But years before big-shot currency and real-estate speculators plunged the economies of East and Southeast Asia into financial Hades, Nong Khai managed to support three independently owned single-screen cinemas, the Peth Siam being one of them.
Built about 40 years ago by the Suksan family, the same family that now runs the Suksan Motel in town, the Peth Siam Theater was a motion picture beackon in this bustling little city on the banks of the Mekong. It boasted of a balcony and apparently the largest screen in town.
After it ceased as a movie theater, the owners experimented with turning it into a badminton hall. But according to Dahm, pictured below, "Nong Khai people are lazy and don't like to exercise." The badminton hall failed.
Dahm grew up right next door to the Peth Siam Theater. His father was employed there for many years as the projectionist, and as a little boy Dahm got to see movies for free.
Ladies and gentlemen, my all time favorite free-standing movie theater sign. Imagine that diamond all lit up at night!
The Siam Diamond Theater: It lost its luster about 10 years ago, though in its heyday it most certainly shined.