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History of the Silver Screen in Layton
Article Published 02/07/2014
Layton City has no shortage of movie theaters today -- with 26 screens available in two different theater complexes -- but it wasn’t always so.
From 1968-1980, Layton didn’t even have an indoor movie theater. All it had for that 12-year span was the outdoor Davis Drive-In.
Here’s a short history of the silver screen in Layton:
Some early Layton business records are sketchy, but Layton City’s first theater was believed to be the La’Tonia (also called “La Tonia”), on South Main Street. It opened in 1914 and featured silent movies at first, with a live accompaniment.
In 1936, it was renamed the Roxy Theater and likely closed soon after.
The Latona Hall and Motion Picture Theater was the second big screen business in Layton.
When the Layton Auto Company moved elsewhere, the building at 52 North Main was remodeled. Kowley Drug came along in 1924 and occupied the front section of the building. Theater goers could get ice cream and treats from the drug store as they exited the theater.
The building also hosted socials and weddings.
This theater closed in 1968, though the drug store remained there until 1980.
Layton’s third theater, the Ritz, was a $35,000, 496-seat theater at 96 North Main. It opened on Sept. 20, 1941 and was managed by E.G. King. This theater had sloping floors and moveable, padded seats. (The building was originally occupied by the Becker Saloon.)
Movies would play each evening, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Ritz closed down in 1968, a victim of the television boom. Today the building houses the Harvest Bread Company and it leveled out the old sloping floor.
Layton's fourth theater was the Davis Drive-In. It opened in 1945 near Angel and Main Street after World War II. The twin-screen theater closed in 1992 and was torn down in 1993 to make way for commercial development. The drive-in's demise was due to a national trend of decreased interest in large outdoor movie screens. Today, Kohl’s department store and other businesses occupy the former Drive-in’s space.
Layton's next theater was Cinemark Movies 6, opening in the early 1980s shortly after the Layton Hills Mall was built.
Located just northwest of the mall, it was joined by the $1.5 million, 1,800-seat Cinemark Movies 10 complex in December 1990.
This was remodeled and expanded again to become the Cinemark Tinseltown USA at the Layton Hills Mall, 740 West 1500 North, in May 1997 with 7 additional screens and about 1600 seats.
In the mid-1990s, a separate new 9-screen theater, just a half-block northeast of Cinemark, was constructed at 728 West 1425 North.
For some years, this theater boom gave Layton the most screens of any town north of Salt Lake City, though their names changed over time.
In more recent years, the two theaters were renovated to top-of-the line seating and sound systems, with other amenities.
For example, in the fall of 2013, plush red, power recliners with plenty of personal space seating were added to the AMC Loews Layton Hills 9 Theater. Also, an expanded concession menu and reserved seating were also new amenities.
Sources: http://utahtheaters.info/ and “Layton, Utah” history book, by the Kaysville-Layton Historical Society, Deseret News Archives, Ogden Standard-Examiner Archives.