Monday, April 12, 2010

A Peep Presentation of The Chalermphan (AKA Chicago) Theater - Bangkok, Thailand

Thanks to the foresight and due diligence of Mr. Peep, we are once again privy to a piece of Bangkok movie theater history which is no more. Today's feature stood on Pracharat Road Soi 2, in Bangkok's Bang Sue neighborhood. The Chalermphan Theater opened in 1968, at the height of Thailand's movie theater construction boom. From the start it was a second-run theater, showing movies which had already come and gone through the downtown cinema palaces, though with a seating capacity of 1,032, the Chalermphan must have been fairly palatial, itself. Huge, if nothing else.

Photo of the Chalermphan/Chicago Theater while still in operation

A rendezvous with the wrecking crew

At some point the Chalermphan was purchased by the Pyramid (Apex) Theater Company and had its name Anglicized (or Americanized) to "Chicago," a naming practice the theater magnate was apparently quite fond of. Besides movie exhibition, you see, Apex also used to be one of Bangkok's largest movie distributors. By buying up many of the second-run theaters around the city, Apex could then circulate its film stock without having to divide the profits with independent owners.

The Chalermphan/Chicago Theater operated until 2000. It crossed the River Styx in 2005.

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