AYI JIHU – Bringing back the glory days of Hollywood

Bringing back the glory days of Hollywood

Ayi Jihu at the Fox Cineplex in Banning, California, USA

The glory days of the Movie House are probably long gone. Now where there where once palaces and ornate buildings, Chrome and carpet rules. So it’s nice to find a Movie House that is built in the old ways, and approaches the whole cinematic experience in the way movies where meant to be seen.

The Fox Cineplex in Banning, California, USA is one such place. It has stood in the same place since 1928. Back in the old days Hollywood stars would bring their wives (and girlfriends) their to watch the latest blockbuster. For Years it has been the center of Entertainment in the little town of Banning and for years it has drawn folks from all over the area including the affluent Palm Springs.


The Fox Cineplex has been the center of banning entertainment for almost 100 years and still is today.



When Ayi Jihu was told about the beautifully restored cinema she could not wait to see it for herself and was happy to take the offer for a private showing at the beautiful cinema of the film Warhorse.





Ayi and her team had the cinema virtually to themselves and were given a tour of the beautifully restored building. The Fox Cineplex cost Millions to restore and is now used by film makers around the world as well as drawing many photographers and artists to it’s doors.


Many Stars used to come to the Fox Cineplex to watch movies and also perform on it’s stage.



Ayi Jihu was intrigued by the story of a wallet that was found when the Cinema was being restored to its orginal glory. Apparently all those years ago, some guy had forgotten his wallet in the cinema. It was found and a Nationwide search was established to find the owner of the Wallet. With Local and National media become enthralled by the story of this wallet that had been lost in the cinema for almost half a century. Was the owner still alive? Would they be able to find him? The story caught the imagination of a Nation and eventually the owner of the wallet was located.



Banning has changed a bit over the years, but the Fox Cinplex has remained a part of the landscape.



As you sit back in the reclining seats and begin to take in your movie one cannot help but drift back to the dark days of the depression when people packed into Cinemas like Fox Cineplex all across America to escape their bleak lives for a few hours.



There is a wonderful simplicity about the Fox Cineplex and it’s staff. You feel like you are walking into someones home. It’s a place you want to be. As we left our private showing of the movie we could see the lines of people outside. Something I have not seen to often in America, it’s more of an English thing to line up in a straight line. The line was going around the block and everyone seemed content to wait and stand. All types of people too. Young kids, old couples, even some old soldiers. I wondered could they be all watching the same movie?



As the digital film era approaches Cinemas like the Fox Cineplex in Banning must covert or die. There is no room for celluloid anymore it seems. Converting a celluloid cinema from film to digital can cost hundreds of thousands and many cinema owners find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. It’s convert or close. The fox cineplex is the labor of love of local businessman and entrepreneur Michael Frydrych. It’s a family business. Michael has worked in the Movie industry almost all his life and he could not resist buying the Fox Cineplex when the opportunity came up. He wanted to restore it to it’s original glory and bring something to the town of Banning. He succeeded.



Ayi loved the Cinema so much she returned to watch Red Tails there, and has also chosen to use the cinema to for her worldwide premier of the Fear Chaser short movie.



Banning is starting to boom again. New building projects and shopping centers are springing up, all spurred on by the Fox Cineplex which has attracted visitors from around the world for decades and still continues to do so. The staff at the Fox Cineplex are all very proud of where they work. Some have been working there for over a decade and show no signs of moving on.



The history of this town is wrapped up in the Cinema. Everyone around comes to the Fox, spurring bigger, brasher movie houses for this quaint, unique cinema. It’s a Banning thing. It’s a bit of history and everyone in Banning and the surrounding areas seem very proud of their historic cinema.



Ayi Jihu said: ‘Coming from China, this type of place is magical to me, it’s like something you only read about or see in the movies. I love this place. Who knows I could have been sitting a seat that one of those huge Hollywood stars sat in. When you sit down in a Cinema like this you kind of wonder at all the things that have taken place there over the years. I don’t see many people taking such pride in places like this anymore, but here they care about every little thing, it’s great, and the popcorn is yummy! I have never had a whole cinema just to myself before, so that was nice too, if a bit strange at first. I’m really looking forward to having my premier here, maybe I will have everyone dress up 1920′s style just to make it even more fun.’



As the curtain closes on the age of film and digital takes over we can only hope that Movie houses like the Fox Cineplex all around the world can keep their charm and stay the same. We have far to many of the other kind of cinema already.



For more information about Chinese International star Ayi Jihu visit her website www.ayijihu.com

Find out more about the Fox Cineplex in Banning, California, USA.

Find out more about the Amazing Fear Chaser Movie here.

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