From the stories of our classic theaters to tales of industry and intrigue featuring the savvy and tough entrepreneurs of movie entertainment, this first ever history of cinema in the Twin Cities reveals the influence of Hollywood on the lives and imaginations of Minnesotans and that of Minnesotans on the film industry today Filled with photos of the dazzling marquees and great theaters of yesterday and today, historian Dave Kenney s highly readable account offers rich histories of some of the grandest theaters ever constructed Featured are movie palaces like the Minnesota in downtown Minneapolis, with its well synchronized phalanx of ushers and cavernous yet elegant interior, and the Cooper in St Louis Park, with its films projected larger than life inmm Cinerama Yet behind many of these cinemas electrifying facades are the impresarios and business leaders who took the risks and made the fortunes, like nationally known theater mogul and Hollywood producer Ted Mann, who transformed Minnesota moviegoing in the fifties and sixties, and porn king Ferris Alexander, whose unconventional business activities resulted in the preservation of many now treasured historical monuments Then there are the people of the Twin Cities, who have seen and tested some of the biggest movies of all time Dave Kenney is a Twin Cities native and a freelance writer specializing in Minnesota history His books include Twin Cities Album A Visual History andMinnesota Goes to War The Home Front during World War II both MHS Press I received this book as a Christmas gift last year and have been a bit hesitant to dive in, since it looked a bit dry Published by the Minnesota Historical society, Kenney s narrative follows the evolution of cinema show houses in Minneapolis, from the picture palace heyday of the 1930s through the drive in era, the cineplex seventies, and the recent megaplex boom Its a thorough history that aimsat the casual historian than the casual reader I d say this is a book for librariestha I received this book as a Christmas gift last year and have been a bit hesitant to dive in, since it looked a bit dry Published by the Minnesota Historical society, Kenney s narrative follows the evolution of cinema show houses in Minneapolis, from the picture palace heyday of the 1930s through the drive in era, the cineplex seventies, and the recent megaplex boom Its a thorough history that aimsat the casual historian than the casual reader I d say this is a book for librariesthan bookshelves.That aside, it was an interesting book that helped me see the arc of moviegoing in the Twin Cities as it compared to the rest of the country A few other tidbits The big movie palaces down town used to have a lock on first run films The suburban show houses would get second, third, or fourth run films It was the loss of this prime material that doomed the big theaters to osbscurity Many of the big palaces went through an evolution from Vaudeville movie houses to Picture palace to dual screen to porn house to shuttered rattrap to restored fine arts live performance venue My favorite part of the book were the recurring stories about Minnesota do gooders who tried to get films banned Invariably, a few key decision makers were invited to screen the movie, they decided it wasn t that bad, it ran and made a lot of money because the protest had caused a lot of publicity The best chapter tells the story of the rise and fall of the drive in industry Drive ins opened to the consternation of conventional theater owners, who lost business during the hot summer months Young people flocked to the theaters for the relative privacy they offered As time went by and the industry changed, many drive ins were sold to developers at a great profit, taking advantage of the suburb boom in the Twin Cities Drive in owners reveal that they didn t really care about cinema at all drive ins were just a way to make some money while they waited for development to reach their area The movie Airport was filmed in Minneapolis I like that movie When I was in college, a buddy of mine called me up and said he had tickets to a test screening of Great Expectations When we got there it turned out to be Titanic On my comment card, I suggested that they cut out a scene which they DID cut out I think James Cameron owes me a couple million bucks for that advice Kenney s book recounted the tale and added two facts that I hadn t heard before First, that Cameron was there doing focus groups blast Why didn t I get invited to one Second, that our test screening was the first test screening of the film I was one of the first 500 people outside the movie studio to see the completed movie Booyah Oddly enough, the same friend who invited me to that screening also gave me this book.Not a bad read a bit dry, but really interested if you read it a few pages at a time If you love movies and are interested in the architectural history of the Twin Cities, this one s a no brainer Check it out It s both a loving tribute to the old movie houses of Minneapolis and St Paul and an overview of changing trends in the movie distribution game Incidentally, the appendix which purportedly lists all the movie theaters and drive ins which have come and gone in the Twin Cities is missing at least one entry I know for a fact there was a drive in in Brooklyn Park that s no If you love movies and are interested in the architectural history of the Twin Cities, this one s a no brainer Check it out It s both a loving tribute to the old movie houses of Minneapolis and St Paul and an overview of changing trends in the movie distribution game Incidentally, the appendix which purportedly lists all the movie theaters and drive ins which have come and gone in the Twin Cities is missing at least one entry I know for a fact there was a drive in in Brooklyn Park that s not listed It was around during the 70s and I have early childhood memories of driving by it at night Then, before it was ultimately replaced by a grocery store, the lot sat vacant for many years The posts for car speakers stood there for a long time.That minor quibble aside, this is one cool book It makes a great double feature with Joe Bob Briggs Profoundly Disturbing Shocking Movies That Changed History The story of a monkey giveaway gone awry at one downtown Minneapolis movie palace made me laugh for days.