Comments from IanJudge

Showing 226 - 247 of 247 comments

IanJudge commented about Medford Square 1-2-3 on Nov 2, 2004 at 1:43 pm

Sorry to report to you that the auditorium portion of the Medford Theatre was demolished a few years back and is now a parking lot. The front of the building, housing stores and office space, still exists.

I actually saw my first movie here, “101 Dalmatians”.

IanJudge commented about Beacon Hill Theatre on Aug 17, 2004 at 4:55 pm

And I hear that the Copley will soon be closing as well!

IanJudge commented about Janus Cinema on Aug 14, 2004 at 8:24 pm

I worked for Loews at the time this cinema closed and had the job of putting the final words up on the marquee: “It’s Over”. This was a phrase that a very wacky ticket-taker at the Harvard Sq. Theatre used to shout at the end of his shift. (The Janus was run by the Harvard Sq. management and staff; I worked there with the occasional shift at the Janus). The Janus was in bad shape at the end, with very inexperienced managers running the projectors. Those of us at Harvard Sq. that understood the basics of presentation used to joke that the Janus was the only place that “Gone With The Wind” ran in widescreen during its late 90’s re-release, because one manager let it run for a week with the wrong plate in the machine. I would say that the last movie to do any business there was the first “Austin Powers”, which was a bit of a sleeper hit.

IanJudge commented about Palladium Times Square on Jul 29, 2004 at 5:38 pm

I believe that Loew’s became Loews sometime between 1968 and 1972. I am not really sure why… but it may have been related to the fact that the Tisch family (who conrolled Loew’s at the time) turned “Loew’s Theatres, Inc.” into “Loews Corporation” (with the theater company as a subsidiary). This new Loews Corp. (which still exists today as a conglomerate) is not to be confused with the original Loew’s, Inc. (M-G-M and Loew’s Theatres).

Loews Corporation spun off Loews Theatres in the 80’s. It was owned by TriStar Pictures, taken over in turn by Coca-Cola, sold to Sony. The name change from Loews to Sony Theatres was to reflect the fact that Sony was so supposedly advanced with technology that people would be convinced that a “Sony” theater would have to have superior equipment, etc. This would perhaps have worked if all the old and dreary Loews became amazing hi-tech Sony’s overnight, but clearly, the older theatres did not change much more than the marquee.

When Sony knew it was looking to spin off the theater chain once again (merging it with Cineplex Odeon) they changed the name back to Loews because 1) Loews is a familiar and historic brand name, and 2) they didn’t want a company they didn’t own to use the name Sony.

I would think that, since Loews Theatres is not related to Loews Corporation, they would bring the apostrophe back, to distinguish themselves from the conglomerate, but I would imagine, just as with all the other issues discussed on this page, they just plain don’t care.

IanJudge commented about Loew's State Theatre on Jul 17, 2004 at 3:17 pm

Does anyone know of an online source to see the old seating layout or floorplans for Loew’s State, or any of the other famous Times Square theaters? Can one of the great members who give so much incerdible info to this site describe the lobby layouts and so forth of the State? I have seen pictures, but can’t put them together to make a cohesive idea of what it was like.

IanJudge commented about Loew's Capitol Theatre on Jul 17, 2004 at 3:08 pm

Those photos of the Capitol are awesome and heartbreaking. It is especially interesting to see the before/after pictures of the proscenium when it was shrouded in drapery. Was this done for aesthetic reasons (the whole ‘modern’ look that Loew’s seemed to push in the late fifties) or for acoustical reasons? Or both? I notice the Loew’s State photos show great alterations and similar drapery. And yet, even when these ornate auditoriums were draped and modernized, they remained impressive spaces. It is truly a shame that not one of these old NY houses was saved.

IanJudge commented about Palladium Times Square on Jul 6, 2004 at 10:45 pm

I think that the skill of presentation has certainly been lost in the the new era, and curtains are just one example, nevermind having the picture in frame and focused. As far as the slides and advertisements though, they are such an easy source of revenue for a theater that there is too much of a temptation. Especially for a neighborhood theater! My theater has slides and we will soon be getting the rolling stock (as the ads are called) and believe me, I wish we didn’t have to do this, but as a second-run venue, we need the income! As Andy said above, I myself have so many customers that ‘love’ the theater but the exclamation of love is so often followed by “I haven’t been here for years”. We are totally at the mercy of the film distributors and the first run theaters. We recently screened “Grapes of Wrath” with two classic cartoons as part of our 90th anniversary celebration, in our classic theater. We only charged a dollar (!!!), got some free press, put out ads, and still only got about 200 people! Print rental was $275, plus shipping, publicity, etc. And don’t get me started about the quality of the print they sent out, P.U. But regardless of even that, it was still fun. Fun but not profitable! You do the math! It is incredibly difficult to operate a theater today.

IanJudge commented about Loew's Paradise Theatre on Jul 2, 2004 at 2:41 pm

Actually, it is possible to attract big names with a non-union performance hall, if the hall is treated as a ‘rental’ location and not as the producer of the event. At the theater I run, (granted, it is in Boston not NYC)we do not have any union stagehands, etc, and yet we have attracted many big names like Springsteen, Norah Jones, Cheap Trick, etc. We do not financially support our live shows, other people produce them (and profit/lose from them) and we merely collect a rental fee. And we have a union projection booth besides this and there have been no problems.

This might not work in NYC, but then again, maybe it could. Worth a shot just the same.

IanJudge commented about National Theatre on May 1, 2004 at 1:31 pm

I believe that the National was demolished some time ago after a plan to renovate it for the BCA proved too costly; a new theater space is now being built in the same spot.

IanJudge commented about Inman Square Theatre on May 1, 2004 at 1:28 pm

The East Cambridge Savings Bank and its parking lot are where the Inman used to be. There are many pictures of it next door at the S$S deli.

IanJudge commented about Central Square Theatre on May 1, 2004 at 1:24 pm

The former lobby of this theatre is still there – it is a liquor store, I believe. The auditorium is now a parking lot.

IanJudge commented about Loew's Paradise Theatre on Apr 3, 2004 at 10:40 pm

It is my understanding that due to restrictive zoning codes on the Grand Concourse, the Loew’s Paradise never had an overhanging marquee like most other theatres. All early photos of it show it without any kind of awning.

IanJudge commented about West End Pussycat Cinema on Mar 16, 2004 at 2:16 pm

I believe this was the same theatre that began life as the “Lancaster Theatre” and ended as a Pussycat cinema? One of the projectionists at my theatre used to work at the Pussycat back in the day, and it was on Causeway Street.

IanJudge commented about Publix Theatre on Mar 16, 2004 at 2:12 pm

You are right, Gerald, the Publix was originally the Gaiety, and is still standing. The BRA recently ruled to allow its demolition. As a matter of trivia, the stage door of the Gaiety/Publix is seen in the opening shot of “The Brinks Job”. The Publix was last operated by E. M. Loew’s.

IanJudge commented about Paris Cinema on Mar 16, 2004 at 1:58 pm

The old Paris is now a Walgreens. I believe that the last movie to play there was “Sommersby” with Jodie Foster.

IanJudge commented about AMC Loews Harvard Square 5 on Feb 18, 2004 at 1:43 pm


The main auditorium, or #1, is comprised of the middle and front of the old orchestra level, and has around 550 seats. The screen is quite large, about 40 feet wide when open for widescreen movies, and the original organ loft grill-work is still in place on either side of the screen, but all other architectural elements are behind dropped-ceiling tiles or drapery. The screen in #1 is actually about 2 feet in front of the old proscenium opening (which is walled up) and hovers over the old orchestra pit.

I think that #1 is a great place to see a movie. Before 2002, it was capable of 70mm presentation and had presented a 70mm copy of “Vertigo” in 1998 that looked great. Unfortunately, the projection system was changed since then and now only screens 35mm.

IanJudge commented about Capitol Theatre on Jan 31, 2004 at 6:34 pm

The lobby is not the only remnant of the Capitol’s former glory. The original proscenium is preserved in auditorium number one, complete with a huge screen and about 300+ seats in what is left of the orchestra section.

IanJudge commented about Broadway Theatre on Jan 31, 2004 at 6:23 pm

I made one mistake in my history of the Broadway – it was actually built by the Hoffman family – the Viano’s bought it at some point early on and ran it for many years.

IanJudge commented about Somerville Theatre on Dec 21, 2003 at 1:17 am

The official seating capacity at the Somerville was, for many years, 1000. Seating was reduced in 1990 when a newer projection booth was installed in front of the old one at the back of the balcony, removing 5 rows of seats. Seating was reduced again in 1998 when new and more spacious seats were installed in the Orchestra. Today, there are 891 fixed seats and 14 ‘wheelchair accesible’ seats. The balcony, where the chairs are from 1914, holds more than the orchestra.

IanJudge commented about Paramount Center on Dec 21, 2003 at 1:12 am

The Paramount will not be the new home of the ART; the ART is staying in its large modern facility in Cambridge. However, the ART is one of several groups expected to utilize the Paramount in the future.

I had the opportunity to tour the interior in 2001 and it is quite a mess. Most of the decorative aspects have been plastered over, but the lobbies and proscenium remain intact. The old mezzanine lobby still had moldy old couches in it.

The proscenium is very narrow and the stage is not very deep, so whatever becomes of it, some major changes can be expected to make the Paramount a feasible space again. But at least it is still here!

IanJudge commented about AMC Loews Harvard Square 5 on Dec 21, 2003 at 1:05 am

Actually, the Rocky Horror play was indeed performed at the Harvard Sq. Theatre, before the movie ever played there. You can read the review of it in the Boston Globe Archives. A live version of “Oh Calcutta” was also staged there, with the result that the police shut the show down for lewdness!

Also of note, the recent Bob Dylan album “Live 1975” was recorded in part at the Harvard Sq. in 1975. And Bruce Springsteen opened for Bonnie Raitt there in 1974.

IanJudge commented about Somerville Theatre on Sep 30, 2002 at 1:45 am

I am the General Manager of the Somerville Theatre. It is owned by FEI Theatres. They have a website with info on the Somerville and the Capitol.

I welcome any inquiries about the building.

The theatre was not ‘saved’ by any community support. The long time owners of the building decided to spend millions of their own dollars on expanding and renovating it. The community expressed a desire to see the original auditorium saved from any possible alterations (i.e. divided into smaller cinemas) but it was never the desire of the owners to do that. The community may love the theatre, but they didn’t contribute to its renovation except through years of ponying up their admission and concessions money!

We do our best to keep the theatre a vital part of the city. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.


Ian Judge,
General Manager
Somerville Theatre