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Laramie Film Society
film.laramie.wy.us

[Picture of the Wyo Theatre, 309 S. 5th]

Promoting Cinema in Laramie, Wyoming


Latest News and Upcoming Events
The Spring Film Series at the Wyo Theatre
50th anniversary movie poll
LFS shows "The Goat" at Eppson Center
LFS is now officially a 501 (c)(3) organization
History of the Wyo Theatre
History of the Laramie Film Society
More About the Group
How to Join LFS
Join the LFS E-mail List!
How to Volunteer/Get Involved
Minutes of meetings
Important Documents
LFS Facebook Page


The free Not Shown Before at a Theater Near You Film Series

May 25, 2014 -- The Not Shown Before at a Theater Near You film series starts June 8 and runs through September 21, featuring such award-winning films as The Tree of Life (2012) and Stagecoach (1939).

Film screenings are each Sunday night at 7 p.m. at the Albany County Public Library. Admission is free. This series is sponsored by the Albany County Public Library, the Laramie Film Society and the Wyoming Peace, Justice and Earth Center with support from the University of Wyoming Libraries and other organizations.

The idea is to show some of the best films from last year that never made it to local theaters as well as some classics and films about peace, justice and the environment. We had a good response to this series last summer, so we decided to do it again.

There is no admission charge for these films and we provide free popcorn and pop. Three of us have been doing most of the work on this series, Robert Roten, Nancy Sindelar of the Wyoming Peace Justice and Earth Center and Lynn Hamblin of the Laramie Film Society, with some help from volunteers Nora and Patrick Ivers. We have been using most of the donations and our own labor to upgrade the library's multimedia facilities.

So far, we have purchased various audio and visual cables, cables, speaker wire, speakers, a surround sound amplifier, subwoofer amplifier, P.A. amplifier, microphones and other equipment. We have also built a shelf near the ceiling to mount the library's new Hi-Def projector and constructed enclosures and wheel mounts for portable speakers. We've also calibrated the library's video system. So far, donations have covered food and film rental expenses as well as most of these equipment upgrades. Come join us at the movies!

Following is the schedule for the film series. Each movie is given a quality rating and is linked to reviews. Below the schedule is a synopsis of each film and other information, including awards these films have won. An asterisk following the name of the film means the film is rated by means of an average of reviews of major critics at metacritic.com, or at the Movie Review Query Engine, or by other means. In some cases these same titles are linked to the Movie Review Query Engine site (MRQE.com), where there are numerous reviews of each film. Other ratings and reviews, with no asterisk, are from the Laramie Movie Scope site.

Dates marked TBA designate films that will be chosen in the near future. Check back often to see updates and possible changes in the summer film series schedule.

June 8 -- The Way, Way Back[3 stars]
June 15 -- The Book Thief[4 stars]
June 22 -- The Tree of Life[4 stars]
June 29 -- The Namesake[4 stars]
July 6 -- Stagecoach[4 stars]*
July 13 -- Cyrus[4 stars]
July 20 -- Millions[3.5 stars]
July 27 -- The East[2.5 stars]*
August 3 -- The Education of Little Tree[3 stars]
August 10 -- Fast Food Nation[2.5 stars]*
August 17 -- Fat Man and Little Boy[2 stars]*
August 24 -- Celebration at Big Sur[3 stars]*
August 31 -- Under the Bombs (Souse les bombes)[3.5 stars]
September 7 -- Neil Young: Heart of Gold[3.5 stars]
September 14 -- The Grapes of Wrath[4 stars]*
September 21 -- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty[3 stars]*

Synopses of series films

June 8 -- The Way, Way Back (2013): 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) is an unhappy kid on a bad summer vacation with his mother (Toni Collette) and her control-freak boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell). Duncan finds an unlikely mentor and employer, Owen (Sam Rockwell) at a nearby water park. Owen helps Duncan find his own way in the world and stand up for himself. Liam James won the breakthrough performance award from Young Hollywood Awards and the film was named best U.S. Feature film at the Newport Beach Film Festival. It was also nominated for 20 other awards. Rated PG-13, running time 103 minutes.

June 15 -- The Book Thief (2013): Based on the beloved bestselling novel by Markus Zusak, The Book Thief tells the inspirational story of Liesel Meminger, a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a new family in World War II Germany. Stars Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson. Sophie Nélisse won the spotlight award at the Hollywood film festival for her performance as Liesel Meminger, and similar awards from the Phoenix Film Critics Society and Satellite Awards. This film is rated PG-13 and has a running time of 131 minutes.

June 22 -- The Tree of Life (2011): Renowned film director Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line) helmed this ambitious film about the creation of the universe, the meaning of life and life after death. Starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn, this movie was named film of the year by the American Film Institute. It won over 50 other international awards, including the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It is rated PG-13 with a running time of 139 minutes.

June 29 -- The Namesake (2006): Award winning director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) brings us a tale of a family's move from Calcutta to New York who are trying to meld to a new world without forgetting the old. Though parents Ashoke and Ashima (Irfan Khan, Tabu) take pride in the opportunities their sacrifices have afforded their children, their son Gogol (Kal Penn) is torn between finding his own identity without losing his heritage. It was named a top independent film by the Board of Review and it won a top award at a Bulgarian film festival. It is rated PG-13 with a running time of 122 minutes.

July 6 -- Stagecoach (1939): People traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by Indian attacks and learn something about each other along the way. Legendary film director John Ford was credited with the invention of the modern Western in this film, which also made John Wayne a star. Winner of two Academy Awards, this film was added to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress in 1995. “G” rated with a running time of 96 minutes.

July 13 -- Cyrus (2010): In this romantic comedy, Cyrus (played by Jonah Hill) the grown son of Molly (Marisa Tomei) deviously undermines a budding romance between his mother and John (John C. Reilly). This film was nominated for a total of five awards by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, by the Independent Spirit Awards and by the Satellite Awards. Rated R, running time 91 minutes.

July 20 -- Millions (2004): A young boy with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Catholic saints discovers a fortune from a robbery and is pursued by a bungling band of crooks, while he uses the money to help others. This film won a top award from the Phoenix Film Critics Society. It also won the best screenplay award from the British Independent Film Awards. It was nominated for six other international awards. Rated PG-13, running time 98 minutes.

July 27 -- The East (2013): A covert female operative, Sarah, infiltrates an anarchist faction that stages clandestine attacks on major corporations, and finds her mission compromised when she falls for the group's charismatic leader in this tense and topical thriller. Sarah finds her sympathies shifting, leading to an intense crisis of conscience that causes her to reassess her priorities. Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, and Patricia Clarkson co-star. This film won the Joe Barber Award for Best Portrayal of Washington, DC, by the DC film critics. Rated PG-13, running time 116 minutes.

August 3 -- The Education of Little Tree (1997): During the Great Depression, a Cherokee boy, Little Tree, learns about a Native American way of life in the mountains with his grandfather before being forcibly removed by authorities to a boarding school. Based on an award-winning book of the same name written by Asa Earl Carter, who also wrote the book on which “The Outlaw Josey Wales” was based. This film won two First Americans in the Arts awards and two Young Artist awards for three of the actors, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal and Joseph Ashton. Rated PG, running time 112 minutes.

August 10 -- Fast Food Nation (2006): This fictional film is loosely based on the best-selling non-fiction book of the same name by Eric Schlosser. The film is directed by award-winning director Richard Linklater. The story follows a number of people who are working in businesses related to the fast food industry. Rated R, running time 116 minutes.

August 17 -- Fat Man and Little Boy (1989): This is a dramatization of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bombs used in World War II. The two main personalities in the film, military commander of the project, General Leslie R. Groves (Paul Newman) and lead scientist, J. Robert Oppenheimer (Dwight Schultz) are at odds with each other in the pressure cooker environment of Los Alamos. Rated PG-13, running time 127 minutes.

August 24 -- Celebration at Big Sur (1971): This documentary chronicles the 1969 Big Sur Festival and features the folk-rock tunes of many of the era's most influential musicians. Included is Joan Baez singing “I Shall Be Released.” Other musicians featured include, Joni Mitchell, John Sebastian, along with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Rated PG, running time 82 minutes.

August 31 -- Under the Bombs (Souse les bombes) (2007): In late summer and early fall of 2006, heavy Israeli air strikes in retaliation against Hezbollah caused 1189 deaths, mostly civilians. Into this environment, filmmaker Philippe Aractingi brought two actors and a film crew. The story is about a mother and a taxi driver looking through the devastation for a small boy who is lost. The refugees, soldiers and almost all the people seen in the film are people actually living and working in the aftermath of destruction from this military action. This film won seven awards from international film festivals. It is rated TV 14 (for children 14 and above) and runs 98 minutes.

September 7 -- Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006): This western-themed Neil Young concert movie was filmed during performances at historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. It was innovatively filmed over two evening performances by award-winning director Jonathan Demme. Flanked by Emmylou Harris, Young's wife, Pegi Morton, and a robust band (guitars, drums, broom, dobro, steel guitar, a gospel choir, backup singers and brass), Young keeps belting out song after song, with a minimum of talk. Musicians on stage include the Nashville String Machine and the Memphis Horns. This film won the audience award at the NatFilm festival. Rated PG, runs 103 minutes.

September 14 -- The Grapes of Wrath (1940): This is one of the best films ever made and it is based on one of the best books ever written. This film adaptation of John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about dirt-poor Dust Bowl migrants is directed by John Ford, who won one of his four Oscars for this film. Henry Fonda stars as Tom Joad, a man with a criminal past trying to help his family survive the Great Depression. His mother is played by Jane Darwell, who won an Academy Award for her performance in this film. This film is included in several of the American Film Institute's lists of best films, including the "100 Years, 100 Movies" list. Rated G, runs 129 minutes.

September 21 -- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013): Ben Stiller directs and stars in this film about a man who often has daydreams in which he is a romantic hero. When his job at Time Magazine is about to be phased out, Mitty strikes out on a real globe-trotting adventure, living real life adventures like he has been dreaming about for years. This film was named one of the top 10 films of the year by the National Board of Review. The film's soundtrack also won an International Film Music Critics Award for composer Theodore Shapiro. Rated PG, runs 114 minutes.

To be notified by e-mail of upcoming films in the series, or changes in the film series schedule, subscribe to the Laramie Film Society's e-mail announcement list at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/laramie-film-society-announcements.

50th anniversary movie poll

The Laramie Film Society has conducted a poll of the greatest films of 1964. And the winner of our best films of 1964 contest is "Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb." See this web page: http://lfsmoviepoll.wordpress.com/ for more information about the results.

Dr. Strangelove (birth name Merkwürdigliebe) is played by the legendary Peter Sellers, who played two other roles in the film as well. And who can forget Slim Pickens riding an H-Bomb like a bucking bronco, as he sets off World War III?

The film was directed by the legendary Stanley Kramer, whose films, including "2001 A Space Odyssey" and "A Clockwork Orange" never won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but were often the best films around anyway.

"Dr. Strangelove" will be screened on Saturday, September 27 at 8 p.m. in the Gryphon Theater in the Laramie Plains Civic Center, to celebrate the win as our own "Best Picture" choice for 1964. Admission is free. We will ask for donations to cover expenses. The showing is sponsored by the Laramie Film Society and the Laramie Plains Civic Center.


LFS shows summer films outdoors

Despite the rain, the Laramie Film Society presented “Easy Street,” “The Goat” and “An Eastern Westerner” during Jubilee Days. The films were shown on July 12 during the Jubilee Days Street Dance on the north wall of Ken's Music Box near the intersection of Second and Grand. Thanks to the Music Box for letting LFS use its wall. Thanks to the Cross Country Connection for letting us use electricity so LFS could plug in its projector. Thanks to the LFS volunteer Glenn McLellan who helped us get set up and help carry everything away afterwards.

"Easy Street," released in 1917 is one of Charlie Chaplin's early comedy classics. This 19-minute Mutual studio silent film pits the diminutive Chaplin, who plays a policeman, against a huge street thug played by Eric Campbell. Chaplin also wrote and directed this film. Chaplin creates humor from the unlikely subjects of poverty and violence in some mean city streets.

“The Goat” is a classic 1921 comedy. It is about a man (played by the legendary Buster Keaton) who is mistakenly identified as a murderer in newspapers and posters. He desperately dodges the police, and a variety of other pursuers, displaying incredible acrobatic skills and ingenuity. This film was selected by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences as one of Keaton's two best short films (the other was "The Boat"). Keaton, a legendary movie actor, writer and director, also co-directed and scripted this film with Malcolm St. Clair. Keaton (1895-1966) was one of the true comic geniuses of film, with a brilliant career that spanned decades. His acrobatic physical style of comedy is similar to that of Charlie Chaplain, Harold Lloyd and Jackie Chan.

“The Goat” is the first film purchased by the Laramie Film Society. "Easy Street" was purchased in the summer of 2004. In the past we have rented all of the films we have shown. By shopping around on the Internet, LFS found a source of 16 millimeter films for a reasonable price. We can buy a film for about the same amount of money it costs to rent one.

“An Eastern Westerner” is a 1920 film starring Harold Lloyd, one of the biggest stars of silent films. The print we bought in 2010 is essentially the second half of this 20-minute film (which is O.K., because it is the funnier half and we got it at half price). The first half of the film takes place in a large city, probably New York. The half of the movie we have takes place in a town in the west populated by bad guys and crooked card sharks. There is also a group of hooded riders who look a lot like the KKK, menacing people in the town. The nimble Lloyd outsmarts the bad guys and gets the girl, of course.


LFS screens films for seniors

The Laramie Film Society holds free silent film showings at the Eppson Centers for Seniors occasionally. One such showing was "The Goat" on August 6, 2007 at 5:30 p.m. at the Center. The showing was a big success. The audience of mostly seniors enjoyed the show. About 30 people attended the showing.

"The Goat," a 25-minute silent film starring Buster Keaton, was originally shown in downtown Laramie during the Jubilee Days Street Dance. "The Goat" is a 1921 comedy about a man (played by Buster Keaton) who is mistakenly identified as a murderer in newspapers and posters. He desperately dodges the police, and a variety of other pursuers, displaying incredible acrobatic skills and ingenuity. The LFS has also shown “Easy Street,” starring Charlie Chaplin, at the senior center. Send me an email if you want to set up a showing of either of these films or “An Eastern Westerner,” our other silent film, starring the legendary Harold Lloyd.


Report on the 501 (c)(3) status of LFS

The IRS has determined that the Laramie Film Society is exempt from federal income tax as described in section 501 (c)(3) of the tax code. The LFS received the determination letter in mid-February.

This is a final determination. Since we have a reasonable assurance that our application was filed before the deadline, all donations to LFS dating back to September 5, 2000 should be eligible for deduction from federal income taxes. Donations are only allowable as deductions to the extent that the donations are gifts. LFS memberships and LFS t-shirts, and LFS movie ticket sales are not really eligible because people receive consideration for those purchases.

The complete IRS determination letter can be accessed by clicking on this link. This determination letter has been scanned into text, so there may be some typos. E-mail me (Robert Roten) so I can fix any typos you might spot. My e-mail address can be found on my web page Laramie Movie Scope. A copy of IRS Publication 1771 which outlines the rules for charitable donations was included with the decision letter. This short, two page document is well worth reading if you plan to donate anything to any non-profit organization. I was unable to scan this document into a text file, but I found a copy of it on the Internet (it is not available at the IRS site for some reason). A copy of Publication 1771 is included with the copy of the decision letter linked above. To read it, click on this link.

The 501 (c)(3) application for recognition of exemption (forms 1023, 8718, and 872-C) was delivered to the IRS office in Kentucky at 9 a.m. December 28, 2001, according to the UPS Internet delivery tracking system.

The delivery was three days before the deadline (the end of the 15th month from the date of incorporation). That means donations to LFS back to the date of incorporation (Sept. 5, 2000) should be tax-deductible. I have one copy of the application and I have made two others so that LFS Secretary Lynn Hamblin and Treasurer Casey Woods can keep them on file. I will also keep a copy on file. By law, a copy of the application must be kept on file for public inspection for three years.

The application uses form 872-C to "consent fixing period of limitation upon assessment of tax under section 4890 of the Internal Revenue Code." The reason for including this form in the application is that it is required when seeking an "advance ruling" rather than a "definitive ruling" on our tax- exempt status. Rather than making an advance ruling, however, the IRS chose to make a final ruling, so that form was evidently not needed. Who knew?



History of the Laramie Film Society

The Laramie Film Society was established as a Wyoming not-for-profit corporation in September of 2000 after the Wyo closed. It held its first general meeting and appointed a Board of Directors, with well-known Laramie film critic and writer Robert Roten as Chairman. The LFS was formed both to preserve the theater and to promote the appreciation of cinema in general in Laramie. While the LFS is in no way connected to the current group managing the Wyo Theatre, the LFS is very interested in making sure the theater stays open.

January 26, 2001 was a busy day. The Wyo Theatre reopened that day (featuring "Charlie's Angels," "Unbreakable" and "102 Dalmatians"), and the Laramie Film Society showed "All About My Mother" (Todo Sobre Mi Madre) at the Laramie Plains Civic Center that same evening. We talked this over with Randy Pryde, a partner of the company leasing the Wyo. He indicated the theater's opening was a little uncertain at that time (more on the Wyo below), so we decided to go ahead with our movie as planned. The LFS movie, the Laramie premier of "All About My Mother," winner of the 1999 Academy Award for best foreign film, was a big success. LFS, with the help of four sponsoring organizations attracted 150 people, five times the turnout of our previous feature, "A Christmas Story." We probably outdrew "Charlie's Angels." LFS feels the success of this show, despite the competition from seven other movies at the Fox and Wyo, and despite the fact that our movie was already out on video, vindicates our belief that there is a strong market for high quality films in Laramie.

LFS showed "A Christmas Story" at the civic center theater on December 15. The December showing was the first featuring a sound system donated by Dr. Charles Ksir, dean of the UW College of Education. It was also the first LFS film shown at the Civic Center. The sound system worked well, being a vast improvement over our previous sound equipment, but it was generally felt there was too much "boom" in the sound reproduction. LFS technicians reduced the bass and boosted the treble for "All About My Mother." "A Christmas Story," also has a number of lines of dialogue spoken by Darren McGavin which are intentionally garbled to indicate he is swearing.

LFS used a rented projector (which did not work well) in its first film and a borrowed projector (which worked very well) for second film. Now LFS owns three Bell and Howell 16 millimeter projectors. Two of the higher quality projectors will be used for showing the films and the third is a backup unit in case of a projector breakdown. New, these projectors cost over $1,000, but most have been devalued because of the popularity of digital video projectors. LFS purchased two newer Bell and Howell 2585 projectors for about $80 apiece from Ebay. During the showing of "All About My Mother" a projector bulb burned out. Projectionist Casey Wood (also a board member) quickly switched projectors, using our spare, and the show went on. The only thing that slowed us down was the burned out bulb. It was so hot we had to let it cool a bit before we could replace the bulb. LFS later purchased a number of spare projector bulbs.

"Duck Soup" and "A Christmas Story" were rented from Swank Motion Pictures for about $125 apiece, not counting shipping. "Duck Soup" was shown at our first fundraising event, "Soup and Cinema," held Dec. 3, 2000, from 4-7 p.m. at the Alice Hardie Stevens Center. "All About My Mother" cost $400 (from a different distributor) plus $40 for shipping and handling, so we found some sponsors to cover part of the costs. LFS also raised the admission price $1.50 for this film, to cover a portion of the higher costs. We also paid $50 for renting the Civic Center Theater for two hours, so our total costs for showing this film was about $500 (all labor is volunteer), versus about $200 for our first two films. We lost money on "A Christmas Story" due to a low turnout. That was partly due to the fact that "A Christmas Story" is shown a lot on television, there was a snow storm that evening, and the Laramie Daily Boomerang failed to run an advertisement for the movie that day LFS had contracted for.

Since "All About My Mother" was about three times as expensive as the previous LFS film (which we lost money on), we sought sponsors to help us offset the high cost of the film. We'd like to thank the sponsors of "All About My Mother." Sponsors included The Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, custodian of the Matthew Shepard Fund; La Radio Montañesa: Voz de la Gente; University of Wyoming Women's Center, and the University of Wyoming Office of Multicultural Affairs (Hispanic Programs).

The Laramie Film Society coasted along for 10 years after the Wyo Theatre reopened, promoting the annual spring and fall film series. Laramie Film Society members Robert Roten, Nancy Sindelar (who also heads of the Wyoming Peace, Justice and Earth Center) and Lynn Hamlin, started a summer film series at the Albany County Public Library in 2007, which has continued to the present. Donations from this group, and donations by attendees at the film series have helped to pay for major upgrades in the library's audio-visual systems.

The owners of the Wyo Theatre discontinued the fall film series in 2011 due to a lack of attendance. LFS offered to sell advance tickets for the next film series in an attempt to revive it. The owners (Rocky Mountain Resort Cinemas) agreed to revive the annual film series if we could sell 500 tickets in advance. LFS sold 1,300 advance tickets for the 2011 spring film series. With this kind of community support, and LFS selling advance tickets, the annual fall and spring film series have continued at the Wyo Theatre.


History of the Wyo Theatre

The Wyo Theatre was built around 1928 according to business listings in the Polk City, County and State directories from that period. The theater, at 309 S. Fifth St. in Laramie, was originally named the Crown Theater. It is one of the oldest continuously operating movie theaters in Wyoming.

J.G. Burbank, the former manager of the old Empress Theater (it was later renamed the Fox Theater) on 112 South Second Street (that building was recently demolished) was listed as the original owner of the new Crown Theater. He owned the theater for many years. In 1950, the name of the theater was changed from the Crown Theater to the Wyo Theatre , according to the web site Cinema Treasures.

When the name of the theater was changed to the Wyo, the exterior of the theater was remodeled. Architect Charles D. Strong drew up the plans for the remodel, giving the building an Art Deco look, according to Cinema Treasures.

The Burbank estate sold the theater to Carmike Cinemas, one of the largest theater chains in the country, in 1996. It was later sold to Trans-Lux Corporation. Rocky Mountain Resort Cinemas purchased the theater in 1999 and still owns the property.

The theater operated as a first-run theater for over 70 years showing new films from Hollywood. It was common practice for years in Laramie for movie theaters to show new films weeks or months after they had opened in larger cities. Film rental costs are lower after a film has been in release for a few weeks. That practice changed over time as mass marketing of movies on television made it more profitable to open movies simultaneously all over the country, including in smaller cities like Laramie.

The theater last showed first run films in 1999. The interior of the theater was remodeled that year by the Trans-Lux Corporation especially for the Laramie premiere of the blockbuster film, “Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace.” At that time, the Laramie Boomerang reported that “The theater is now equipped with new, larger, more comfortable seats, a new Dolby® four-channel digital sound system, a brighter projector light, a new screen, new draperies and new carpeting, among other improvements. The sound system has speakers on all four sides of the auditorium, with 13 12-inch speakers behind the screen, along with some 16-inch sub-woofers for a visceral bass sound quality.”

After 1999, the Wyo became a “mid-run” theater, opening films months after those films opened in larger cities, while the competing multiplex Fox Theater in Laramie remained a first-run theater, opening films on the same day they opened in larger cities around the country. Often, the Wyo runs the same movies that had previously been shown at the Fox. The Wyo attracts families with its lower ticket and concession prices.

The Wyo also offers films not shown elsewhere in Laramie, independent, documentary, foreign and “art” films, which are shown on Sundays during annual spring and fall film series. It also has a low-cost matinee film series for children in the summer.

Since 1989, the Wyo has shown over 450 independent, art and foreign films, such as “Billy Elliot,” “Chocolat,” “Love Actually,” “An Inconvenient Truth” and “La Vie En Rose.” These are the kinds of films that most theaters don't bother to show. Often, they are not shown because these kinds of films are not widely distributed and there is no major marketing campaign to support them.

Over the years, the theater was leased by a number of different movie theater companies, including Mann Theaters, the Commonwealth Theater Group, Carmike Cinemas, Trans-Lux Cinemas and finally Movie Palaces, Inc. and the Bijou Inc. partnership of Casper Wyoming.

The theater closed briefly in 2000 after Trans-Lux gave up its lease on the theater. Later, Movie Palaces and Bijou stopped using the theater on May 18, 2001. Rocky Mountain Resort Cinemas (RMRC) bought all the equipment purchased for the Wyo by Bijou-Movie Palaces, and assumed full management of the theater. RMRC continues to own and run the theater now.

The movie theater business model changed in the late 20th century to favor multiplex theaters over single screen theaters like the Wyo. One of the factors in the change was the end of dual projector systems, which required constant operator attention to change film reels, start and stop projectors and thread film through the projectors during the movie.

These dual projector systems were replaced by a single projector system in which all the reels of film were spliced together at the theater, then broken apart again for shipment. The complete film was wound onto a large horizontal rotating platter, about four feet in diameter. The film was drawn off the platter, run through the projector and then fed back onto the platter again. This system required little attention once the film was started. With this system, a single projectionist could run a number of movies simultaneously at a multiplex theater, resulting in reduced labor costs for projection.

With this technical innovation, multiplexes became more profitable than single-screen theaters. Multiple movies could be shown at a single location while labor costs for projection, ticket sales and concessions could be consolidated for cost savings. The old projection worker unions were broken and wages were cut to a minimum. With the advent of digital projection systems, labor costs were cut even more.

Television advertising became the preferred method for advertising films. Years ago, local theaters promoted their films with large newspaper advertisements. Now that national television advertising campaigns dominate the movie business, local newspaper advertising for movies has virtually disappeared. That means local theaters have lost any independence they once had. They usually show movies that are supported by a lot of advertising, regardless of the quality of the movie.

All these changes have left the Wyo Theatre with the biggest screen in Laramie, at over 30 feet wide. Laramie's other movie theater, the Fox, was originally a large single-screen theater, but has been remodeled over the years into a multiplex with a six smaller screens in relatively small auditoriums. The Wyo Theatre is over 6,200 square feet in size with 325 seats. It has, by far, the biggest screen and the most seating capacity for a single show in Laramie.

The Wyo Theatre also has the look of an older theater with art-deco trimmings on the outside of the building and murals of cowboys on the inside. The sidewalk in front of the theater is painted yellow and brown, the colors of the University of Wyoming sports teams. The name Wyo Theatre is shared with another theater in Wyoming. Sheridan also has a Wyo Theater. According to the web site Cinema Treasures, there once was a Wyo Theatre in Cheyenne at 1612 Carey Avenue.

Although the Wyo Theatre has a long history in Wyoming, it's future appeared to be very uncertain until this year. The owners of the Wyo Theatre, Rocky Mountain Resort Cinemas. Because of the age of the theater and its obsolete projection equipment, it was feared the theater might close. But the owners put in a digital projection system which greatly improved the picture and sound quality. Then a new, local owner, WyoLaramie LLC, stepped in to take over the theater with plans to fix up the building and make the theater better than ever.

The theater is currently closed for repair and renovation. It should reopen this summer For more about the new owner's plans for the Wyo Theatre, see the Wyo Theatre's Web Site. We wish the new owner success and we hope do our part to help make the theater successful in the future.


More About the Group

W. Dale Nelson wrote a wonderful article about the Laramie Film Society and its first organizational meeting for the Casper Star-Tribune. The article is reproduced with the author's permission here on our Web site.

Join, Donate to LFS

You can join LFS by sending $15 to the Laramie Film Society, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: The Laramie Film Society, 3019 Pope Springs Road, Laramie, WY, 82070. Donations to LFS can be sent to the same address. Donations are tax deductible.

Join the LFS E-Mail Lists

The best way to keep up with the group's activities is to join the LFS e-mail lists. To do this, visit  https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/laramie-film-society-announcements and sign up. This is an announcement list only. Notices will include upcoming films, polls, meetings and other LFS announcements. There is no discussion among list participants. We expect an average of less than one announcement per week. You can also view all of the messages that have already been posted to the list at this location.

We also have a discussion list. You can subscribe to the discussion list by visiting this website http://groups.google.com/group/laramie-film-society-discussions?hl=en. As with most Google features, these sites work best when you are using a Google Chrome browser. If all else fails, e-mail Robert Roten (address at bottom of page) and ask him to send you invitations to either list.

Our Mailing Address

Laramie Film Society
3019 Pope Springs Road
Laramie, WY  82070

Web space for this site provided by LARIAT, Laramie's Community Network and Internet Users' Group.
Web page design by Brett Glass. Photo of the Wyo Theater by Robert Roten (E-mail at my last name at lariat dot org)[Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]