We will provide an entertaining and educational movie theater experience to enhance visitors understanding and appreciation of historic movies and movie theaters, while protecting and preserving an important architectual artifact. The Plaza Theater in Ottawa Kansas.
Recently we uncovered historical evidence about our small town twin theater. We have proof of movie showings starting in the year of 1905. We believe we are a candidate to break the current Guinness Book of World Records
Creating a entertaining experience celebrating the past and the future of movies as a regional tourist attraction for others while continuing to offer first-run movies to our small town.
The Experience will use two theater screens and a back room area that still holds the stage where the first movies were played. The program will last close to two hours and take visitors through all the rooms in this theater.
Stage 1- The start of motion pictures. A 20 minute documentary on the history of silent movies. We have access to a hand colored print from 1903 "the great train robbery". We also have a beautiful photograph of that film being shown in a tent next to the theater in 1905. We will explore the progression of filmmaking through the early years. We have a wonderful organization to produce the documentary, who through family, once owned the theater. Below the screen you will see and hear the piano player.
Stage 2- Interactive Exhibits- Early 30s cinema ticket booth, actual 35 mm projector operating,a display on how movie prints were taped together and repaired. A display of the art of movie posters. Mannequins dressed in fashion made famous by a particular movie, copies of newspaper stories from the early 1900's in regards to movies playing in the local area. Models of the first projectors used, stereo card display (first 3D images). A talking mannequin narrating your tour. (Using a company that has a reputation for creating talking museum exhibits). A full size creature from the black lagoon to direct you into the next room
Stage 3- 3 D and 4D Movie Experience- Our premier feature 3D film will have choreographed special effects to compliment the feature. Rain, wind and snow and a few other surprises. Gary Crawford, a special effects expert will be assisting us with this feature.
Upon exiting the 4D experience you will be able to enjoy the many gifts and keepsakes in our gift shop.
We will be open seasonally and for group reservations off season.
Our attraction program will open 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. and first run movies will be shown daily at 7 p.m.
We will be adding 2 full-time and 4 part-time jobs to our community.
All contractors and installation will be done by our local businesses.
We are a small town 12,000 with two very large towns 30 to 40 minutes away. This is the only theater in our community.
Risks and challenges
The unique challenges I have experienced in the past working on historic buildings have been infrastructure issues. Many times improving a building can also uncover many more faults. We take each issue one day at a time, research options and "get our hands dirty" to fix them. This sweet old theater has been well taken care over the years, from roof to sewers to electrical issues. The number one consistent issue in development is dealing with regulations. With this project, we will be working with our local government from the inception onward. We need this spark to ignite our downtown economy.
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