Landmark Cinemas and the Berkun Family Trust have reached an agreement. Our town’s last remaining single-screen theatre is and will remain a Landmark.
The following letter just arrived from Mr. Ted Mundorff, CEO Landmark Theatres: "We have come to an agreement that will allow us to stay in the theatre. We aren't done with all the details or the legalities etc., and will release a statement when we get closer…hopefully today or tomorrow. YOU ARE THE MAN! Thanks for the help and really we should rename the theatre the Scott."
Ted paid a visit to the Ken earlier today where he met with Bob Berkun’s grandchildren, Barry Green and Randi Kolender-Hock, to shake hands on it. Berkun, who built The Ken in 1947, eventually entrusted his theatre to Landmark in 1975.
"Happy Days are Here Again!" (Ben Selvin and the Crooners)
Face facts: Landmark is the only chain in town qualified to operate The Ken. There are other exhibitors, those eager to defile by multiplexing and put more thought into lobby decor than they do programming, that could assume the lease, but the family would hear no talk of The Ken 1-3.
Did anyone bother asking Ian Campbell if he wanted assume control of The Ken? I’d love to see a double bill of Grand Slam Opera and A Night at the Opera.
The second acquisition in the Landmark chain, The Ken has been under their control for over half of its 68 years. The oldest game in town, Landmark get first dibs on all the specialty product. When it comes to booking first-run art, indie, and foreign fare, no one, not even my beloved Gaslamp, has the clout to compete.
The same goes for first run releases which are all scooped up by AMC’s Mission Valley and Fashion Valley. The Ken was designed as a modest neighborhood theatre, not a house to exhibit blockbuster thrill rides. Impossible to stagger showtimes or accommodate spillover, distributors are reluctant to book single-screen venues.
I received more well-intentioned calls and retweets after breaking the news of The Ken’s possible closure than any story before. The reason we got into this mess in the first place lies squarely on the shoulders of you horse-faced hypocrites who do nothing more than pay lip service to the place. Get your lazy duffs out of the living room and support The Ken or face the consequences of a laundromat taking its place.
Check back tomorrow for a followup and interviews with the major players. We may not have the opera back, but damn if we didn't save one of the best single-screen houses in all the land from a fate worse than multiplexing.