While on the streets around Phayatai and Ratchathewi I spoke with dozens of shop-keepers, vendors and other ground-floor merchants hoping to get a theater lead. All they could do was point to high-rises, or vacant lots where there once stood what I sought. Names like Hollywood, MacKenna, Athens and Coliseum were mentioned frequently, accompanied often by nostalgic smiles, or reminiscent moments of silence. Once even a burst of outrage, just for show, I think.
The Coliseum Theater, featured today, was built by Mr. Maitree Kitiparaporn, one of Bangkok's more prolific theater builders of the 1960's and 70's. By the 1980's, Kitiparaporn's theater company, known as the Hollywood circuit, was being run by his daughter Pannin. She merged the Hollywood circuit with Apex, creating the Pyramid Circuit from the two. Later Pannin left the theater business and went on open Dream World, Bangkok's first and only full-sized amusement park. The Apex Three at Siam Square - Lido, Scala and Siam - are all that's left of a once-vast movie theater empire.
The above photo depicts the entrance arch and marquee to the now-demolished Coliseum Theater. It was taken by an American veteran stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam/American War, Robert Jazdzewski. A hand painted billboard above the marquee shows Aurthur Penn's 1967 romp "Bonnie and Clyde."
Though we can't see the Colisuem Theater itself, it's still a nice little capture of a time and a place.