Comments from dave-bronx™

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dave-bronx™ commented about Ziegfeld Theatre on Aug 6, 2004 at 3:13 am

The heading for the Ziegfeld does not list the architect, and I didn’t see it in all the comments. It was probably the same architect who designed the Burlington House (or whatever they are calling the office building fronting on Sixth Ave. these days), since the theatre was part of that development. However, the original interiors of this Ziegfeld were by Dolly Reade (Mrs. Walter Reade, Jr.) She also redecorated several other Walter Reade theatres.

dave-bronx™ commented about Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Aug 5, 2004 at 10:55 pm

In the early 1990s, City Cinemas had an architect draw up plans for the Lunt, with it divided into 4 or 5 cinemas. As I recall, the drawings showed 2 cinemas on the orchestra level, 2 in the balcony level and possibly 1 on the stage. I don’t know what the deal was, but obviously it never happened.

dave-bronx™ commented about Quo Vadis Entertainment Center on Aug 5, 2004 at 8:03 pm

The architect, Yamasaki and Associates, was later the architect of of the now-destroyed World Trade Center in New York.

dave-bronx™ commented about Embassy 72nd Street Twin 1 and 2 on Aug 5, 2004 at 7:40 pm

This threatre did do a bang-up business with the art-house crowd, but the place was a dump. Clean, but tile floors, silver wall paper and fluorescent lighting in the lobby, and the auditoruims had junky seats and lighting at intermission consisted of a single pink floodlight bulb over the lobby door pointed at the screen. Except for the bookings, Peter Elson ran this place like one of his Times Square action houses (The Embassy’s). Bookings = 10 – Ambiance = 0

dave-bronx™ commented about Interboro Theatre on Aug 5, 2004 at 1:17 am

The reason local residents called it “The Itch”:

“…The Interborough Theatre on Tremont Avenue in Throggs Neck was a notorious spot in the 1920s. Patrons of this movie house almost always came back scratching. The theatre was infested with lice, and the children of the area aptly called it "The Itch.” Luckily, this situation did not exist in most other movie houses…“
—"The Beautiful Bronx” by Lloyd Ultan

dave-bronx™ commented about Loew's 72nd Street Theatre on Aug 4, 2004 at 11:43 pm

You’re right. Is the Alpine still open? If so I can’t think of any other of the old ones still operated by Loews in New York.

The old 83rd St. Quad was on that block at the corner of 83rd St., and the new 84th St. 6-plex is on the same block but at the corner of 84th St.

dave-bronx™ commented about Loew's 72nd Street Theatre on Aug 4, 2004 at 7:03 pm

BTW, check the Loews 83rd St. page on this site – there is a photo of the old quad with the new 6plex in the left edge of the pic.

dave-bronx™ commented about Loew's 72nd Street Theatre on Aug 4, 2004 at 6:50 pm

84th St. 6-plex is on the north half of the blockfront btwn 83 & 84 Sts., east side of Broadway. The 83rd St. Quad was on the south half of the blockfront btwn 83 & 84 Sts., east side of Broadway. The first 2 days the 6-plex was open, the quad was open too, and the old and new theatres sat there side by side. The present apt. bldg. sits on the ground that the quad was on AND on the roof of the 6-plex. Trust me, I worked there.

dave-bronx™ commented about Gramercy Theater on Aug 4, 2004 at 5:38 pm

In the 80s The Gramercy was playing second-run film. When the ceiling at the Murray Hill collapsed 2 days before they were supposed to open Alien 2, the new film was moved to the Gramercy, and it remained first-run until City Cinemas closed it.

dave-bronx™ commented about Loew's 72nd Street Theatre on Aug 4, 2004 at 5:01 pm

There was usually some provision in the sale to include a replacement theatre in whatever was being built. The old Loews State and the Loew’s Building above it on Times Square was sold with the agreement that a new 4-screen theatre would be included and be a tenant. What is now the Virgin music store was to have been a mall, with a number of stores and the theatre. The developer put up the building and before the interior was completed went bancrupt. The incomplete building sat there for 10 years until that situation was settled and the property sold to a new owner and completed. By the time the new State Theatre opened, 4-screen theatres were obsolete, and the plan for a mall was thrown out in favor of a single tenant.

The 84th Street was some kind of exchange – the 84th St. 6-plex was built next door to the 83rd St Quad. When the 84th St. opened, the quad closed and was demolished. The apartment building was built on the ground the quad was on and on top of the new 6-plex. The theatre and ground it’s on was owned by Loews, and the apt. bldg. bought the air-rights and built on top of it. It is actually 2 seperate buildings. Loews role there may have changed, but up until a couple of years ago, that’s the way it was.

dave-bronx™ commented about Loew's 72nd Street East on Aug 4, 2004 at 3:42 pm

It should be noted that the name was Loew’s Tower East, because the name of the condominium building of which it is part is Tower East. The entrance to the Condo is on 72nd Street, where the entrance to the old theatre had been. In the early 90s, when Sony got involved signs were changed to ‘Sony Theatres Tower East’. A resident of the condominium, apparently an executive of Panosonic or JVC (a rival of the Sony Corporation) made an issue of having the name Sony associated with the name of his residence. The landlord prevailed upon Loews/Sony management to either remove ‘Sony’ or ‘Tower East’ from the sign, so they changed it to “Sony Theatres 72nd Street East”. When Sony got un-involved and signs were changed to Loews again, they kept the 72nd St. East name, despite my suggestion that they go back to Tower East. But to everyone who has known that theatre for any amount of time, though, it will always be the Loews Tower East, regardless of what the sign says.

dave-bronx™ commented about Renton Village Cinemas on Aug 4, 2004 at 10:32 am

This should be Renton Village Cinema I & II (guess I made a BIG typo!)….

dave-bronx™ commented about Loew's Boston Road Theatre on Aug 4, 2004 at 3:58 am

There were 2 Loews Theatres on Boston Post Road – this one is near Wilkens Avenue, the other one, Loews Post Road, was near Corsa Avenue.

dave-bronx™ commented about University Flick on Aug 4, 2004 at 3:47 am

This was purchased by General Cinema from Modern Theatres around 1971 and was part of a package deal that included the Eastland and Northland here in Columbus and the Mercury and Mayland in Cleveland.

dave-bronx™ commented about Metropolitan Theatre on Aug 1, 2004 at 4:22 am

I’m sure you’re right about the Scrumpy-Dump being at 105th St. at that time and I’m off with the years. I was aware of some odd theatre up there, although I had heard it was set up in the lobby of the Keiths 105, but I wasn’t familiar with that area in ‘72. Maybe it was the mid to late 70s that they knocked down that whole block to build some kind of state facility. It was after that area was cleared that the Scrumpy-Dump went into the WHK auditorium. I used to take the #9 bus from Mayfield Heights to downtown and pass the WHK Bldg. and there was a Scrumpy-Dump sign on it, not a theatre marquee, and I remember thinking “What a cheesey-looking sign for a theatre”. The Scrumpy-Dump only advertised sporadically – they were apparently on a shoestring budget and didn’t always participate in the co-op advertising campaigns. I remember passing there at some later point and noting that the Scrumpy-Dump sign had been replaced with a better New Hippodrome sign, but I can’t pinpoint the year. I came here to New York in the early 80s and kept up with some things through friends and the newspapers.

dave-bronx™ commented about Parmatown Mall Cinemas on Aug 1, 2004 at 3:04 am

As I sit here in New York City reading this a tear has come to my eye – I started in the business as an usher at “The Cinema” way back in the beginning – back then it seemed like it would be there forever. At that time this was the second highest grossing unit in General Cinema, only the Ford City Cinema in Chicago beat us. The crowds waiting to get in would stretch to ¾ of the way across the mall in front of the theatre, and then a line would snake through the mall and wrap around the fountain by The May Co (Kaufmanns). We were ALWAYS sold out. The ticket price then was $2. adults and $0.60 for kids and bargain matinee, and the bargain matinee was the first show only. We had candy for 5 cents (Carmel Creams) plain popcorn in a box was 15 and 25 cents, popcorn with butter in a cup 30, 50 and 95 cents. Sodas were 25 and 35 cents, and there was a 15 cent soda from the vending machines.

Smoking in the auditorium was allowed in the section between the left aisle and the wall. There was no Dolby stereo, there wasn’t any kind of stereo, just mono coming from a single Altec Voice of the Theatre A-10 speaker that was about 7 feet tall. The screens were 23 feet tall and 50 feet wide, and the picture projected with Century projectors (2 in each theatre running 2000' reels, no platters in those days) and Ashcraft carbon-arc lamphouses – no automation, and there was a projectionist for each auditorium.

There were 75 blue floodlights in a ceiling cove that lit up the screen and surrounding walls and ceiling blue during the intermissions. They used the blue lights like the curtain in a conventional theatre. The rule was never have a white screen – the blue lights or the picture had to be on it at all times. When the show was starting the blue lights would start to dim and a cartoon would come on. as the cartoon was ending the blue lights would come up about half-bright, the GCC logo with ‘Coming Attractions’ would appear on the screen, the “mad drummer” would start playing, the blue lights would dim out again then the trailers would come on. As the last trailer was ending, the blue lights came up to half-bright again, the GCC logo with ‘Feature Presentation’ would appear on the screen, the “mad drummer” would start playing again, the blue lights would dim out and then the movie would start.

We were an army of ushers who could empty and fill a sold out 1050 seat auditorium in 20 minutes, of course in those days we didn’t clean the theatre between shows like we do today. At the end of the day the place would be waist-deep in popcorn boxes. When the last show of the day was over there would be a gang of cleaners come in and work all night and finish about the time that we were getting ready to open the next day.

It’s hard to believe that the Parma Theatre, which was there for 31 years before the Cinema was built will still be running after the now 37 year old Cinema is gone. There are a lot of people on this site who will mourn the closing of the Loews Astor here in New York (I worked there, too), but I’ll mourn the closing of the Parmatown Cinema……..

dave-bronx™ commented about Metropolitan Theatre on Jul 31, 2004 at 11:47 am

Sometime after the real Hippodrome was down and the rubble taken away in 1975, the Scrumpy-Dump name was changed to New Hippodrome.

dave-bronx™ commented about Metropolitan Theatre on Jul 31, 2004 at 11:29 am

When WHK was THE radio station in the 60s, they used the auditotium for occassional rock concerts, but after they discovered they could fill larger venues like Public Hall and the stadium, this was not used for regular public events.

In the early 70s, before the real Hippodrome downtown was closed/demolished, this was playing day-and-date with them – I think they were the same management. The name of the place at that time was ‘The Scrumpy-Dump Cinema’ {no, I’m not kidding – check the newspaper movie directories from 1973-74 if you don’t believe me!]. They played what were called at the time black exploitation films. A projectionist who worked at my theatre and also at this one told us that the balcony or some other area was structurally unsound and only the main floor was being used. I’m sure when the Agora took over a lot of money was spent to upgrade the place.

The WHK Building is a very wide building – the lobby of the office building was at the east end with the address of 5000 Euclid Ave, auditorium at the west end of the building was listed as 4900 Euclid Ave on the Scrumpy-Dump ads.

dave-bronx™ commented about Loew's 72nd Street Theatre on Jul 30, 2004 at 1:54 pm

During the time that Loews was owned by the Tisch family their main concern was land. A projectionists' union contract in Cleveland during those years was written as between “I.A.T.S.E. Local 160 and Loews Theatre and Real Estate Corporation” – I don’t think they were ever interested in the theatres, only the land underneath them. Once they had exploited all the prime owned locations by tearing down the big palace-type theatres and building apartment buildings, office buildings or just selling the property to others for redevelopment, they got rid of the remaining theatre operation which for the most part were leased locations.

dave-bronx™ commented about Parma Theatre on Jul 30, 2004 at 5:11 am

The Parma Theatre opened October 17, 1936, with the picture “The Gorgeous Hussy” starring Joan Crawford, Robert Tayor and Lionel Barrymore. It looked to be about 1500 seats as a single theatre. It was divided into 3 or 4 screens in the late 70s, and after all these years still doing a bang-up business with bargain price tickets.

dave-bronx™ commented about Galleria Cinemas on Jul 29, 2004 at 1:38 pm

This was originally named Sunrise Cinema I & II before they changed the name of the Sunrise Shopping Center to the Galleria.

dave-bronx™ commented about Parmatown Mall Cinemas on Jul 29, 2004 at 3:07 am

The films that opened the theatre 1967 were “Cool Hand Luke” in one theatre and “Tony Rome” in the other theatre.

In the early days, since it was the first 2-screen theatre in the area, people would come to the box office and, because there were two titles on the marquee, would ask “It’s a double-feature?”. The cashier would explain that no, it wasn’t a double feature, there were two theatres. The customer would say “Two theatres?? In the same building?? I’ve never heard of such a thing!”

Times change – recently, while working at a single screen theatre in New York with one title on the marquee, people would come to the box office and ask “What else are you playing?”

dave-bronx™ commented about Sutton Theater on Jul 29, 2004 at 2:49 am

According to an anonymous source, the Sutton property was sold, the theatre is a tenant, and the new owner intends to tear it down and build something else. However, someone was trying to get the New York City Landmarks Commission to consider giving it landmark status. The new owner got wind of it and quickly contracted to have the exterior destroyed before it could be landmarked. Hopefully, there will be a fight with the landmarks commission who could file suit to get restoration ordered, or at least get some hefty fines levied.

dave-bronx™ commented about Erie Commons Cinema on Jul 28, 2004 at 7:13 pm

The Mentor Mall was a small covered shopping center across the street from the huge Great Lakes Mall, and patronage in the Mentor Mall was minimal. Many of the original stores left for the big mall across the street. The Cinema was built as 3 screens, and as stores ajoining the theatre left the mall, GCC gradually added 5 more auditoriums in the vacant space. None of the original 3 auditoriums were divided because they were already pretty narrow.

dave-bronx™ commented about Hippodrome Theatre on Jul 28, 2004 at 2:56 pm

BTW, the firm of Knox & Elliot is listed as the architect of the Hippodrome.