Memories

  • April 7, 2010

    Recalling Chicago’s Southtown Theatre

    CHICAGO, IL — Even after over fifty years since it showed its last film, the Southtown evokes fond memories of its opulence from those who recall this former Englewood neighborhood landmark. The building housed a department store for for twenty-seven years after its closing as a theater with many theatrical details intact. This Rapp & Rapp gem was demolished in 1991. Here’s a reminiscence, with a picture, that recently appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

    For 27 years, residents in the Englewood neighborhood experienced that luxury and watched features like “Gone With the Wind.” Today, more than a half century after the Southtown closed, they can only conjure up memories since a discount grocery store stands at 610 W. 63rd St.

    The stucco-covered, Spanish-style movie house designed by the theatrical architecture firm Rapp & Rapp opened on Christmas Day 1931. It was run by Balaban & Katz, which owned several other theaters in the city, but the Southtown was one of its largest, with a capacity of 3,200, and arguably its most special.

  • March 16, 2010

    Walking Memory Lane: The lost theaters of Jackson, MI

    JACKSON, MI — For a town the size of Jackson, a look back at its cinema history reveals that it once had a significant number of theaters. A recent article looks back at them with a special focus on the lost Capitol Theatre.

    It stung when The Capitol closed in 1973, but the article and their memory of that night out spurred the Ahronheim brothers to try and save the building two years later when it was purchased by Jackson County and slated for demolition to create a parking lot for employees at the Tower Building next door.

    Though they were unsuccessful and the building came down in September 1975, the brothers rallied about 40 people in the Save the Capitol Theatre Committee, which wanted to preserve the building as an arts and cultural center. One of the members was Jackson’s Gerry Blanchard, a director, drama teacher and active member of the Jackson Civic Theater, Clark Lake Players and Rosier Players.

    The article, from MLive is here.

  • March 12, 2010

    Projectionists needed for documentary on 42nd St Cinemas of the 70s/80s

    Wildeye Releasing is currently producing a documentary on the cinemas of 42nd St, NY during the 1970s and 80s. We are looking to interview any projectionist, ticket taker or candy stand attendee who worked any of the theaters on 42nd St located between 7th and 8th Avenue.

    We are slowly putting this documentary together, three major interviews with filmmakers and an actor who’s work was shown on the Deuce are already in the can.

    You can contact or if you’re interested in telling your story or sharing your memories. Feel free to visit our website www.wildeyereleasing.com.

    (Thanks to rmlgonzales for providing the photo.)

  • Cineamercia Theaters: What became of this chain???

    What ever happened years back with Warner Brothers join theater chain venture with Gulf and Western known as Cineamerica? Did it ever get off the ground?

  • March 11, 2010

    Past life as a theater still evident in Brooklyn drugstore

    BROOKLYN, NY — So often when a former theater is converted to retail, all traces of its past life are covered up or are obliterated. But an exception is what used to be the Meserole Theater in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn. A recent photo essay in the Huffington Post takes the reader on a tour of the drugstore that occupies what was the Meserole and pictures show its history and the theatrical details that remain.

    Though it looks small from the front, the theater was actually quite large, accommodating 2,000 people on ground level and balcony seating. Here, a bird’s eye view from above shows its full size – the main entrance is beside the white truck in the upper right corner, which leads to the theater building on Lorimer.

    The theater was named after the Meserole family, who were among the first settlers in the area. In fact, the original farmhouse may have been torn down to accommodate the theater, which is built on former Meserole land – Forgotten-NY speculates that this may explain the inclusion of cattle skulls in the exterior design work.

    The full story is here in the Huffington Post.

  • Performance inquiry

    Hi,

    I would like to find information about the Huggie Boy Dance Show that I appeared on in 1975 at the Sinbad Theatre/Herco International Sen’s Club in Montebello, California. Was wondering if there is any way to obtain copies of this show. I am willing to purchase or you can perhaps place me in contact with someone who might be able to help me find these great relics..

    Thanks,
    Jack

  • March 3, 2010

    Happy 45th, “The Sound Of Music”

    [This is a revised and updated version of an article published in 2005 to commemorate the film’s 40th anniversary.]

    THE SOUND OF MONEY:
    CELEBRATING THE 45TH ANNIVERSARY OF “THE SOUND OF MUSIC”

    By Michael Coate

    So you’re impressed with the box-office performance of AVATAR, eh? Never before has a movie made so much money so quickly? Well, flash back a few decades and consider another movie that rocked the industry.

    Never mind that THE GODFATHER and THE EXORCIST grossed $100 million. Never mind that JAWS grossed $200 million. Forget the umpteen times you returned to see STAR WARS, helping propel its original box-office performance close to $300 million. Forget the $350 million E.T. made. And ignore the $600 million amassed by TITANIC. Before all of those spectacular feats there was another motion picture that brought in huge sums of money from the get-go and spawned an insane amount of repeat business. The movie in question was THE SOUND OF MUSIC, the beloved film production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical which in turn was based upon the real-life adventures of the von Trapp family and the German films DIE TRAPP-FAMILIE (1956) and DIE TRAPP-FAMILIE IN AMERIKA (1958). The award-winning 1965 film performed as a blockbuster before the industry knew just what a blockbuster was.

    So…whether you believe the hills are alive with the sound of music or alive with the sound of mucus, I hope you’ll take a moment to enjoy this look back at the original exhibition history of THE SOUND OF MUSIC on the occasion of its 45th anniversary. Included herein will be references to hundreds of “Cinema Treasures” from a bygone era. I predict reading this will conjure up memories of when and where you saw the film for the first time (and the second time… and the third…).

  • March 2, 2010

    Recalling the movie-going history of Pueblo

    PUEBLO, CO — In a recent article in the Pueblo Chieftain, reporter Amy Matthew spotlights the cinema history of this Colorado city. The article includes pictures and reminiscences, and also mentions some the promotional practices theater owners used over the years.

    In “Night Lights,” Thomason described the 1,500-seat Colorado Theater, which opened in 1926. It is still located inside the Colorado Building on Main Street:

    “The Colorado boasted a 35-foot high electric sign with large white letters, four chandeliers with 600 crystals, and all-leather seats. The organ chamber was (as you face the stage) in the front-left part of the theater, covered with a grille; the right-front of the theater was a mural (designed to look identical to the grille) painted by local artist J. Charles Schnorr. The stage curtain was fireproof asbestos; a Turkish scene was painted over the stage and included a prayer to Allah in Turkish.”

  • February 26, 2010

    Happy 20th, Goodfellas!!!

    Later this year, after Martin Scorsese’s new film “Shutter Island” comes and goes at the movies and comes out on Blu-ray and DVD, it will be 20 years since his hit movie “Goodfellas” came out. At the time of its release, the two-and-a-half hour movie had more than 300 uses of a popular swear word, had an all star cast, and made back its $25 million budget and thrived as a popular movie on TV as well as on DVD and Bluray and VHS. The popularity of this movie spawned other mob movies of the decade, and reinvigorated the genre as a whole.

  • February 17, 2010

    Huge D.C. snowfall prompts recollections of 1922 Knickerbocker Theater tragedy

    WASHINGTON, DC — In 1922, over two feet of snow collapsed the roof of one of the District’s most palatial movie theaters, the Knickerbocker. Scores of people were killed and injured. The recent big snowfall in the nation’s capital inspired this reminiscence of the disaster from theWashington Post.

    The roof, covered with 28 inches on Jan. 28, pressed down on a faulty truss. One edge of the truss slipped off the wall and fell onto the crowd of 300 Saturday night filmgoers below. Then the entire roof — girders, beam, trusses, concrete — collapsed like a sheet cake.

    “After I fell quite a way the floor of the balcony seemed to open from under me and then I dropped through with nothing under me,” survivor George Brodie wrote to his sister a few days later. “The screams around me woke me up… . I was practically buried under plaster and pieces of the chairs. Everything was pitch dark and as soon as I could I squirmed around and crawled out into a place that reminded me of a cave.”