Tales from the Downtown Theatre

With the awful blaze that decimated the former Empress Hotel at 335 Yonge St. over the weekend, I’ve been thinking about the evolution of the Yonge and Dundas area — the former Yonge Street Strip. One of the most noticeable changes over the past decades is the disappearance of store-front movie theatres and their sky-jutting, neon-lit pylons. In the above day-and-night photos taken by John Wallington in March of 1972, behold the long-forgotten Downtown Theatre, located on what is now the south end of Dundas Square (Streetview shot here).

The Downtown opened in 1948, but is featured here on the opening day of the fantastic Amicus horror film anthology Tales From The Crypt.

In the week leading up to its premiere, newspaper advertisements for the film generated buzz when they announced that the first 500 patrons of the Friday matineeĀ  would receive the Bantam Books novelization of the flick.

Many thanks to John Wallington for the photos.

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