Iowa’s Largest Single Screen with 800 seats… capable of showing only one movie at a time. Movie is presented in THX/Dolby Digital Sound.
Last Night at the Merle Hay Cinema
“Last Night at the Merle Hay Cinema”
a lifetime of memories
16 December 2014 – the last night in business for the Merle Hay Cinema. Defying gloom, here’s some nonsense we got up to while working the last night at the cinema. Plenty of fun was had at this place, ya know? thank you all for your buisness it was a pleasure serving all of you.
DES MOINES, Iowa —Fifty years ago, it was Plaza Theater that attracted big crowds with its giant screen to showcase the latest Hollywood films. The historic cinema, now known as the Merle Hay Cinema, will close its doors for good this week.
Some of Merle Hay Cinema’s customers and employees said they’ve been attached to the cinema for decades because it’s unlike any movie experience in Des Moines.
“On this screen here, being a 60-foot movie screen, you are always immersed in the movies,” employee Michael Olsen said.
The Merle Hay Cinema is the last big single-screen movie house in Iowa. When its doors close for the last time on Tuesday, employees and customers said they are sad to see it go.
“The whole atmosphere of the big screen, you can’t compare it to the smaller screens. It just doesn’t compare,” customer Matt Morgan said.
The theater’s closing marks the end of a historic element of Des Moines.
“This cinema is one of the last that still runs film,” employee Steve Ellerhoff said.
A big part of what has kept the cinema going since 1992 is Mike Catrenich. He said he hopes he touched the hearts of the people here. They say he did.
“He’s always really appreciated his employees,” Ellerhoff said.
With the cinema closing, employees said they know they will never have another movie outing that will be the same.
“I don’t know anybody who’s not unhappy that this is going,” Olsen said.