Monday, May 11, 2009

The Dok Kham Tai Rama - Dok Kham Tai, Payao, Thailand

From cinema to karaoke hall, the Dok Kham Tai Rama Theater is testament to the evolution of entertainment in this corner of the world. While the operational costs for theaters like this outweigh the profits, there is money to be made in Karaoke - a more interactive and stimulating past-time than film for the average person of today.

A twenty minute bus ride from Payao city will bring you to the suburb of Dok Kham Tai; an unassuming little town, which culminates aesthetically in a tree lined canal that snakes through its center. Sound interesting? Well it's really not. I couldn't think of a more perfect example of how our love for conveniences (the home entertainment center) detracts from our cities and towns (no more movie theater). For Dok Kham Tai, it's the difference between having and not having a cultural venue. These are the things that add spice to life.

The lifeless auditorium, in the past one of Dok Kham Tai's most important social spaces, now all but forgotten by a culture-less town.

This was the first time I've encountered a projector still in the theater. Generally they are sold off along with the sound system and seats. The label on the back says Peerless, but apparently the Peerless company, based in Melrose Park, Illinois in the USA, only manufactures projector mounts and related equipment, not projectors themselves. Whatever make and model the projector is, it's at least 20 years old, as that's when the theater closed down.

I'm guessing that this projector is actually much older than 20 years. If you look in the opening you can see that it required a carbon rod for its light source. I'm no expert, but I don't think that style of projection is used much anymore.

The Dok Kham Tai Rama Theater: it opened in 1974 and closed in 1989.


  1. The Dok Kham Tai Rama cinema and Karaoke bar is closed !

  2. Thanks for the update. Do you know what's happening there now?