Earlier this summer, we reflected on the closure of the Reel Deal Theater with an #InsideTheArchives post on Facebook exploring the history of movie theaters in our community. Since the Manhattan Project, Los Alamos has had six separate theaters with some of those being acquired by different owners and renamed. Our Archives has a number of photographs, newspaper articles, and paper artifacts (such as the Zia Co. calendar you can see with this post) that show or reference these local theaters. Many people remember these places as centers for fun, entertainment, and socialization as they grew up.
Buildings can bring back a lot of memories. One gentleman who grew up in White Rock recalls attending the opening of Star Wars in 1977 at the White Roxy Theater. A local woman remembers staging a sit-in on the lawn in front of the Centre Theatre because the Theatre would not allow a group of 16-year-old girls in to see the film Easy Rider even though they had an adult chaperone.
Do you have memories that revolve around these theater buildings? Does a particular movie you saw or event come to mind when you hear these names?
Short history of Los Alamos movie theaters:
–Theatre #1 was renamed the Hill Theater after the end of the Manhattan Project and closed on July 1, 1950.
–Theatre #2 was located near where the current VFW stands between Central Avenue and Trinity Drive. It served a variety of purposes including church services and movie showing with an altar standing at one end and a screen on the other.
–The Hill Theatre, established by the Atomic Energy Commission and different from Project Y's Hill Theater, operated from 1951–1955. The building, on Central Avenue, then became a department store and later CB Fox.
–The Centre Theater opened in 1948 in the Los Alamos Community Center with the soda bar on one side and the bowling alley on the other. It did not change locations, but changed names to High Society Cinema, later the Trans-Lux High Society Cinema, and was redesigned as a triplex by Santa Fe architect Conrad Skinner. It is recorded as closing in 2001.
–White Roxy Theatre opened in 1972 and switched ownership two or three years later. According to Cinema Treasures this was later combined with the former Commonwealth Centre Theater and renamed the Roxy Centro Theatre and closed in 1987.
–Reel Deal Theater opened in December 2003 and recently closed on June 9, 2020 after serving the community of Los Alamos for 17 years.
These articles are written by the Los Alamos Historical Society Staff. Many of these articles were originally published by the