You'd figure the oldest continuously operating movie theatre in the world might be in New York or Hollywood.

How about Kansas?

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Ottawa, some 80km southwest of Kansas City, Missouri, is home to the Plaza 1907 Cinema, showing films since May 22, 1907, when black-and-white, silent movies ruled the day.

In the town of 12,300 people, what sets the theatre apart is that over the past 112 years, it has never shut down and has remained at the same location.

Advertisement

Owner Scott Zaremba said that in the early days, films were made of a highly flammable material, so fires were common.

"One of the reasons we're the oldest continuously operating theatre in the world is we didn't burn down," said Zaremba, 53, who became co-owner of the Plaza in 2014 and took over as sole proprietor in July 2018.

The Plaza applied for inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2017, and last year, it achieved the distinction of being the "World's Oldest Operating Purpose-Built Cinema" after it was determined it was two days older than another movie house in Denmark.

Zaremba is working on making improvements to the historic movie house, including turning an old projector room into a lounge and adding wooden seats like those that were in place when the theatre opened.

"The viewing public really enjoys the experience of coming to the theatre," he said. "You just can't get that at home or on your phone. You can't get that experience anywhere else, with the sound systems we have."

- AP