September 1, 2006
A Movie Man’s Lament
Back some time, more than a century ago,
Edison came up with what we now call a picture show.
He worked and he worked to make still pictures move
And started a NEW art that would never hang in the Louvre
He filmed people doing things like kissing and walking,
and the people were thrilled though they never heard talking
These moving pictures were miraculous to behold,
and people loved the nickelodeons, so daring and bold
Then some enterprising showmen got into the act,
and said we’ll tell stories on film, both fiction and fact!
August 25, 2006
Houston Theater Memories
by William Burge
My name is Bill Burge I am a Native Houstonian. When I was ten years old, my Dad, Robert Burge, had to go on a weekend trip to Downtown Houston. He took me past the Majestic Theater on Rusk Ave near Walker St. I noticed the big Majestic Theater marquee sign out front read in big bold letters marked, “STAGECOACH”, all star cast.
Below the marquee sign had Norman Rockwell paintings of each star in the film- showing- RED BUTTONS- MIKE CONNERS-ALEX CORD- BOB CUMMINGS- BING CROSBY- VAN HEFLIN- ANN MARGRET- SLIM PICKENS- STEPHANIE POWERS- KEENAN WYNN.
August 21, 2006
AURORA, IL — An ex-employee recounts her memories of working at the Paramount Theatre.
It was 1971 when I started my first job at the Paramount Theater. I had heard through mutual friends that the Paramount needed a candy girl, so I applied. I was 16 at the time and earned $1 an hour.
Our manager was Mr. Rudolph Zurklebach. He was a big promoter of the Paramount and Tivoli Theaters and of downtown Aurora. He would call in to WMRO radio station and request that Petula Clark’s song, Downtown, be played. There were fliers at the local restaurants promoting the latest film.
For more, read the full story in Suburban Chicago News.
In Los Angeles, there were a half dozen movie theaters near the intersection of Washington and Vermont. I believe the area had something to do with film distribution.
None of the theaters are there now although one or two of the buildings may have been converted to other uses. Does anyone remember any of these theaters or the film business activities in the area?
August 15, 2006
Did anybody see the NY Times obit of Ken Richmond? He was the guy who struck the gong at the opening of J. Arthur Rank films. Had a heart attack at 80. Almost as sad was the revelation that the gong was actually made of papier-mache and, “if you hit that gong, you would have gone straight through.” There are some things you just don’t want to know. Anyway, RIP Ken Richmond.
July 27, 2006
Here are a few I knew in the 40’s & 50’s that I didn’t find on the Michigan list.
1)The Cinema, a small art house on a side street across Woodward from The Fox. “Red Shoes” played there for a year.
2)The Art. I believe it was near Eastwood Park and the one time I passed it, around 1948, it was playing “Wiener Melodien,” a musical in German.
3)The Harper, a neighborhood house on the avenue of the same name
4)The Paradise. I only knew this one as a church but it must have been a theater. It was on Woodward on the same side and within a few blocks of The Fox.
July 21, 2006
AUBURN, NY — A column in the Auburn Citizen discusses the former theaters of that region:
In my last column, I stated that the Burtis Grand on North Street, which had been closed, reopened as a movie theater and was renamed the Capitol. In became Auburn’s fourth motion picture theater, all of which were in the downtown area. It was not a Schine theater as were the other three – Strand, Jefferson and Palace.
A friend of mine, Frank (Chich) Locastro, was a projectionist at the Capitol, and I would occasionally visit him in the projection booth where we would chat between reel changes.
Please visit, the Auburn Citizen site for the rest of the story.
July 20, 2006
The Riverside Brookfield Landmark just published an insightful piece on the history of movie theaters in the West Chicago Suburbs:
Brookfield’s first movie theater opened in 1907, when the Ideal Entertainment Company began showing “Moving pictures — more and better than ever before,” at 25 cents for adults, and 15 cents for children. This first theater was at Melville Hall, 8865 Burlington Blvd.
Eight years later, in 1915, the Brookfield Theater, later known as the Strand, was showing movies and live vaudeville acts at around the same price. When the theater, located in the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard, closed during the winter of 1952-53, the quarter-dollar admission price still stood firm.
For the full story, please visit the Riverside Brookfield Landmark.
June 23, 2006
BROCKPORT, NY — The Lyric Theater opened and showed motion pictures on the ground floor of the Winslow Block in downtown Brockport in 1907. It moved to the second floor and changed its name to Strand in 1916. In 1946, it was remodeled to occupy the entire building and added a modernist facade.
As next year is its centennial, I am trying to find out where it ranks agewise among continuously-operating motion picture theaters, especially in New York State.
I would appreciate any reports of older, continuously-operating movie theaters.
June 14, 2006
I was in New York City in 1974, on Broadway, and there was a round theatre, and I was under the impression the auditorium was underground. It was playing the “Exorcist”.
I remember seeing very long lines totally around this theatre and I think the name of this theatre was the Paramount, however I can not find it listed. Can anyone update my memory of what this theatre actually was, and if it is listed here?
Thanks in advance for all your help.