Friday, March 5, 2010

The Krung Thon Rama AKA California Theater - Bangkok, Thailand (Another Peep addition)

This was the Krung Thon Rama, later known as the California Theater. When I look at these photos, which come courtesy of Mr. Peep, I can't help but shake my head in disappointment. It must take an extremely cold stroke of judgment to oversee the destruction of a building like this. Sure, it's no Taj Mahal or Sistine Chapel, but it was obviously conceived with a higher ideal in mind; a movie cathedral to serve the surrounding neighborhood. It's hard to imagine a building like the Krung Thon Rama comprising anything less than an emotional connection to the people living in the area. Rising above the roof, its free-standing letters boldly announced the theater's presence. Come one, come all, to a world of fantasy. High lancet arches upholding the facade informed the entrant that they were leaving their troubles behind for a while.

The Krung Thon Rama was a 1972 addition to Bangkok's silver screen circuit, enlivening the Thonburi area of town on Jaransanitwong Road, Soi 57/2. It was the brain child of Mr. Sa-nguan Saengwerapansiri, who was a bit of a movie theater mogul of the times. Saengwerapansiri founded such other movie palaces as the Prathipat, the Chalermpan and the Siam theaters, which later became the New Orleans, Chicago and Las Vegas respectively after being sold to Apex in the late 1970's early 80's. His Krung Thon Rama was renamed the California following the transaction, operating under that title until its final closure in 2003. It has since been destroyed.

"Nothing much to do in town with the picture show closed"

-Duane Jackson played by Jeff Bridges in The Last Picture Show

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