Ken Cinema remains a Landmark in every sense

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.

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Hooray and Halleleujah, indeed, Scottzo! Ya dun did it, Dude! Best news I've heard in awhile. I just may get over the mayoral election. Not sure calling people Horseface whatevers are going to get the bodies into the seats, but your message is clear and I hope, well taken.

I also hope this is a turning point for The Ken and they will find the resources to invest in a just a tab better sound system. Don't get me wrong, I love the sound of tin and the stickiness underfoot; it's all part of the experience--I understand that--but just a little bit of an upgrade in the speaker system would go such a long way in making the experience pleasurable for those who come to showings other than the one at midnight.

Congrats again, Karl, and a big, BIG Congrats and "preciate it" to the Berkun Family and Landmark.

How do you do, ladies and gentlemen... this is Bob "Support the Ken Cinema" Hope, reminding all you Netflixers and multiplexers that a San Diego Landmark is not going to go dark, and for that we have one person to Marks.

= canned laughter =

Hey, that Scott Marks is something, isn't he? He fought against the closing of the Ken Cinema and won... wish I could say the same when "Cancel My Reservation" was cancelled at the theaters.

= canned laughter =

But this is a great achievement for the town of San Diego. It just goes to show that good movies need not be viewed online or at the multiplex. Now only if Hollywood could make some good movies.

= canned laughter =

Remember folks to support your single screen theaters. They represent American at their very best. On May 8th, I'll be opening the new Chula Vista Shopping Mall; I hope to see you there. And don't forget to buy Christmas Seals; they help out all year round.


= canned applause / "Thanks For The Memory" plays


by Colonna

"Call Me Bwana" in Cinerama coming soon!

I think after a certain point all you can hope for outta life is the occasional "pleasant surprise" and this is quite the pleasant surprise! I will admit the last film I saw at The Ken was the Tim and Eric movie, and that this probably wasn't the best film I have ever seen in my life. I am glad that I ain't going out with that one if ya know what I mean...

"Tim and Eric" was a lot funnier than anticipated, but not the best way to say goodbye. You've been granted a reprieve. Make The Ken your home.

I will admit to laughing so hard that I was crying through about the first 20 minutes, but once they settled into the strip mall story the laughs got thin pretty quick. Similar to their show, the film was very hit or miss. I think I was expecting them to top their TV show, or at least make the film a greatest hits collection a la And Now For Something Completely Different. They went for broke with (obviously) no budget and all new material and obtained results just good enough to make the film worth watching. Oh yeah, that end sequence was hella funny now that I think of it. Sooooo...good bread but thin meat on this movie sandwich.

A friend suggested -- and I agree -- that the Ken might get a larger audience if it programs more documentaries. "Blackfish," anyone?

The Ken shows more than its fair share of documentaries. There's one playing there right now ("Watermark"), though I don't think "Blackfish," a film you can see for free on CNN, would draw a crowd.

This news made my week! Thanks so much. And I'm thrilled that it will remain a Landmark theater. I don't think the general public realizes how fortunate we are here in San Diego to have not one but three Landmark theaters in the county. Some lucky cities have one. Many don't have any. There are so many wonderful films that have been released over the decades that have never hit a local movie theater in so many cities. 95% of all the films that I see are Landmark films. Realize what we might have lost and take advantage of going to the Ken often!

And not many cities had a man like Bob Berkun whose passion for The Ken has been passed on to his grandchildren. Happy days, AA!

I will be there tonight for SAMURAI, then back on Saturday for LAWRENCE, and the early Sunday show for RAIN, so I have time to go see THE GODFATHER at Arclight in La Jolla @ 7pm.

Hey, Mission: I noticed you dropped me a "thank you" in the enemy's camp. You have no idea how appreciated your gesture was! My name is neither on the deed or the lease, but I'll take credit for loving the joint so much that I stepped up and helped to broker a deal that made everyone happy, most notably the film-lovers of San Diego. It's not often that I do good, but in this case I did great. You're all welcome, and thanks for for having my back, MA!

Scott you magnificent pagan beast!! THANK YOU. And for those stuffed shirts and New England school marms getting your manes in a knot over Scott's horse-face comment... please please see Citizen Kane AGAIN... and if you've NEVER seen it.. please donate your eyeballs to Scott in the name of cinematic science.

It's 4:22 am and I'm sitting here laughing like a mental patient. The reason I never do anything good is because I've been saving it up to do something great. You are very, very welcome, my friend! I think I'll have me a plate of Lobster Newburg for breakfast!

I abide to this weekend's lineup playing at the Scott... I mean Ken.

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