Comments from IanJudge

Showing 151 - 175 of 247 comments

IanJudge commented about Paramount Center on Apr 18, 2005 at 2:56 pm

The plywood floor you see is a temporary floor built in the orchestra space when Millenium Partners were building the towers next door; a temporary contractors office (complete with windows, doors, and ceiling) was built in the middle of the orchestra area, and was partially removed when construction next door was complete. The orchestra IS very shallow and does not have a huge rake to it, but it DOES have one. A friend and I took many interior pictures from 2001 but do not have them online.

IanJudge commented about Today's Newsreel on Apr 7, 2005 at 12:53 pm

You are correct Ron – this new “3-D” is more like the old multiplane cameras used in animation back in the 30’s and 40’s – for example, the clip of “Star Wars” I saw at the seminar was not ‘true’ 3-D, it was more like a character on one plane and the background on another (if that makes any sense). Now, on the other hand, some of the digitally created images (Polar Express, etc) that was specifically designed for the medium looked OK – but not the old stuff made anew.

IanJudge commented about Today's Newsreel on Apr 7, 2005 at 9:20 am

regarding the 3-D article: I attended the seminar at ShoWest and was unimpressed. They said “no headaches, no blurred vision, no double vision” and yet I experienced all 3 as did the person next to me. Lucas just wants us to pay for “Star Wars” in yet another version. As for Cameron saying “you’ve got 2 years to get ready” most of the exhibitors in the room seemed to respond to each other: “these big-shots better get ready to pay for it then” Film projector technology has not changed all that much since the introduction of sound; a 50-year-old Simplex and a brand new 35mm projector can play the same film format just fine, but how many new digital projectors will theaters have to buy every few years as technology changes? Think of how many times you have to buy a new PC to keep up with technology… it is very easy for these film-makers to push this on theater owners… THEY don’t have to pay for it.

IanJudge commented about Copley Place Cinemas on Apr 7, 2005 at 8:32 am

I’ll second that ‘thanks’ to Ron – you have provided so many great links and comments, and are a big part of why this website is so fun and thorough, especially in the Boston area theaters. Where do you get the energy? Good work!

IanJudge commented about AMC Loews Harvard Square 5 on Apr 5, 2005 at 11:00 am


I know a few of those names for sure. Bill Templeton works for BL&S and services our booth at Somerville quite a bit. Great guy. Also Susan Cassidy, oddly enough, I became friends with her only a few years ago and discovered she worked there too, back in the day. It is like going to a high school reunion sometimes on this website! We’ve all ‘graduated’ from the same theaters…

IanJudge commented about AMC Loews Harvard Square 5 on Apr 5, 2005 at 10:07 am


I worked there from 1996-2000, starting as an usher and leaving as a manager. Lots of great times with the staff there, including our wonderfully demented doorman Harvey and many others who became good friends. Not exactly the ‘glory days’ of the theater’s history, but fun nonetheless.

IanJudge commented about AMC Loews Harvard Square 5 on Apr 5, 2005 at 1:10 am

I am who I say I am and Haskell Wexler is not my uncle!!! These have to be the most random postings ever!

Back to the theater:

When I worked at Harvard Sq. I went on the roof quite a bit and at one point touched up the old “University Theatre” sign with some paint because vandals had sprayed graffiti on it and I was afraid that eventually the whole thing might get painted over a dull red, which was Loews' usual solution to graffiti. So I risked my neck and touched up the old sign to help keep it there.

IanJudge commented about Somerville Theatre on Mar 29, 2005 at 8:15 am

Actually Ron, BUFF is in one or two of our newer auditoriums, while IFF wll be using the main theater to premiere “Lonesome Jim” the new film by Steve Buscemi on 4/21.

IanJudge commented about Illinois Poltician Sues To Force Theaters To Stop Ads on Mar 10, 2005 at 9:52 am

Thanks Manwithnoname! And having attended movies in larger markets, I totally understand your frustration with loud latecomers. Theaters should have ‘cell phone check rooms’ like they used to have coat check rooms.

IanJudge commented about Illinois Poltician Sues To Force Theaters To Stop Ads on Mar 9, 2005 at 2:30 pm

Manwithnoname: I cannot comment on the specific terms of our contract (I don’t want this friendly discussion to turn into a messy contract thing), but as for denying people entry once the feature begins, that would create more enemies than friends.

br91975: I didn’t realize you used to go to the Somerville so much (and I am assuming you worked for Garen Daly back then? What great programming the place had back in the day! Double features, festivals, great stuff) next time you are in the area stop in and say hi! I went there for movies as a kid whenever I could, and have a lot of fun running the place now.

IanJudge commented about Illinois Poltician Sues To Force Theaters To Stop Ads on Mar 9, 2005 at 1:10 pm

Again, as long as the ad said something to the effect of “showtimes include full program of ads, previews and other content” that would be fair.

It is impossible to advertise the exact showtime the actual feature begins – what if one set of three previews is 6 mins long and a different set is 7 mins? And then what if the projectionist goofs up and starts the movie 5 mins late, do the customers get to sue? Are they entitled to a refund if the show starts 1 minute late. And by whose watch? It seems extreme. Another thing is that most audiences are accustomed to at least a couple of minutes of previews (many actually enjoy a couple) and so give themselves a little time to arrive, get comfortable, visit restrooms/concession, etc. When I have run films with no previews (it has happened occassionally when no good ones are available, or the film is exceedingly long) people get pissed off that the movie started right away when they are used to previews.

In fact, since my theater only shows 2 to 3 previews, people STILL miss the movie because the other chain theaters have acclimated them to 12-15 minutes of ads, previews, etc., so they arrive late.

You just can’t please everyone!

IanJudge commented about Illinois Poltician Sues To Force Theaters To Stop Ads on Mar 7, 2005 at 9:18 pm

As I have posted on the poll regarding this topic,

My theater just started showing these ads in January. We held out as long as we could, but they are an easy form of revenue and we lost money last year, so they make a difference in keeping my 91 year old moviehouse open. I absolutely hate them, to be sure, but they are helpful, and most audiences are (sadly) accustomed to them. I have yet to field a complaint, and I was bracing myself for an onslaught.

We make a genuine effort to start them earlier than the showtime so people aren’t forced to watch a longer show.

I also point out to folks that our ticket prices are 40% cheaper than other area theaters and the ads help keep them substantially lower.

One way the theaters could prevent such a lawsuit (which I personally think is frivolous) is to simply put a line in their advertising listings that says something to the effect of “Showtimes indicate start of program, including ads, previews, and other content”. That would, at least, be truth in advertising.

IanJudge commented about Loew's Jersey Theatre on Mar 3, 2005 at 8:31 am

I think that Mitchell means is that the last round of prints for the most recent re-release used a 1:33 image printed in the middle of a widescreen picture, with black bars to fill in the sides.

They did it this way because so few theaters have 1:33 lenses these days, and this new method would guarantee they could show the picture, since all theaters have 1:85 (flat) and 2:35 (scope) apertures and lenses.

IanJudge commented about Theatre 1 & Space 57 on Feb 24, 2005 at 5:28 pm

I have just confirmed by looking in an old Playbill for the roadshow presentation of “Camelot” at the Saxon Theatre and seeing an ad for the original “57” restaurant, at that time called “57 Carver Street”.

I have no idea if Carver Street even exists anymore.

This is the origin of the “57” name.

IanJudge commented about Somerville Theatre on Feb 23, 2005 at 11:11 pm

I remember the tracks but no trains – I think the last scheduled freight ran through around 1981 or so, though the tracks were probably used after that for equipment moves or when the nearby Fitchburg main line went down. I think they were all removed by ‘83, at least through the center of the square, though the other ends (now the bikepath) lasted a lot longer. My uncle recalls that many times he and other kids would hop a slow moving freight to get to Davis Sq. (he actually used to have the job of changing the marquee at Somerville in the 60’s for a time). This worked out fine until one day they hopped the wrong train; it took a turn at Somerville Junction and highballed it to New Hampshire before he could get off!

I’d imagine the tracks being so close to the theater was quite a disruption back in the days of many trains!

Jack Rivers – were you a projectionist assistant at Somerville? If so, I’d enjoy talking to you about the old days.

IanJudge commented about AMC Loews Harvard Square 5 on Feb 23, 2005 at 11:00 pm

During the late seventies and early eighties, the Harvard Sq. was owned by Tony Mauriello (sp) and Fred Taylor (who currently runs Scullers Jazz Club and also used to run Paul’s Mall among other clubs).

I have worked with Fred a few times and he is truly the nicest guy in showbusiness… he and Tony were the ones who multiplexed the theater to keep it going, then they sold it.

IanJudge commented about Capitol Theatre on Feb 23, 2005 at 10:53 pm

The Capitol was built by the Locatelli family, who built and operated theaters in the Arlington-Somerville area (they built the Ball Square Theater and Central Theater in Somerville among others).

The Capitol did feature vaudeville in its earliest years, but not for long.

The theater eventually came under the control of Viano’s Theatres (owners of the Teele Sq., Broadway, Somerville, and Regent theaters), although the Viano’s did NOT own the building. At some point, the current owners (the Fraiman’s) bought the building and when Viano wanted out of the movie business, the Fraiman’s took over the operation of the Capitol.

It was originally going to be turned into apartments (to add to the ones already in the building) but it was suggested by one of Mr. Fraiman’s sons that they try to keep the theater going. They did, although multiplexing was the only way to keep it going.

The sixth screen was added in 1990 and is indeed in the old stagehouse. It is reputedly haunted!

The organ lofts are still there but all equipment was removed years ago.

I don’t know if they are planning a birthday celebration, but I will bring that up the next time I talk with the manager there.

IanJudge commented about Wollaston Theatre on Feb 22, 2005 at 1:55 pm

Whoa, taking my comments way too personally.

IanJudge commented about Wollaston Theatre on Feb 22, 2005 at 10:42 am

Only the exterior of the Wollaston is a listed as historically significant – not the interior, so loans for the interior may not be available, and if they are, they are still LOANS and loans cost money. Either way, I’ve heard the building has major structural issues that would take a great deal of money to repair.

Renovating a theater is not as simple as some people may think it is. It is a huge and expensive undertaking that does not always pay off financially. Once the theater is open, business needs to meet certain levels, and you have to have a good film booker to know what will play well.

Criticize the owner all you want, but he probably doesn’t have the money to renovate and yet doesn’t want to give up the theater either. People have no idea what variables there are in situations like this; you can say ‘what a shame’ or ‘why don’t they do something about it’ but you can’t really know the circumstances unless you are the owner.

IanJudge commented about Apple Cinemas Cambridge on Feb 10, 2005 at 12:41 pm

Boston Concessions Group operates or manages many theaters in the Northeast. Some others I know of are the Opera House in Newport, RI and the Holiday Cinema in Newport. They have theaters throughout Maine and New Hampshire, CT, and control many other concessions in resorts, event centers, etc.

They tend to finance theaters and as a condition of financing, they operate the concessions. When the theaters can’t pay their bills, BCG takes over the theaters. This is a common business structure in many other regions.

I don’t know the details of their deals with Entertainment Cinemas, but Bill Hanney is still running that company, and BCG has concession rights to a lot of (if not all) their theaters, and possibly more control than that.

They are pretty huge, but most people have never heard of them, not least as theater operators.

IanJudge commented about Assembly Square Cinemas on Feb 10, 2005 at 12:25 pm

I don’t believe that Assembly has a union booth. I am pretty sure the union would not tolerate it, but perhaps they don’t want to rock the already unsteady boat.

IanJudge commented about AMC Loews Harvard Square 5 on Feb 10, 2005 at 8:52 am

I liked the Coolidge’s old-school marquee better than it’s flashy new one. Plus, the architecture of the building facade means that all decorative stuff like signage should accent the front, not the blank side where the current Coolidge’s entrance is, though understandably they want to draw attention to where the door is.

It is too bad they don’t have the money to reclaim their lobby.

IanJudge commented about Assembly Square Cinemas on Feb 10, 2005 at 8:48 am

I must say that it is worse – I was there recently on a rainy day to pick up a print and the lobby was full of bins for catching the many leaks in the ceiling. The projection booth was also a mess, with projectors running while covered in tarps to keep the water off of them – not something I’d feel safe working in. With the lack of a local ‘regional office’ in Boston now (after reorganization, Loews' regions were expanded as to minimize local office staffs) it is possible the people in the home office have no idea the theater is so bad. The thing is, they lease the space, so why not demand to the landlord it be fixed?

IanJudge commented about Apple Cinemas Cambridge on Feb 10, 2005 at 8:44 am

I believe that Fresh Pond was originally one auditorium upstairs and another down.

I also seem to recall it had some kind of fire there before it reopened.

One of the odd things about Fresh Pond is that the concession stand is handled by Boston Concessions Group (which owns many theaters in New England and manages concessions at more still, including most of the Entertainment Cinemas). This was a contract held over from the Entertainment days and it (understandably) rankled Loews – they don’t make as much off of the stand as they could if they ran it themselves (though they do technically run it with their own staff, etc).

IanJudge commented about Paris Cinema on Feb 8, 2005 at 10:42 am

Speaking of the Saxon – that right there is an example of a Sack owned house that ran porn. There is a great picture of the Saxon in the “Citi-scapes of Boston” photo book by the guys who do the ‘then and now’ photos in the Globe magazine. Advertised on the marquee: “Terri Hall in ‘Gums’ rated XXX”.

Clearly they weren’t hiding it!