We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
“I own that theater! Put my name up there!” Thus ranted Harry Warner, and so the Earle (named for the governor of Pennsylvania) became the Warner (named for a reviled tyrant). It must be hard for generations raised on multiplexes to imagine, but the palatial decor of that grandly restored hall was just a backdrop for showing movies. In 1949, the Warner chain alone had 17 houses in D.C., most of them with over 1,000 seats. Even more astounding is the fact that this city’s (and one of the country’s) premier showplaces, the Uptown, was originally built as a mere second-run neighborhood house. Demi Moore vehicles may be appropriately exhibited in cheap, tacky crackerboxes, but much too much has been lost to the wrecker’s ball. Robert K. Headley will discuss this sad decline and his book, A Theater Near You, in conjunction with the exhibit, “Temples of Amusement, Temples of Art: A Century of Washington Theaters,” at 6:30 p.m. at the Historical Society of Washington, 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW. $7. For reservations call (202) 785-2068. (Dave Nuttycombe)