Greg interviews Phil Jablon, a true connoisseur of Southeast Asia’s old movie theaters and author of the fantastic book Thailand’s Movie Theaters: Relics, Ruins, and the Romance of Escape. As noted on the show, you can order from the Amazon link above, but if you would like a free vintage movie theater ticket as well, reach out to Phil on his Facebook page and order his book there.
Phil grew up a movie lover but developed an interest in older, stand-alone movie theaters as they began to fade away in the States. In 2008, he started a blog where he documented old movie theaters he found on his travels in Thailand, and eventually, all of Southeast Asia.
Phil discusses his research methodology, which basically consists of showing up in small towns across the country and asking people about the history of theaters there. Phil notes that something as specific as the history of movie theaters in a small town actually reveals quite a lot about how Thailand has changed over the years, both economically and culturally. Greg draws a parallel between the role temples play in local Thai communities, and Phil concurs that theaters, at least in the past, were meeting places for all kinds of events in small Thai towns.
Greg and Phil also discuss their mutual appreciation for Thai movie posters, which were often hand-drawn by local Thai artists because foreign productions rarely produced marketing materials for the Thai market. And naturally, Phil’s book includes plenty of photos of Thai posters for classic Western films.
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