My career as a movie theater manager

posted by jerrylittenberg on May 13, 2009 at 7:45 am

Hi; My name is Jerry Littenberg. I have just found this wonderful web-site and I want to congratulate you for not letting the magnificent memories of these temples of cinema be forever lost. I have been a theater manager at about two dozen cinemas in my life, and all the information that I learned during that time I put at your disposal.

I started my career at the famous Roxy Theatre, NYC, while in high-school. I was assistant to Curtis Mees; featured writer for the trade publication Motion Picture Herald. Some of the theaters that I have managed are the Stanley Warner Beverly Hills; CA, the Warner Cinerama; NYC. In NJ; the Oritani in Hackensack and the Warner in Ridgewood, the Morris Hills Cinema in Parsippany for General Cinema, and for Loews the Meadows Six in Secaucus, the Wayne 8 and the Showboat 4 in Edgewater.

I have been thinking about writing a book on movie theaters in the North Jersey area, and I have a lot of useful information that I can share with you on many of these theaters and others, now that I am retired. Keep up the good work.

Jerry Littenberg

Comments (19)

danpetitpas on May 13, 2009 at 7:51 am

Hey, how about some stories about your experiences? What are some of the problems you have to deal with? How did the theaters differ in what you had to do? Did you get involved in booking films, and what was some of the problems there? Let us know.

monika on May 13, 2009 at 8:59 am

I think a book is a great idea. You’ve got a captive audience already.

markp on May 13, 2009 at 9:04 am

Your name sounds very familiar. I was a worker in numerous positions from the old Menlo Park and Woodbridge Twin Cinemas. I eventually joined the IATSE local and worked as projectionist there. Do you remember Tony or Robert Rizzo, Bob Masarik or John Bortula?? Hows retirement treating you??

JohnHolloway on May 13, 2009 at 9:30 am

Go for it Jerry! It’s people like you that we need to encourage to keep cinema memories alive. Promise me a “personally signed” edition when you eventually put pen to paper. Best wishes.

MPol on May 13, 2009 at 9:49 am

I second that idea!! Way to go, Jerry!!

nerwall16 on May 13, 2009 at 11:59 am

so many of us that ran theaters could tell our stories but i doubt people would believe them. hahaha i started as a manager at 17 and had some wild nights

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on May 13, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Jerry… You mentioned NYC’s Roxie Theatre… Oh, you LUCKY man. The utter insanity of destroying that magnificent palace is no different than San Francisco’s “fabulous, foolish” Fox.

Both of these priceless alaces were gone before I came here (legally!) from England in 1964. My wife actually played hookey from school to just sit in wonderment in the S.F. Fox. However, we have a Cherub saved from the ruins which means the world to us.

moviebuff82 on May 13, 2009 at 5:53 pm

I’ve been to the Loews in Wayne and Secaucus before, and you work pretty hard.

JimmyD on May 14, 2009 at 6:27 am

Please share – a lot of us NJ locals have been to all those places at some point.

ChasSmith on May 14, 2009 at 8:54 pm

When were you at the Warner in Beverly Hills? Stories, please! Thanks!

tonyguy1 on May 15, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Growing up the in the 1950’s, I was lucky enough to go to all the great movie palaces in the Big Apple. The Roxy, by far, was my favorite. I remember seeing there THE KING AND I, GIANT, THE LADY AND THE TRAMP, and BUS STOP.Along with these widescreen greats came a newsreel and a stage show.

John Fink
John Fink on May 16, 2009 at 10:29 am

I look forward to your notes on these theaters!

carolgrau on June 16, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Hey Pal, we should write each other. I have been a projectionist for 53 years, with our combined knowlege who knows where this could go. I have alot of people tell me I should write a book. I started in the booth in 1956, my dad & uncle ran theatres.

Robert Kratky
Robert Kratky on June 28, 2009 at 6:22 am

Hi Jerry,
Your book sounds like a wonderful idea… I’d certainly purchase it.

A question for you, if I may… are there any theaters here in the New Jersey, New York area that show classic and independent films on a regular basis? I’ve attending screenings at the Loews Jersey, the Lafayette in Suffern, NY, Film Forum, NYC, and now (as of last season) the Cedar Lane, Teneck.
Are there any other venues for “classic” films that I might be missing?
Thank You,

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 15, 2009 at 1:29 pm

I had kept a theatre journal during my days in the business never thinking about something like CT. For 2 or 3 years I wrote what happened at THE IMPERIAL, NATIONAL HILLS, COLUMBIA One and Two all in Augusta,Ga. COLUMBIA SQUARE CINEMAS listed on CT. It was COLUMBIA 1 and 2 When i worked there not the lousy Quad they made it into.ALL are on cinema tresures!

TLSLOEWS on November 22, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I can give you some good stories about my days working for Loews in Nashville, Tennessee. I started at as a doorman and the Loews Melrose in 1973 @ $1.50 a hour, I ended up working at all 3 houses Loews had there then. I worked my way up the Asst. Manager then Relief Manager and finally up the Manager back at the Loews Melrose were I started.I think my salary was 200.00 a week in 1980.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm

YOU think your salary might have been a little higher? I was making that much in1982 as an assistant.

sstroud on July 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm

A book sounds great Jerry! Let us know when it is out. It’s nice to know you are still keeping active in theatre which you love!

Hichercy on June 3, 2019 at 6:54 am

Cool! I was always attracted to the role of a manager in a theater, even though I was trained as an actor. The only thing that amazed me the most was how, at that time, that I enjoyed the support of the training theater managers themselves were able to write whole essays and even analyze the scenarios. And this is mega difficult

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