Silver Tailings: Remembering the Old Century Theater


It was perhaps one of the best movie theaters in Reno at one time, but by the time it closed, the ‘Century,’ was jus’ another multiplex. At one point, the toilets were out of service and port-a-potties were rented for movie-goers to use.

It had also undergone several name changes in the 32 years it was in operation. And though the theatre fell into disrepair, people still went to see first-run films.

The domed theater opened April 19th, 1966 as the ‘Century 21,’ owned and operated by Syufy Theatres. Architect Vincent G. Raney, designed all the theaters built by the Syufy brothers’ from 1964 into the early 1990s.

century 21 newspaper ad

Originally, the ‘Century,’ was designed to show Cinerama films, which simultaneously projected images from three synchronized 35 mm projectors onto the massive single curved louvered screen, 90 foot in length and 32 foot wide. However the process proved to costly and was replaced by ‘Ultra Panavision 70.’

The ‘Century’ was being billed in newspaper ads as the ‘Century 21-22,’ in 1970. And by 1976, it was boasting four cinemas.

Within three years, the theater was renamed the ‘Century 26,’ because of the addition of two more screens. This was followed by the ‘Century Eightplex,’ in the late 80’d when another two screens were added.

In the early 90’s the 11 cinema theater was purchased by ‘Century Theatres.’ It closed in 1998 and eventually bulldozed to make room for more parking at the neighboring Peppermill Casino.

The last movie I saw at the ‘Century,’ was “As Good As It Gets,” starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear, with my wife in late 1997.

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