Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Old Forge’s Strand Theatre

StrandTheatre_newValentine’s Day may just be the time to have a small town film experience with old-fashioned appeal. The Strand Theatre in Old Forge offers a heady dose of nostalgia, not only with its beautiful Art Deco setting, but also with an eclectic collection of movie memorabilia. With four screens and seating of 708, the year-round Strand Theatre at Old Forge continues to bring new movies to the screen. Make sure to leave time to explore before choosing your seats.

For us, seeing a film isn’t what brought us inside the theatre doors, it was a window display of film reels and camera parts. After meeting co-owners Bob Card and Helen Zyma, my children and I were pleasantly surprised to turn the corner to find a mini-museum dedicated to film.

Antique box cameras and portable projectors line the aisles. Current movie posters and dated photographs hang from the walls. Framed flyers announcing vaudeville acts on the Strand Theatre stage from the 30s make us stop to catch glimpses of a shared history between Old Forge and the entertainment industry. There are hundreds of antiques and film mementos that speak of the love the owners have for this theatre.

Originally opening in 1923 and known as the Thompson Theatre, Card and Zyma have gone to great lengths to preserve the original structure, even keeping the Thompson stone nameplate on the building front for all to see.

According to Card, he and Helen Zyma purchased the theater in November 1991 and opened for business in early 1992. After extensive renovations to maintain the historical nature of the building and its contents, the Strand Theatre offers entertainment to locals and visitors every day of the year.

Card says,” We both have art backgrounds and owning the theatre is an extension of that expression. I had come in to watch a movie and came out thinking about a business. I fell in love, had to buy it and here we are twenty some years later.”

Card used to come to Old Forge as a child and remembers going to the movies. When the theatre went up for sale, he took a chance to combine his love of film and historic buildings into one location.

For film times call the special 24-hour movie hotline at 315-369-6703. The Strand is also available for conferences, private parties and special live events. For special events call 315-369-2792.  Enjoy!

Photo of the Strand Theatre courtesy Diane Chase, AdirondackFamilyTime.com.

Diane Chase

Diane Chase

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.


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3 Responses

  1. Tom Vawter says:

    Bob & Helen’s Strand would be a gem in any setting, but here in the central Adirondacks it’s especially precious, showing first-run movies at bargain prices in a funky art-deco building.

    The Strand and other small Adirondack movie houses now face a challenge to upgrade to expensive digital projection equipment as the industry phases out film. Let’s support the Strand and others with our patronage, and let’s hope grants or other funds will be made available.

    In the meantime, thanks, Bob, Helen and Noah (the ever-present canine companion and vacuum for spilled popcorn).

    Like or Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. Teresa Rozycki says:

    And don’t forget to stop by the ticket booth on the way out to talk with Bob. Many a night there are large groups standing in the doorway discussing the film. You don’t see that in the “big city.”

    Like or Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. JPH says:

    The Strand is a treasure! Denizens of Old Forge are grateful that the Strand is open year-round, so on the harshest winter day, we know we can catch a movie. Often we know everyone at a showing, and we enjoy a quick review as we exit to the lobby where we share our thoughts with Bob and Helen.
    The candy counter is just as retro as the building and you can even get Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!

    We all must support the Strand’s efforts to raise funds for the digital transition.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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