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North Park Theater to close

Dipson Theaters has announced that it will cease to operate the North Park Theater, multiple winner of the Artvoice reader’s poll for best local movie theater, as of June 6. It is not known at this time if the building’s owner will seek another operator or repurpose the building.

Here is Dipson’s statement.

“It is with deep sadness that Dipson Theatres Inc., is announcing that it will no longer be operating the North Park Theatre on Hertel Avenue effective June 6th, 2013. The North Park Theatre has been an historical single screen movie theatre in Buffalo since it opened in 1920. It has been an amazing experience to offer the City of Buffalo such history and richness on the big screen.
“Dipson Theatres President and Vice President, Michael Clement and Bryan Spokane, wish to thank all of their dedicated staff for their hard work and dedication over the years. They are especially grateful for Mr. Norm Dechert, who began his employment at the theater in 1966 and held the title of General Manager until 2013. The North Park and Norm go hand in hand.
“Dipson Theatres thanks its patrons for their support and dedication over the years. The success of a local business thrives on the support of the community and its patronage. The North Park wasn’t the big guy in town, but it sure felt like it in the day, and that is thanks to all the wonderful community members and their support.
“The North Park Theatre is a historical single screen movie theatre in Buffalo, New York. It has functioned as a cinema since it opened in 1920.
Originally called Shea’s North Park, the theatre, along with Shea’s Performing Arts Center, serves as a remnant of the now defunct Shea’s theatre chain, once owned by early twentieth century businessman Michael Shea. Its design by Henry Spann was influenced by the neoclassical movement. The auditorium features a proscenium above the screen and a 5-paneled recessed dome arched into the ceiling, both decorated with murals by Raphael Beck.
“In June 1998, the North Park held the world premiere of Buffalo ’66. This marked the first major film to premiere in Buffalo since The Natural opened in 1984. In attendance were Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci, and Asia Argento.
“In the same city spirit, on Friday, May 31st, the North Park will release its final motion picture Queen City starring Vivica A. Fox and directed by Buffalo devotee Peter McGennis. The “North Park Farewell” will feature live blues from musical cast in attendance and opening night festivities will be filmed as bonus material for the future Queen City DVD & Soundtrack release paying respect to The North Park and other Buffalo landmarks. The event kicks off at 8:00 PM and tickets are $12.00.”

—M. Faust