Showing 1 - 25 of 300 comments
REndres: “Perhaps someone who is doing a history of theatres will be interested enough to compile some of my recollections into a cohesive whole.”
Someone has been practically begging to do this for a permanent feature online, but you never answer.
There was no screening at the National. There couldn’t be, because, as reported on Cinema Sightlines, all the sound equipment has been removed.
So REndres, how might one contact you to document your experiences??
To all: repeating a question from ages ago, Has CHRISTMAS AT RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, the 2 disc RCA album of Holiday music on The Mighty Wurlitzer, turned up on DVD yet? This is an entirely instrumental album of the music played between shows during the Holiday season, not to be confused with other albums featuring the Christmas show itself. I have a vinyl copy and have been hoping to get it transferred to digital at some point.
Many thanks to William, for listing the broadcast dates of Diamond at the Rock. Had I not read it here, I would have missed it. And yes it is carried on DirecTV. I have just added it to my DVR record list.
Dear Mr. Endres, There IS a well deserved spotlight searching for you. There is indeed someone who has been yearning to document your acheivements and experiences in a long detailed form, Attempts have been made to reach you by phone and through posting here but to no avail.
I have known your name since reading it in the RCMH souvenir book from the 70s. My first visits to NY in 68 and 72 included ODD COUPLE, WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT, and BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS, After I moved to NYC in 76 I saw SLIPPER AND THE ROSE, PETE’S DRAGON (at the World Premiere, which had media coverage, star entrances, etc. The premiere was open to the public, but the first Mezz was reserved for the cast and other VIPs). Pretty much everything you have written here has gratifyingly validated all the passion I have for Cinema Showmanship.
You have tremendous value to the moviegoing experience, past, present, and future, I envy anyone who gets to experience your professional showmanship today. Your experiences and recollections MUST be compiled and documented. So please let me know how you can be contacted.
…because it looks like a nice atmosphere to see a movie in. If i lived there I’d go all the time. But I wouldn’t make the long trip unless they assembled the big deep-curved screen.
Regerding previous commments about the deep Cinerama screen being totally complete behind the existing screen: It’s not just a matter of revealing the deep screen, there is most definitely “some assembly required.”
I have seen numerous pictures of the long arduous process of dismantling the front screen and assembling the pieces of the deep screen that are stored behind it. This includes unfurling sections that are rolled up, and replacing the center of the curtain track so that it follows the curve of the deep screen.
As for this being the only “true” Cinerama theatre in the US… well Pacific did decide against installing the louvered screen at the Dome because they saw the unahchored louvres fluttering in the AC breeze when the Seattle first ran HTWWW. Certainly a mistake in my mind. And it’s true that Seattle has a deeper curve, which is probably better.
However the specs for Cinerama were not set in stone, and the 126 degree (like the Dome) curve was used in some Cinerama theatres, others had a 146 degree curve like the Seattle). Some of the screens had flat sides like a bowtie, some were cylindrical. Some were even a flat sheet in the center and louvred only onthe sides. So you can’t claim the Dome isn’t “true” Cinerama just because of the degree of the curve.
The Seattle Cinerama people decided not to permanently install the deep curved screen because of some talk about picture distortion, (which could have been minimized). The Cinerama Dome people chose not to install a proper louvered screen, instead opting for a low-gain screen, which provides a less effective picture.
The Cinerama experince in Seattle may well be more impressive, but it requires a massive and expensive conversion process to assemble then dismantle the deep screen every time they want to use it, making even some 70mm films worthy of the deep screen more likely to be shown on the smaller one in front. (as is the case with 2001 and others in their current 70mm series). The Dome, however, shows everything on the curved screen, and when they want to run Cinerama, all they have to do is bring in the print and three very good projectionists.
Bottom line, The Seattle CInerama and the Dome each have attributes the other doesn’t and some of their biggest differences were influenced in some way by each other. Seattle: nicer deepscreen experience, but that is very rare because it is not set up for regular use of the bigger screen. Dome: screen and picture could cartainly be better but it is there all the time. Advantage regarding Cinerama: Neither. Advantage regarding decor and atmosphere: Seattle.
having said all that, I’d love to visit the Seattle Cinerama, because it
DR?? Me? I know the Landmark is clean… i don’t hate the place, I just wonder what they were thinking when they built a multiplex from the ground up with some cinema rooms that look like they were shoehorned into an existing, oddly shaped space.
Anyway, to bring us back to the topic here, The Landmark complex seems to be a logical place for Ross and co. to meet people, and I hope it goes very well for them. That’s why I’m thinking of making the journey.
Too bad thet tiny picture can’t be enlarged for more detail…
I’m thinking if I manage to schlep all the way out to WLA on public transit (must remember my passport) I may as well see a movie at the Landmark. They have DAN IN REAL LIFE now, starts 430 ish, just enough time to get out for the meeting… Has it occurred to anyone else to take full advantage of a trip to this new theatre? Was there once before and was shocked that the room I was in was taller than wide and looked like a big square TV screen. They can’t all be that bad…
There is a photo tour of that museum online.
Anyonr have any pictures of this theatre?
Anyone have any photos of this place that aren’t already posted online?
Note that the twin that replaced this theatre is listed undr Shoppingtown 1-2-3-4.
Bob, how old were you during SOUND OF MUSIC? Got any pictures of this or other theatres in the area?
Mark, I would like to contact you to learn more… Are you in LA now?
I don’t recall recall the so-called insider stating flat out that the National was definitely going to be demolished. I recall him making many snide remarks of his own, repeatedly calling attention to himself with claims about knowing things we didn’t, but he wasn’t saying anything constructive, only shooting down everything else. His condescending tone didn’t lend him much credibility. And if he knew it all why didn’t he say anything about the closing on October 7? Some people may have dropped everything and run over there for one last movie.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but at least I have made a constructive effort in contacting three major draftouse/grill theatre chains, and several industry and media news outlets to call attention to the National.
Let me repeat, one more time: Regardless of the outcome, I’d rather be able to say I tried something rather than just sit around and talk about how impossible and hopeless it all is.
Howard, I’m curious, where do you live? Not all of us believed the National was saved when it was reopened. It’s been written here and elsewhere some time ago that there was a great suspicion, and I believe it was said that a 26 year old manager was a good indication that the theatre’s days were numbered. I don’t think many of us actually believed it was actually saved.
No one has said the National was being gutted. Yet. Things are being removed. It is very common for a developer to try to deface or destroy a property so there is nothing left to protect. Case in point: Indian Hills Theatre in Omaha.
Declaring the National hopeless is not a constructive statement. Today four people decided it had enough merit to consider. A chance is a chance. Let’s proceed calmly and deal with the matter at hand.
Howard, I am not interested in debating that with you. All I know is what I was told years ago by someone directly involved in the Dome issue. Maybe things have changed in the past few years. Right now I’m more interested in seeing what we can do to assist Charlie’s efforts, because he clearly knows what he’s doing.
I have a report that Charlie Fisher made an impressive presentation, and that the Cultural heritage commission voted unanimously to consider the National for designation as a culturally historic building. The demolition may be temporarily halted, but the owners have already begun to strip away the interior of the theatre. This is at best a temporary reprieve, so this is when efforts to show support should accelerate. The theatre’s fate lies in the commissioner’s hands for the moment, so letters to them could stil count for something.
Have to agree with you there. Some of the rooms in the landmark gave me a “what the F—K were they thinking?” feeling.
When the Dome was in danger, I was told by the man who won a fight to save it, that landmark protection in LA would last only a year.
I suppose the theatres torn down many years ago, like the Carthay Circle perhaps, of architecture that was no older then than the National’s is now, weren’t considered old or “historic” enough, either.
People don’t learn.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Maybe.
Agreed. I imagine a time machine back to the Roadshow era would be very popular among our crowd.
A somewhat more realistic fantasy is one I have of building a cluster of beautiful private theatres like Theo Kalomirakis does, and being able to program them with classic showmanship and presentation. More on that topic coming elsewhere…
I wasn’t suggesting a wealthy man, Tevye. ; ) Disney paid for those renovations to get showcases for their product. And we know some of us have been hoping Warners would do the same for the Warner Hollywood Pacific, but what Disney did with those theatres is obviously a rare case.
As for drawing an audience, Like the National, The El Capitan is a single screen theatre with no adjacent parking in an evolving neighborhood. Disney manages to draw an audience to the El Capitan largely BECAUSE it is a unique showplace, and they apply enough showmanship to keep it that way.
I drew no parallels between the National and Seattle.
People seem to have forgotten that the Cinerama Dome would no longer exist in its current form had it not been for one man leading a fight to save it. And it was not the petitions, nor the letters, nor all the public support that saved it. As much as Pacific likes to pat themselves on the back for “preserving” the Dome, the fact is they didn’t give a damn about the public outcry and fully intended to render the Dome interior unrecognizable, with a flat screen where the seats are, stadium seats where the screen is, and a fastfood restaurant in the lobby. But they also wanted a few million from the city to build their parking structure.
The only thing that stopped Pacific from ruining the Dome was this one man. He informed the city that if they gave Pacific the money for the parking structure, he would sue the city for not following their own guidlines to fully designate the Dome as a landmark. It qualified as a landmark inside and out, but, for some reason, they chose not to protect the interior.
Because the proposed lawsuit would have halted $10-11 million for their parking garage, Pacific agreed to specific stipulations to protect the Dome, and agreed to meet with Cinerama experts, who suggested equipping the place for Cinerama in the 3 portals that were already there in the booth. They also recommended a proper louvered screen for better contrast, and relocating the standard projector to the rear of the mezzanine to eliminate the horizon sag keystone distortion in the picture. Pacific chose not to follow all the suggested guidelines, and that’s why they have a dim distorted picture on a low-gain sheet screen.
But without that one man, the Dome as we know it today would not exist.
And yes, there are two Cinerama movies in Warner’s library. Pacific owns the rest of them. There were new 3 strip prints struck of 2 features, (NOT restorations) WB took good care of theirs, which is why HTWWW is the best looking Cinerama film you can see today.