Showing 226 - 238 of 238 comments
If my memory serves me correctly, Budco Theatres purchased the William Goldman Theatre Co. Budco operated many suburban theatres in the Philadelphia and surrounding counties. However, they did not operate any center city theatres until they purchased Goldman theatres. Budco was eventually purchased by AMC Theatres. The Randolph Theatres was converted to Cinerama in 1967. It’s first Cinerama film I believe was “Grand Prix.” It also played “Ice Station Zebra” and “2001.” I believe the Cinerama Screen was still in the theatre when it closed with the roadshow engagement of “Tora, Tora, Tora.”
One of my first visits to the Rivoli Theatre was to see the 70MM reissue engagement of “Gone With The Wind.” Stupendous is the only word to describe the theatre and my first viewing of GWTW. This was truly a motion picture palace. Anyone today who has only been to the movies at the megaplexes has not been to the movies! To anyone who attended the movies at the palaces, those days will always be missed. On visits to New York City, walking past 1620 Broadway, I remember what it used to be. Same with the Capital, up the street. Some day, more people will regret the demoltions that we allowed to happen in “the name of progress.”
Another great movie palace permitted to be demolished. For many years I would walk past this theatre on my way to the Stanley, Boyd, Goldman, Midtown, or Randolph. The Fox did not play any of the 70mm films until near the end of it’s existence. I did see “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and “Superman 1” at the Fox. Only then did I appreciate what I had been walking past all those years before. Having visited the theatre during its “pre-demolition sale” I have in my collection a poster of “Star Trek,” a marquee letter, and piece of marble from the lobby. Again, what a waste!
Next to the Boyd/Sameric Theatre, The Stanley Theatre was probably the theatre I traveled from Lancaster to patronize the most. My first visit was in 1963 to see Liz and Richard in “Cleopatra.” When those giant silver curtains opened to reveal the stage and huge screen, anyone had to be amazed. Of course, anyone who saw “My Fair Lady” there can never forget the experience. “The Great Race,” “Camelot”, “Finian’s Rainbow”, “Hawaii” are just a few of the 70mm presentations at this true movie palace. I can still picture the mahogany paneling in the upstairs lobby. Oh what moviegoing was like back in those days! People actually went to see the movie and not chit chat, talk on their cell phones, or whatever. Bring back the Stanleys, Boyds, States, Capitols, etc. The shoebox multiplexes of today just don’t compare!
In reference to Mikeoaklandpark question above. The Cinerama Screen was installed in the early 1950’s. The Boyd showed all the original Cinerama travelogue films – “Search For Paradise”, “7 Wonders of the World.” Then later with “Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm,” “How The West Was Won”, “Mad World,” “Circus World”, “Hallelujah Trail”. Then in the late 1960’s the Randolph Theatre was converted to the one projector Cinerama process. That theatre presented “Grand Prix”, “Ice Station Zebra” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The Cinerama screen remained in the Randolph till the theatres demolition. However, when Sameric took over the Boyd
Theatre in 1971, the curved Cinerama Screen which extended out past the side exits on either side of the stage, was removed. I would love to see pictures of the installation of the Cinerama screen and the additional two projection booths at the Boyd when that was done. The original Cinerama process required three projectors to fill the screen. My first visit to the Boyd was to see the Cinerama traveloques.
I have been a contributor to the Save the Sameric Foundation since it first started. Even living in Lancaster, PA, about 60 miles from Center city Philadelphia, I patronized this theatre many many times. From the early Cinerama Days as a child to the roadshow films of “Ben Hur”, “Dr. Zhivago,” and the 70mm showings of “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” films. It was worth the trip. Many times making a day of it. Shopping in Wanamakers, dinner somewhere, and then the Boyd/Sameric. I have wondered why they have not used “tours of the theatre” as a fund raiser. I have not been in center city since the last “Indiana Jones” film played at this
theatre. However, to take a tour I would travel in. Also, could not a book be published of pictures and history of this theatre. It is too important not to miss out on any fund raising events. I would also attend the Stanley, Fox, Midtown, and Goldman Theatres to see the big screen film presentations. They are all gone now, sadly missed by any true film/theatre fan.
This is a true gem in Central Penna. Have traveled there many times from Lancaster, Pa since it’s restoration. The sound system is better than any other theatre in the area. The screen is one of the largest. Would rather drive the 25 miles to see certain films – “Star Wars”, “Titanic”, “Chicago”,“The Patriot”, “Cold Mountain” Etc. – at this theatre than drive 2 miles to the local multiplex of shoebox theatres! A member of the staff, many times the owner, actually stands in front of the auditorium to welcome everyone and to kindly let them know if your enjoyment of the film is hampered in any way! This is what movie-going is all about!
The Marieta Theatre has been closed for many years now. It is still standing and from the outside looks like it could reopen. A few years ago someone was interested in reopening the theatre. There was supposedly a survey done to see what the interest would be in patronizing the reopened location. However, nothing ever came of it. Consequently this small town in Lancaster County along the Susquehanna River has no local theatre. For it’s last few years of operation it was playing subruns with an occasional special night of silent films complete with live organ music. However, if the theatre would ever reopen, the seats should be replaced. From our last few visits I do not think there was one seat left with any springs in it. I would bet they are the original seats!
I saw “2001” for the first time at Loew’s Capitol on June 1, 1968. I saw it a second time at the Warner Cinerama on Oct. 4, 1968. When the Warner closed on Feb. 8, 1987, New York City no longer had a theatre capable of Cinerama projection.
I am not a New York City resident. However, I had been in the Capitol Theatre twice in visits to the “Big Apple.” My last time was to see “2001”. What a marvelous theatre. Its demolition was a loss to NYC. I would have enjoyed seeing the theatre as it was originally designed. Years later, sitting in the nondescript, boring, and plain Gershwin Broadway Theatre I realized that is close to where the Capitol was located. Whatever developer, architect, designer came up with the idea to replace the Capitol with the Gershwin should have their license revoked!
Also the King Theatre was ahead of its time. There was no balcony to the theatre. However on the upper level where the projection room was located, there was a “theatre party room.” Back when I was in elementary school, my parents surprised me with a birthdy party in that room. We watched the movie “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from that room after the party. There was also a “Mother’s Room”. Parents could take their “unsettled” children to that room so they did not disturb the audience. But they could also see and hear the movie from that room. Even better than today with the popularity of “mom’s matinees.”
I failed to mention the theatre was converted to Cinemiracle for a reserved seat engagement of the film “Windjammer”. The large screen was removed after the engagement. In Jan. 1981 the theatre operation was taken over by Angstadt and Wolfe. The theatre policy changed periodically from reduced admission reruns to occasional first runs. However, on May 2, 1982 the theatre was closed and put up for sale. It was eventually sold to the local Housing Development Authority and converted to apartments for the elderly. The facade and marqee still are there. But the theatre building itself now has windows for the apartments.
The King Theatre was at 419 E. King St. and opened in 1950. It had 1,350 seats when it opened. When Cinemascope was added about 100 seats were removed. The theatre was twinned in 1971 and each theatre had about 525 seats. It was called the King Twin theatre. The Comet Drive In was located West of Lancaster and was sold and demolished in 1979. The SkyVue Drive in was East of Lancaster and was sold and demolished in 1981. Leahad operated ten theatres in Camp Hill, Pa., Lebanon, PA., Steelton, PA., Mt. Joy,PA., Lititz,PA., and Elizabethtown, PA. In addition they operated the Strand Theatre in Lancaster which was a subrun theatre located on Manor St. This theatre opened in 1910 as a nickelodeon. Was used for boxing in the 1920’s. The theatre was closed in the early 1960’s and stood empty for a number of years. Was torn down in 1964 and the land has even since been a parking lot. The four theatres mentioned by someone else were all located in the 100 block of North Queen Street in Downtown Lancaster. The Capital (Hippodrome), Grand, and Hamilton Theatres were operated by Stanley Warner. The Boyd (Colonial) was operated by the early Shapiro Co. that became the Sameric Chain if I remember correctly. All four of these theatres were torn down in the late 1960’s in the name of “urban redevelopment.”