City’s Ownership Could Spell Extinction of Film Presentation Excellence in Baltimore

Barring any challenge to the validation of Baltimore City’s foreclosure auction of July 22nd, the city’s Circuit Court is expected the formalize the city’s ownership of the historic Senator Theatre by the end of the day. A mere 17 days shy of the theatre’s 70th anniversary… Yes, for me it is a Black Friday.

In any case the BDC (Baltimore Development Corporation) expects to release their RFP (Request For Proposals) the this Monday, September 21 and has stated it will accept proposals through November 20, 2009.

Whatever you may think of the situation or how it came about, I’d have to challenge anyone who would argue that there has been a better venue in Baltimore in which to experience a motion picture than at The Senator Theatre.

I have never experienced the level of presentation excellence anywhere in the Baltimore area  (since I began attending The Senator in the mid-80’s) – Not to mention I’ve never had issues trying to simply watch a film without interruptions/distractions, I have, at least once, in every other movie venue I’ve patronized… In many cases, the first was the last.

And perhaps that is a contributing factor as to why even the multiplexes are experiencing financial difficulties? Why put up with rude audiences, below par projection and sound? I mean really. Compared to many local venues, I’ve seen better presentation staying at home watching a DVD (or if you’ve got the TV & player for it, Blu-ray)!

Think I’m imagining or alone in this?

Consider the following quote from Gavin Hood, director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, at the recent Fox press event for the film’s Blu-ray release (reported on

“What’s great about Blu-ray is that it really comes as close as possible to that first original screening [of your film],” he noted, after complaining about how often he’s suffered through screenings of his films and been disappointed by the presentation quality, even in most theatres.

Tyler Perrys I Can Do Bad All By Myself - See the crystal clear presentation while you can!

Tyler Perry's "I Can Do Bad All By Myself" - See the crystal clear presentation while you can!

So, I invite you to read Baltimore’s Last Chance for Film As It Should Be Seen?
and strongly encourage you, your friends, your neighbors to experience for yourself, award-winning film exhibition on a monstrous 40ft screen, with an amazing sound system,  in Baltimore’s last historic single screen movie house…
While you still can.

A fading art… In an endangered species.

My sincere thanks to Tom Kiefaber, Gayle Grove, Bill Hewitt, as well as all the past Senator staff for more than 20 years of wonderful memories.
And to the volunteers that have been helping to keep things going since March!

-Tom Harris


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thank you Tom for the great article, and truth about The Senator. If I watch a movie anywhere else (except at home) I always experience crying babies, rude kids, dust and dirt on the film or lenses, and sometimes seemingly bad cuts/splices in the film.

    And I certainly want to echo those thank you’s to Tom, Gayle, and the rest of managers and staffers over the years, as well as all of the volunteers that have been helping out during these tough times.

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