The Polk Theater’s Last Days

posted by Diabolik on May 18, 2006 at 6:45 am

The Village Voice is running a report about the closing of the Polk Theater:

Harold Gussin never expected that one day he’d end up running a porn theater. When he started working at the Polk, a theater in Jackson Heights, Queens, it was the late 1950s and the Polk was just a regular movie house.

But only a decade later, it was starting to show films like charscalex98 Carmen, Babcharscalex98 y, an update on the opera that was billed as “Carmen in modern undress!” And for the next 40 years, the Polk showed nine dirty films a day. The place got increasingly run-down.

By last winter, there were only five flickering bulbs above the entrance.

Comments (3)

Alton P.
Alton P. on May 18, 2006 at 8:32 pm

All films were shown using tired old VHS equipment and a CRT projector. The manager did not have the resources (or know-how) to upgrade to a DVD player and movies. To him, VHS was probably state-of-the-art technology!

I recall one VHS deck being located up in the projection room, which was used mostly for storage, filled wall-to-wall with VHS tapes, piled everywhere.

Every time a movie ended, one of the theatre employees (i.e. “security” monitors) would be sent upstairs to put in the next tape. If the manager was working alone, there would be a empty screen and a wait of several minutes, as the old man needed time to hobble upstairs to change tapes!

As for the box office cashier “Paola” (formerly “Paolo”, no doubt), I honestly thought that she was a drag queen! That was one ugly broad, with a snippy attitude to match.

That whole place was a nightmare â€" facilities, management, staffing, customers…

RobertR
RobertR on May 19, 2006 at 2:33 am

I knew him very well and the way he ran his theatres (he used to own the Austin & Hewlett) would make a great movie. Believe me he has resources he got mucho rich in the salad days of porn.

Agent86
Agent86 on May 22, 2006 at 12:09 pm

That story in the Village Voice is fantastic. Should be a movie.

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