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Future of Bangkok’s iconic Scala cinema building uncertain after closing

Maya Taylor

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Future of Bangkok’s iconic Scala cinema building uncertain after closing | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Supanut Arunoprayote/Wikipedia
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Cinema lovers and theatre employees are mourning the closure of Bangkok’s legendary Scala cinema after 51 years in business. The theatre was the last one to remain independent in the capital, amid an expanding landscape of multiplex cinema chains. Khaosod English reports that many Scala lovers turned out to bid farewell to the theatre prior to its final screening on Sunday evening.

The Scala’s lease ran out at the end of June and Chulalongkorn University, which owns the building, has not made any statement on what its future plans may be. For Phiboon Phorchaiyarach, who has worked as an usher at the theatre since 1981, the Scala felt like a second home.

“I feel sad. I’ve worked here since I was 21. I’m impressed every day I come to work, it’s like my second home for me.”

He recalls the Scala’s popularity in the early days of his career, mourning the death of the independent movie theatre in favour of modern technology.

“The theatre was always crowded. People lined up all the way to the downstairs to get their tickets punched. Nowadays there are CDs and mobile phones where everyone can readily enjoy what they want to watch. Coming to theatre is not a special moment anymore.”

The Scala belonged to the Apex chain of theatres, which also owned the Lido and Siam theatres. The Lido is now a multiplex and mini-mall, while the Siam theatre burnt to the ground in 2010 as political protests rocked Bangkok.

Nuphu Chayalat, a 63 year old concession stand worker, worked at the Lido for 18 years before moving to the Scala. She recalls watching her favourite films at the Scala, adding that one of them, James Cameron’s Titanic, drew huge queues.

The Scala was named after Milan’s renowned Teatro alla Scala and its first screening upon opening its doors on New Year’s Eve in 1969 was The Undefeated. Over the weekend, those visiting for the last time, were treated to screenings of a number of classic movies, including 1966’s Blow Up and CinemaParadiso, whose soundtrack composer, Ennio Morricone, passed away yesterday.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

Bangkok

DUMBO the rooftop bar in Bangkok, a hidden gem | VIDEO

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DUMBO the rooftop bar in Bangkok, a hidden gem | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Located in the heart of Bangkok City, Thailand. Just a few metres away from the Saphan Khwai BTS station, ‘DUMBO BKK’ offers a fine mixture of jazz, great food and original cocktails. Bringing you back to the urban tenors of the late 1940s – early 1950s, New York. Som, one of our new Thaiger Vloggers sneaks in, and brings us her impressions of the place. Let’s check it out!

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Thailand

Lights, camera, Covid – Tourism Ministry wants film crews to come to Thailand now

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Lights, camera, Covid – Tourism Ministry wants film crews to come to Thailand now | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wind Up Films

Without much luck with their ‘cunning ideas’ to draw back a few of the remaining world’s travellers, Thailand’s tourism officials are turning to the film industry to attract some people and investment. The Tourism and Sports Ministry is aiming to generate around 3 billion baht from foreign film crews and is targeting film projects with an investment over 100 million baht.

Foreign tourism revenue drastically dropped 83% in 2020, diving from nearly 40 million tourists in 2019 to only 6.7 million tourists in 2020, the vast majority of those visiting in the first 3 months of the year.

Anant Wongbenjarat, the tourism department’s director-general, says that Thailand welcomed 176 international film productions to the country last year, generating 1.73 billion baht. But this impressive number is a sharp decrease compared to 2019 when 740 foreign film crews generated 4.86 billion baht for the local economy.

Let’s face it, with long stretches of empty beaches and quieter streets, especially in some of the tourist hot spots at the moment, there’s never been a better time for international film crews to shoot their films in the Land of Smiles.

Fast & Furious 9 was shooting in and around the Krabi province during 3 months in 2019. Read about that HERE.

Check out The Thaiger’s pick for the Top 10 foreign films made in Thailand HERE.

Last August, the CCSA granted “special entry” permission for film productions to shoot in Thailand and take advantage of the amazing scenery, generally “under control” Covid situation and the country’s highly skilled film production crews. 53 film production projects were based, and mostly shot, in Thailand between August and December last year, contributing 1.14 billion baht to the economy.

But, you guessed it, all crews and actors entering Thailand still had to undergo the mandatory 14 day quarantine.

“International productions can proceed and generate income for locals despite the tourism slowdown. In the first half of this year, there will be nine more productions expected to come in and help create at least 800 jobs for locals.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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World

Dawn Wells, “Mary Ann” from Glligan’s Island, dies at 82

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Dawn Wells, “Mary Ann” from Glligan’s Island, dies at 82 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Dawn Well "Mary Ann" in the yellow swim suit... best known as the 'girl next door' in Gilligan's Island

Dawn Wells, one of the castaways in Gilligan’s Island, playing Mary Ann, has died in Los Angeles from Covid-19 complications. She was 82 years old. Her career lasted a lot longer than the fateful trip of the SS Minnow… the three hour tour!

Dawn was born in Reno, Nevada, and started a career in Hollywood where she appeared in TV shows including “77 Sunset Strip,” “Maverick,” “Bonanza,” “The Joey Bishop Show” and “Hawaiian Eye.” Her career kicked off in 1959. She starred in more than 150 TV shows, 7 motion pictures, and more than 60 productions on and off Broadway.

She was among over 300 actresses to audition for the part of “country girl-next-door” Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island, which ran from 1964 to 1967 with repeats going on until this day around the world. Beyond acting she was a producer, author, teacher, humanitarian, spokesperson, journalist and motivational speaker. She ran a number of charitable children’s organisations and ran a Film Actors Boot Camp for 7 years in the US state of Idaho.

She was also an activist supporting The Elephant Sanctuary in the US. The sanctuary, founded in 1995, is the largest natural habitat refuge for African and Asian elephants.

But she also made it clear that her stint as part of the ensemble cast on Gilligan’s Island was as lucrative as people think.

“A misconception is that we must be wealthy, rolling in the dough, because we got residuals. We didn’t really get a dime. I think my salary was US$750 a week.”

“Sherwood Schwartz, our producer, reportedly made $90 million on the reruns alone!”

Gilligan’s Island was an unexpected hit and in honour of the 50th anniversary of the series, Wells released “A Guide To Life: What Would Mary Ann Do?”. Her gingham dress and famous short shorts from the island series are currently on display in the lobby of The Hollywood Museum.

Tina Louise, 86, who played ‘Ginger’ the movie star, is the last surviving member of the cast that included Bob Denver as Gilligan, Alan Hale Jr. as the Skipper, Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer as wealthy Thurston and Lovey Howell and Russell Johnson as ‘the Professor’ (whose real name was Dr. Roy Hinkley… now you know for your next game of Trivial Pursuit. Also, if he was so damn smart, how come he couldn’t figure out how to patch up the small hole in the SS Minnow?!?!).

Tina Louise said she was sad to learn of Dawn’s passing…

“I will always remember her kindness to me. We shared in creating a cultural landmark that has continued to bring comfort and smiles to people during this difficult time. I hope that people will remember her the way that I do… always with a smile on her face.”

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