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Beth Johnson presents a check to State Theater owner Sally Strasser (R). Photo: Brian Mann
Beth Johnson presents a check to State Theater owner Sally Strasser (R). Photo: Brian Mann

Tupper's State Theater gets digital boost

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The effort to save North Country cinemas gathered steam this week in Tupper Lake, with the local arts council donating $10,000 to help the State Theater.

It's part of a region-wide effort, called "Go Digital Or Go Dark" that aims to help movie theaters make the transition to expensive new computerized projectors.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

We have this threat that we just cannot tolerate, so we're going to address it.
There was a bit of showbiz in downtown Tupper Lake Thursday evening, as people gathered outside the State Theater with balloons, a live jazz ensemble and a big check.

"We are here today to present a $10,000 contribution to the "Go Digital Or Go Dark" campaign," said Beth Johnson with the Tupper Lake Arts Council.

She says local activists worked once before in the 1970s to help keep the State Theater alive.

The idea that these downtown theaters might be left behind as Hollywood shifts to new digital projectors? Johnson says that's just not acceptable.

Local downtown cinemas have been a fixture in the North Country for more than a century.
Local downtown cinemas have been a fixture in the North Country for more than a century.
"We have this threat that we just cannot tolerate, so we're going to address it and I'm sure all of you are going to help with this effort," she said.

Eight North Country cinemas have teamed up with the Adirondack North Country Association for the "Go Digital Or Go Dark" campaign – designed to help these theaters raise the capital needed to make the conversion.

Two cinemas – a drive-in in Glens Falls and the movie theater in Indian Lake – have already made the conversion. State Senator Betty Little says these cinemas matter for the quality of life – especially for kids.

"So many of these small towns don't have a lot of things for young people and teenagers to do. Going to the movies is really a treat and fun to do," she said.

On this night in Tupper Lake, the options at the State theater include Wolverine and a new Smurfs movie. The theater's owner, Sally Strasser, says she needs to raise a total of 90,000 dollars to modernize her equipment.

"I was a little hesitant to ask for money for a long time," Strasser said, but she noted that her own efforts to find an affordable, low cost way to make the conversion "hit a dead end."

In addition to the $10,000 check donated this week, the Tupper Lake Arts Council has agreed to match Tupper Lake donations to the "Go Digital Or Go Dark" campaign.

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