movie theaters didn't originate as purpose-built venues. In fact, the first time that a movie was displayed on a projection screen in the United States was at the Koster and Bial's Music Hall in New York City. The event occurred in 1896, on April 23, and was the first time that audiences were treated to the sight of the flickering images of a movie projector on a screen.
Thomas Edison is intrinsically connected with the history of motion pictures in the United States. His first projector was called the Vitascope, and the first theater that can be properly called a movie theater was the Vitascope Hall. It was located in a building that was formerly a store and opened in June of 1896 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Today, most of the old cinema theaters in the United States are considered historical landmarks. Many of them have been restored over the years and now show art and independent films, instead of standard Hollywood fare.
Some of the most historic movie theaters are also known for events that happened at them, rather than for their age. For example, the Texas Theater, located in Dallas, Texas was the location where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested by the police in 1963.
Unfortunately, some of the oldest movie theaters have been permanently demolished. In particular, this applies to the drive-in theaters that were very popular in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Many of these theaters were simply torn down and turned into vacant lots, or built-up with other development.
Some of the most popular historic theaters in the United States include the Lensic, which is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the River Oaks Theater in Houston, Texas.
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