Comments from IanJudge

Showing 101 - 125 of 247 comments

IanJudge commented about Wang Theatre on Mar 2, 2006 at 9:27 am

We have, at the Somerville Theatre, a newspaper article noting that Busby Berkeley was leaving the Arlington Theatre on Arlington street for the Somerville Players, and mentioning his successful presentation of musical comdies at the Arlington.

IanJudge commented about Paramount Theatre on Feb 3, 2006 at 6:57 pm

I would guess that the demolition photo under discussion is taken from the perspective of near the stage facing the house; I guess this because one can almost make out the line of the balcony along the left wall, with descending exit door openings from the top rear (center near the top of photo) towards the lower/left foreground of the picture. Never having stepped foot in the building, this is merely an educated guess.

IanJudge commented about Mark Cuban asks "What business are theaters in?" on Jan 27, 2006 at 7:38 pm

Maybe if he doled out some of his money to pay ushers a decent wage to STOP people from acting so foolishly in his theaters this would not be an issue; yet instead his company pays low wages and let’s the industry lower its standards like every other chain.

I get the feeling he doesn’t really care either way; it is just a game for a rich boy like him.

IanJudge commented about Warners' Theatre on Jan 26, 2006 at 5:25 pm

The Warner Cinerama in NYC (Times Sq.) is listed under the STRAND THEATRE on this site.

IanJudge commented about Somerville Theatre on Jan 21, 2006 at 7:48 am


Without getting into too much detail, let me say that without the live events, I very much doubt the Somerville Theatre would still be open. The studios and large theater chains make it very difficult for small independent operators to get films. It used to be that we would get stuff 3-6 weeks out, which would enable us to draw decent audiences (and occasionally we still get movies that ‘fresh’, case in point being “Walk the Line” which we got 4 weeks out and is still doing great business due to word of mouth and Golden Globes, etc). The past few years, the studios have been giving us movies that are 5-8 (or more) weeks out and by that time they don’t have as much life in them.

That said, we have been in talks recently with the major studios about seeking some relief from the situation as it stands now. Some have been quite friendly and some have been indifferent. The MPAA has also been helpful to us in this regard. I would love for Somerville to become a first run theater and compete with Harvard Square and Kendall. While it would raise pirices slightly (due to obligations to studios for new product) it would enable a larger audience to utilize the theater, which is often filled way below capacity, as you mentioned. But we have no idea if going first run would even be possible given the way the industry works.

The Somerville is lucky also in that the building contains leasable office and commercial space, so those parts of the building serve to subsidize the theater to some degree. If we were a single-use building, it would be tough to make a go of it.

Thankfully the theater owners are dedicated to keeping the theater going and have used their own money to keep it afloat when others might not have been able to.

-Ian Judge
Somerville Theatre

IanJudge commented about Loew's State Theatre on Jan 20, 2006 at 6:49 pm

This is totally from memory, but I know one of them was “The Golden Child” …. can’t remember the other. Someone with NYT microfiche could look it up… there was even a little blurb about the closing in the NYT.

IanJudge commented about Somerville Theatre on Jan 18, 2006 at 11:42 am

Hi Matt,

We have considered doing some specialty programming, but it is difficult to make a go of that stuff between dvd and the other repertory houses in Boston (Brattle, HFA, MFA, Coolidge). We have considered programming a calendar schedule around the live events in our main theater, but have yet to move forward with any plans.

I am always looking for ways to improve programming, and I hope we will be able to make some big changes in the next few years to keep the place going and make it more of a unique destination.

We’ve also invested some money in the improvement of our presentation by having our projectors serviced more regularly and hiring an experienced projectionist to do strictly maintenance work with the goal of throwing a superior picture on screen. In the next year or so we are also planning upgrades to the sound and screen in the main theater as well as the sound in our smaller cinemas.

I welcome your feedback, so keep it coming! Say hi the next time you stop by the theater.

-Ian Judge
Somerville Theatre

IanJudge commented about Wollaston Theatre on Jan 14, 2006 at 5:45 pm

Arthur Chandler has always said ‘no’ emphatically to any offers to buy the theater so far. As some have mentioned, he is not easy to approach on the subject.

IanJudge commented about Slate on the 'Popcorn Palace economy' on Jan 5, 2006 at 11:23 am

I should also add that I think all theater owners would prefer the studios made GOOD films that are marketed well, you know, the kind people want to pay to see. Length can be a factor but I’d take a 3 hour movie pulling 500 people a show over 10 shows a day of a 90 minute piece of crap nobody sees.

IanJudge commented about Slate on the 'Popcorn Palace economy' on Jan 5, 2006 at 11:21 am

This article seems full of assumptions and innacuracies. The whole part about projectionists and methods of projection shows a complete lack of understanding of how any booth operates, nevermind automated ones. While it may be true that many chain theaters could care less about presentation, I have never heard of any theater purposefully putting the picture out of focus to prevent snafus, and furthermore, doing so does not effect the ‘safety’ of the film not snagging at all. Also, projectionists at multi-screens do not change reels anymore like in the old days, today it is all platters for a multi-plex. One experienced operator can run several screens by themselves with no problems at all so long as they are attentive to presentation issues in general.

The big chains may be stingy with bulbs, though, but I think the real problem there is that few theater managers are aware that old bulbs can contribute to bad picture quality, and few chains care to educate their managers on picture quality. Any education I have gotten on presentation has always been from experienced (and usually union) projectionists who know their stuff, not from the theater management I have worked for.

This article was interesting but poorly researched, if you ask me.

IanJudge commented about ABC News: No Happy Ending in 2005 For Hollywood on Dec 30, 2005 at 10:37 am

While it is true that audiences are annoyed by cell phones, advertising, and bad behavior, the fact is that this ‘trend’ is somewhat an example of spin. I think ABC was just looking for an interesting story. Two of the major studios, Fox and Warner Brothers, both posted incredible years, Warner’s with their best year ever. Why? Because they made films audiences wanted to see, to pay $10 for, to withstand advertisements, distractions and so forth, and people responded. There will always be competition for movies and the manner in which people see them will indeed change, but the fact is that if a movie is enough of a draw, people will go. The studios need to make more of an effort in making movies better. My parents are a good example of people who don’t go to the movies as a habit but are more than happy to go (and have a good time) if they really want to see a movie. They would go more often if the PRODUCT was something they wanted to ‘buy’.

This does not mean exhibition doesn’t need to improve – it surely does. It needs to stop cannibalizing the audience through incessant advertising, bad customer service, and poor presentation. It needs to make the movies a more-than-pedestrian experience and bring back how special it can be. Will it? Who knows… but as Paul says above, neither exhibiters nor studios can change it on their own.

IanJudge commented about Loews and AMC to Sell 10 Theaters on Dec 24, 2005 at 9:02 am

I doubt it for Sundance – most of these AMC and Loews houses are standard-hollywood-fare locations, not art houses. Unless Sundance wants to get into the general audience business, I don’t think it would be a wise fit. Even in Boston where a new art house downtown is needed, 13 screens is just too much for strictly art house releases. The rumor on AMC Fenway is all about Showcase at this point. It would be Redstone’s first foray into the downtown area in decades.

IanJudge commented about Loews and AMC to Sell 10 Theaters on Dec 23, 2005 at 1:43 pm

Hi Ron,

AMC Fenway is just a little out of our range in terms of cost and too large a place for FEI to consider given our current resources- plus it is a leased location and we are only interested in locations where we could buy the property as well as the operations…. now Loews Harvard Square is another story – it would kind of fit into our portfolio, so to speak, but it too is a very expensive piece of real estate. No word yet from AMC if they would be willing to part with other locations in the area.

IanJudge commented about Loews and AMC to Sell 10 Theaters on Dec 23, 2005 at 9:33 am

Interesting that in the Boston area, they are forced to sell one theater in Boston because otherwise they would control both first-run Boston venues, but in nearby Cambridge, where they control 2 of 3 first run venues they do not have to divest at all. Some of these divestment choices seem random, while others make sense (i.e. E-Walk across the street from the Empire).

IanJudge commented about Loew's Paradise Theatre on Dec 19, 2005 at 7:00 pm

Looking at the photos, um, they spelled Loew’s as Lowes on the ticket… either they are being sponsored by a hardware chain or someone there is not on the ball.

Comparing the old photos of the sunburst sign and the new photos, I would guess that it is tin, that the outlines of the original sunburst were visible even on a fuzzy photo from a couple of years ago, and that the new paint job extends the paint down an extra foot or two beyond where it originally went, nevermind being sloppy and amateurish. Granted, they may not have a ton of money to spend, but this is exterior paint here, folks. It shouldn’t cost that much to pay someone a day or two pay to do it right.

I wish them nothing but success, but with no events lined up, how do they expect to pay the rent? The heating and electric bill on that place has got to be around 2k a month, at least, even while closed.

IanJudge commented about Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts on Dec 19, 2005 at 9:55 am


It must be the upper balcony, because this house did not have a second balcony. MGM would have owned this theater at the time, so no wonder they called it “DeLuxe”

I too am curous as to any progress made on this theater. Last time I was in Worcester (summer of 05) nothing on the exterior had changed at all.

IanJudge commented about Loew's Paradise Theatre on Dec 5, 2005 at 5:35 pm

Even though they are calling it ‘Paradise Theater’ (and understandably not using the Loew’s name to spare confusion) I am assuming they still restored the neon sign on the front marquee to say “Loew’s Paradise Theatre”. Can one of you confirm this? Any pictures of the exterior since the reopening floating around out there? Google image search doesn’t seem to find any.

IanJudge commented about Flick 1 & 2 on Dec 5, 2005 at 5:30 pm

My uncle John DeLellis owned this theater in the mid 80’s. I would spend the occasional afternoon there watching kid-appropriate movies. My aunt and grandmother would sell concessions. I remember helping to clean up a little (as best as a kid can) because I got to see the free movies! They found it very hard to make a living from the theater and sold it to a fellow who worked for them. I’m not sure if that guy owned it until it closed or not, but the opening of the nearby Hoyts (now Regal) multiplex killed it. It sat empty for a while before being completely gutted for a Staples.

I still remember my Uncle Johnny complaining about Disney as a distributor, how tough their terms were, etc.

Little did I know I would end up working in movie theaters most of my adult life!

IanJudge commented about Copley Place Cinemas on Dec 3, 2005 at 6:50 am

Ben Sack actually lost control of Sack’s Theatres in 1974, long before the consolidation of the industry began. His former right-hand man, A. Alan Friedberg (who had started as an usher at the old Beacon Hill Theatre) was the primary mover-and-shaker, if you will. Friedberg eventually built the chain up into USA Theatres and merged it with Loews in the late 80’s, and he became chairman of Loews. He retired in the early 90’s and that is when the new generation of Loews management stepped in and began closing so many Boston theaters.

IanJudge commented about Lynn Open Air Theatre on Nov 28, 2005 at 1:59 pm

This was an E. M. Loew’s drive-in on the Lynnway in Lynn (I believe roughly where the Walmart is). For a time in the early 80’s it was listed in the Guinness book of records as the largest drive-in in North America (or possibly the world?) with over 4,000 cars. It must have closed soon afterwards. As far as I know there is no trace of it left.

IanJudge commented about Too much security at movie theaters? on Nov 8, 2005 at 7:11 am

I think that this person was subjected to this search because it was some kind of advance screening before the movie’s release date, so they took extra precaution to stop any chance of someone videotaping the movie for pirated release.

This was probably not done for security (i.e. terrorism, as is implied above) but to stop the pirating of movies, which is a big focus of the MPAA, and is a giant problem for the movie business, theaters included. An extra search of patrons at pre-release screenings is quite common today, because so many illegal copies have been made at such screenings.

I doubt any regular movie goer will ever have to deal with this on a normal night at the show.

IanJudge commented about Loew's Paradise Theatre on Oct 23, 2005 at 5:02 pm

I think that Warren was referring to the number of booked shows being low, as opposed to the kinds of shows booked, as being a concern, and he is right. There is no way the Paradise can be a financial success with only sporadic programming; it needs to have a solid calendar of events to keep the cash flowing in, unless the owner is willing to make up the losses himself. No doubt, rental income from the theater building will subsidize the theater, but a successful venue should have a steady supply of regular users. It is also alarming to see that the bookers are inexperienced, because it takes a lot of showmanship and publicity to make a name for any new venue, no matter how resplendently wonderful it is. That said, we shall all have to see how it goes and hope for success.

IanJudge commented about Paramount Center on Oct 19, 2005 at 8:22 am


I have spoken with David Guss (curator of the Lost Theatres of Somerville event) and we hope to host a THSA group at Somerville too. Thanks for your reply about Mr. Viano’s lecture. Bob was the theater’s historian, but unfortunately after his death, his meticulous archives were accidentally thrown out by movers cleaning out his home. What a loss. I hope to go along for some of the THSA visits around town next year.

IanJudge commented about Paramount Center on Oct 16, 2005 at 8:06 am

Ron, I am fairly certain that the facade was removed and cleaned and put back in place, medallions and all, not replaced or replicated by new material. I worked next door during the time it was renovated, and all of the pieces of masonry were numbered as they were removed and returned in crates with numbers as well, so the construction crews put every slab back in the correct place. I believe that everything is original on the exterior.

I think the marquee looks not quite ‘right’ because they use (as all new marquees do) plastic panels for the lettering areas, as opposed to the milky glass old marquees used to have. That old glass look is more attractive visually than the super-clean plastic.

Did you attend other tours with the THSA group in ‘83? I ask because I am trying to locate any photos taken during a tour of my theater (Somerville Theatre) during that year. A lecture was given by the late Robert Viano about the Somerville’s history. Any chance you attended? Thanks!

IanJudge commented about Wang Theatre on Oct 13, 2005 at 9:09 am

Great Stuff, Bill! I have a couple of old Playbills for Camelot at the Saxon and Sound of Music at the Gary – the old ads are funny as well in these. The Statler is now the Park Plaza Hotel.