The golden age of movie houses may be past, but the silver screen is still big business in Layton, home to Utah's largest movie complex north of Salt Lake City.

If the Layton Cinemark Movies 10 theater adds four screens as planned, combined with the adjacent Movies 6, it would form the largest single concentration of theater screens in the Intermountain area, with a total of 20.Cinemark announced 15 months ago it wants to expand the 10-plex by 13,300 square feet to add four screens because the existing theater is doing so well. Twenty-screen theater complexes are rare except in places like Beverly Hills where they can draw on huge population bases.

Layton's first theater was the Latona Hall at 52 N. Main. When an auto parts company relocated in the 1920s, the vacated building was remodeled into a theater with a drug store in the front. Theater patrons came and went through the drug store. By the 1960s, the Latona had closed for movies, but the drug store kept operating until 1980.

Another Layton theater was the La'Tonia. Like the Latona, it had moveable seats and hardwood floors suitable for socials and weddings.

Layton's third theater was the Ritz, a $35,000, 496-seat theater opened at 96 N. Main on Sept. 20, 1941. Managed by E.G. King, the theater had sloping floors and padded seats.

Its location was previously occupied by a saloon, which opened in 1905. Layton's original business district was near Gentile and Main streets.

The Ritz closed in 1968 as the popularity of television grew, and the building became a retail store. Today the building houses the Harvest Bread Company.

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Layton's fourth theater, the Davis Drive-In, opened in 1945 near Angel and Main Street after World War II. The twin-screen theater closed in 1992 and was torn down earlier this year to make way for commercial development.

The drive-in's demise followed a national trend of drive-in closures and the advent of video rentals and multiscreen indoor movie complexes.

Layton's next theater was Cinemark Movies 6, opening in the early 1980s shortly after the Layton Hills Mall was built in 1980.

Located just northwest of the mall, it was joined by the $1.5 million, 1,800-seat Cinemark Movies 10 complex in December 1990.

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