Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Takli Rama AKA The Raja Theater - Takli, Nakon Sawan, Thailand

The final installment from the town of Takli is the Takli Rama Theater. This phantom film venue has been shuttered for close to 10 years now, though beyond that I wasn't able to gather much information the place. It's safe to assume, I think, that it was built in the late 1960's, when Takli was playing host to US Air Force personnel at the base outside of town.

During an on-line search I came across two separate photo collections from two American vets who were stationed at Takli in the late 60's and early 70's. You can see a 1969 picture of the Takli Rama here, the second photo down in Steve Wilson's Takli Gallery II series. The caption reads "Monkhood Entry Procession," but the Takli Rama, back then called the Raja Theater, is visible in the background. The marquee is advertising a film called "Three Swinging Girls" which was a Shaw Brothers production from 1968.

The second photo is from a compilation called Takli Memory Joggers - more photos from American airmen stationed at Takli during the Vietnam War. It was submitted by Mike Koeler and can be seen by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page. Much to the detriment of movie theater photography, a row of shop houses has since been erected in front of the theater, boxing it in. I found it a little difficult to get a nice photo angle due to this later addition. But as Mike Koeler's picture attests to, the Takli Rama truly was a handsome theater in its hey-day.

A filthy pigeon soars past the roof-top sign of the old Takli Rama

In other news, there's a short article in the Film Journal International about a group of native English speakers living in Hua Hin, Thailand who've petitioned the local Major Cineplex, the country's largest purveyor of films, to show more movies with their original English language soundtracks, as opposed to being dubbed in Thai with English subtitles. The results of this petition, which consisted of 392 signatures when submitted on September 30th, are unknown.

It might be worth mentioning, however, that in the past many stand-alone theater owners were savvy to this critical audile issue. As a means of satisfying their majority-Thai audiences without alienating those who wanted or needed the original language soundtracks, most of the theaters built in the 1960's and 70's came equipped with "soundtrack rooms." These rooms were usually located next to the projection room, behind a glass wall, where for a premium one could watch the same movie that everybody else was watching but with the original soundtrack. It was a relatively simple way of keeping everybody happy.

The photo below of the Takli Rama's now-vacant lobby depicts what appears to be an old poster display board, beneath which is a sign in English that says: "Way Up To Sound Track Room"


  1. Wow i love these pics.

  2. Sad, the Buasavanh theatre in Vientiane (Stand alone theatre) just tore down last month. I feel sad when passed by but still lucky me i can see it from this blog.