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Chillicothe Times-Bulletin - Chillicothe, IL
  • Town Theatre adds 3D capability

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  • Town Theatre may look like an old theater in downtown Chillicothe, but its looks are deceiving.
    After three years of the Chillicothe Optimist Club owning Town Theatre, the theater now offers the modern conveniences of newer theatres.
    When the Optimists bought the theater in late 2009, they already had been working on plans to replace the aging seats with new ones, clean, paint, install a new stereo curtain and update the fire alarm system.
    But the club members could see what was looming: 35 mm film projectors are being replaced with digital projectors. They began raising funds again, and also received more assistance from the city.
    It was the installation of the digital projectors in the two auditoriums that brought on the theater's latest update: 3D.
    While updating to digital projectors, the supplier who sold the Optimists the new projectors who was in town made a discovery: theater two had a silver screen, which could project a 3D image.
    Theaters can rent the equipment needed for 3D, and once it was secured and installed, the Optimists found they could not produce a 3D image in the 99-seat auditorium.
    Upon closer inspection, it appeared that the screen had been painted over, ruining its 3D polarization.
    The Optimists decided to replace the screen for around $3,500 so they could show 3D, according to Irvin Latta, treasurer of the Town Theatre board for the Optimists.
    "The digital projectors are so cool, they're like computers," said Latta, adding that they can download both the regular movie and 3D version.
    Movies in 3D usually will be shown once a day, which costs an extra $3 and includes the special glasses.
    "You can now get as a good a movie theater as you can anywhere," said Latta of the digital projectors, sound and 3D additions. "You can save money, save gas and part of your ticket price goes to the kids."
    Latta said the theater has been getting many first-run movies, but a few times, such as "Zero Dark Thirty," "Skyfall," and "Lincoln," there are only so many available copies of the movie to theaters.
    "2012 was a very good year for us. We were within 300 people of last year," he said of attendance figures.
    The main theme the Optimists are pushing is to come see a movie in town.
    "You need to come to the local theater when you see a movie," said Latta. "For every ticket we sell, we think we lose four or five to Peoria."
    Free Friday night movies continuing
    Beginning in January last year, 64 businesses sponsored a free Friday night movie every week.
    This year the program will continue, but is slightly scaled back. This year 40 businesses are participating, which allows for 90 people instead of 140 to watch a free movie.
    Page 2 of 2 - The businesses pay $50 a month to pay for the tickets given away each Friday night.
    "In 2012, we had nearly 6,000 people see a free movie," said Latta.
    Grease Sing-A-Long Jan. 28
    The Optimists are trying out their first sing-a-long Jan. 28 at Town Theatre.
    Normally closed on Monday nights, the theater will show the classic, "Grease," which has been remastered and includes all the words to the songs.
    Emcee Bob Howell will lead the audience through some vocal warm ups and teach a dance number or two before the movie begins.
    Participants are encouraged to dress up in their favorite "Grease" attire, and the best dressed male and female will win two tickets per month for a year to Town Theatre.
    Advance sale tickets are $10 each and are available at the Chillicothe Town Theatre, CEFCU, South Side Bank, Maloof Realtors or by calling 231-4532.
    Special reserve seating opportunities are available for groups of 10 or more.

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