The Catlow Goes Digital

After 85 years of showing movies on film, the iconic Catlow theater will make the digital conversion this week.


The Catlow Theater is entering a new era.

After showing movies on film since 1927, the cinema will show it’s final film presentation, “Flight”, on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The Catlow will close Wednesday and Thursday to install its highly anticipated digital projection system. The digital conversion was made possible by a fundraiser on Kickstarter.com that raised more than $175,000 for the Catlow.

“The excitement is overwhelming. You can feel it in the air! Just about everyone that walks through our doors asks when the big day will be,” said the Catlow’s co-owner Tim O’Connor.

Sonic Equipment of Lola, KS will be installing the new equipment this week, O’Connor said. Upgrades include a Christie digital projection system, digital 7.1 surround sound system, additional surround speakers, a sub-woofer, a hearing-impaired system, a new screen and a satellite system for future alternative content use.

O’Connor said the new digital system will open many doors for the theater. In addition to having access to more classic, foreign and art films, The Catlow will also be able to show live concerts and book business meetings.

“We will have the capability to present alternative content thanks to our satellite feed,” he said. “Business meetings can be booked here now and PowerPoint or Keynote presentations will be able to play through the digital projection system onto the big screen.”

To show gratitude for those who donated on Kickstarter and made the conversion possible, O’Connor has two digital premieres planned. Friday at 5:30 p.m. will be a private showing for donors of "The Polar Express". Following the show, the public will get a chance to check out the new system with a showing of “Skyfall” at 8 p.m. for the general admission price of $5.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” will premiere Christmas Eve at noon for donors, but there will also be some general admission seating for non-donors available.

While the digital switch is something O’Connor has looked forward to, it also stirs up emotions for him.

“We've been running film since 1988 when we took over operations here, but the Catlow has been showing film since 1927. So, it's sad in a way to see it all end,” he said. “I told our other projectionist, Reinhard Taylor, that I would like to run the last film showing myself for sentimental reasons, Tuesday is usually his night at the helm - and he teased me not to get too emotional and start crying over the platters or I would ruin the film!”

To learn more about the Catlow’s showtimes and movies, head to www.thecatlow.com


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