Curtains closing on landmark Kitsilano theatre
Published Sunday, May 29, 2011 8:00PM PDT
Vancouver's landmark Hollywood Theatre has been sold, and will be screening its final double-feature Sunday night.
Current owner Dave Fairleigh's grandfather Reginald built the 651-seat theatre in 1935. It's been in the family ever since, though customs have certainly changed.
Fairleigh says when his grandfather ran the show, "he wouldn't let a man in without a tie and a woman had to have a skirt on."
"I forget the admission," Fairleigh added. "It might have been ten cents."
Fairleigh took over the theatre in the 1980s and enjoyed several years of success. His best memories involve lineups around the block, when his theatre was so popular he could employ his four sons and a nephew.
But as movie downloading and services like Netflix became more popular, audiences dwindled. Eventually, Fairleigh was forced to lay off some of his family.
"That hurt," he said. "I'd find myself [working] alone a lot."
Fairleigh says rising property taxes and the Harmonized Sales Tax put the final nails in the theatre's coffin. "It's a sad thing, it really is. The community really loves the theatre."
The West Broadway location is well known among Vancouver cinephiles, who will remember it for its art deco design, cheap tickets and double-features.
The building's future is uncertain, but Fairleigh said it could continue to be leased out as a theatre. As for his own plans, Fairleigh said retirement will have its benefits.
"I work the whole day and at midnight I'm cleaning... I'm looking forward to a life with my wife."
The final night will begin with Cinema Paradiso (1988), an Italian film about a small town theatre that won an Academy Award for best foreign film. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber