Reinhard weigand runs his finger across the screen of his smartphone and reminisces. He is the administrator of the facebook group "du weibt, du bist aus bad kissingen und umgebung" with around 5000 members. In the group, historical pictures and photos are regularly posted, some also of the cinemas that once existed in the city. Like the photo of the former city cinema on von hessing street. A red facade, above the entrance the word "city" is emblazoned in female script, at the bottom right of the picture a woman in a female winter coat is looking at the film posters on the notice board. "First the cinema apollo, then it became the film castle and later it was called "city cinema, tells the 63-year-old. He still remembers the gas station and the rough central parking lot that were right next to it.
Here, in his youth, he watched winnetou movies "and all the other stuff" viewed – in the filmburg still in one cinema hall, in the rebuilt city the productions were finally shown in two halls. "Sometimes, if you knew the projectionist, you were allowed to go into the projection room where the projector was and watch the film through the slits for free." He was happy about that, because as a schoolboy, going to the cinema was an expensive affair that he could not afford often, and when he could, it was with pocket money from grandma and grandpa. "Later, when you were a student, you often went to the movies", says weigand. There was plenty of choice in bad kissingen back then: three cinemas were operated simultaneously in the town between 1950 and 1970. From 1946 to 1975, films were also shown in the spa theater at the suggestion of spa director karl-heinz proehl.
The first cinema in bad kissingen
According to the records of the city archives, the apollo theater restaurant existed from 1912 onwards. It is possible that films were shown there, but this is not documented. What is certain, however, is that from 1922 onwards the "apollo-lichtpiele" became in the place where the savings bank complex stands today. In the apollo there were silent movies to see, which the teacher friedrich W. Grell accompanied live on the piano in the cinema. In 1931 there was the first change of name including change of operator to filmburg. In the middle of the 1970s it was renamed city kino when the gahler family took it over. Until the closure in 1990, it was the largest sound film theater in bad kissingen. "In october 1989 the savings bank bought the land", reports heinz schuhmann. He had started in the building organization at the money house and is still employed there today. In the spring of 1990, work began on the new bank building. "The city was demolished, the central parking lot was dissolved and the savings bank put its building on it", he says. The new central parking garage replaced the parking spaces that had been lost.
Back to the former lush cinema landscape of kissing: since 1950, the odeon in theresienstrabe was part of the action, until its closure a good 50 years later. The building was also demolished after some time of vacancy. Instead, today’s bad kissingen eye center was built there. "The odeon and the city took nothing from each other. That’s when the films were shown", finds reinhard weigand. Before the main show started, a woman with a belly store always went through the hall selling sweets. Popcorn was not so popular back then, however. "Absolute cult was ice cream confectionery. It was compulsory." The back rows of seats were – as today – the most expensive ones. "You could afford it if you had invited a girl. In the front there was only a headache", the bad kissinger continues.
The second cinema in the city was opened in 1924 under the name "kammerlichtspiele" in the ludwigstrabe 17 put into operation. In between there were "gugug-lichtspiele", to most of the people of bad kissing it was allowed to be called "union be a concept. The cinema was somewhat smaller, but inside it was spacious and designed like a theater. "In the union, for example, many fairy tale films for children were shown. It was known for that", says weigand. Later, however, the reputation changed. "There were then more so schmuddelfilmchen like the school girl report ran." He remembers the closing in the early 1970s well. As a young man, he was just getting his driver’s license. His driving instructor had bought chairs from the cinema for the driving school classroom. "I took the chairs with me to the driving school," says weigand, tells weigand. The "union gebaude stands to this day. After the cinema, a branch of the VR-bank was located there for a long time, currently a fashion boutique is located in the premises.
Movies in the barracks
In addition to the freely accessible cinemas in the town center, there was also a light theater in the daley barracks, which the u.S. Army maintained for its soldiers. "The cinema was actually only for the GI`s. But you were sometimes allowed in if you got a ride from an american you knew", says weigand. After the withdrawal of the U.S. Army in 1992 and the opening of the barracks, peter hofmann bought the soldier’s cinema, rebuilt it and opened it in 1996. The universum kino palast with three screens is currently the only cinema in the city.