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Davebozooka, this theater had a balcony. When I saw a movie in 1997, the management intended the balcony to be closed, but I asked if I could sit in it, and they quickly said ok.
When it closed later in 1997, I recall reading a news article saying it opened in the 1920’s.
I have a 556 seat count, but that could be inaccurate. My seat totals may not add up, but in the balcony, I counted 7 rows of 4 seats, then 12, then 7. There was a wood rail there. I record that the orchestra had 2 sections, one of 24 rows of 11, and one of 13 rows of 5, and that the seats were numbered and red. There was a stage. There was no use of a curtain. There were no slides. I estimated the screen at about 25 feet wide, and believed it to be very well placed in the auditorium so there was a great view from the balcony. There was an old chandelier in the lobby. There was a metal stairway with a pattern that I drew looking like a cross going into a circle.
The news article indicated it had ALWAYS been a cinema since the 1920’s.
The Ben Hur presentation sounds wonderful! Realize, though, it might be that these movies were too long to include the commercials.
Thanks for the Gladiator attendence, but I don’t expect much during M to Thursday, and have nothing to compare. How’s Ben Hur doing during those days?
I’ve learned a lot volunteering to get a film program at Philadelphia’s Boyd when it reopens, and one thing is that it doesn’t cost much to get a new lens cut for the projector, to show the film in the correct aspect ratio. Since they showed Metropolis correctly at the Ziegfeld in 2002, they SHOULD already have the lens sitting in a box. We found many lens at the Sameric (the Boyd’s name when it closed), whole boxes full, so they likely have this at the Ziegfeld. Lens are particular to each auditorium, as Vito indicates above. Of course, “should” doesn’t always happen, so we will see soon.
Let’s be constructive! Dear CLEARVIEW: Singin in the Rain has different dimensions than new films. New films are scope, so 2.35 wide as high, or flat which is 1.85 wide as high. Movies before 1953 are 1.33, like television sets before new wide screen ones. That means a different lens for the movie projectors.
One of my greatest pleasures of moviegoing was enjoying the restored 1927 Metropolis at the Ziegfeld in 2002, so I know it has been done before. If Clearview is presenting classics at the Chelsea, presumably they are projecting them in the right dimensions there.
A few years I enjoyed a double bill of Signin in the Rain and An American in Paris at the Paris theater.
ok, now what I’d like to know is whether there has been a big turnout for Braveheart and Gladiator.
Kudos again to Clearview for the classics! Do try to accomodate intermissions, and try to get 70 MM prints in the future, but know we love the Ziegfeld and thank you for keep presenting movies, new and vintage, there!
ok, red curtain is a cliche. yes, gold, yes, my mistake.
Adreco, there’s a red curtain, and a transparent white curtain. The prior operator, Cineplex Odeon, would open the red curtain first, and then would open the white curtain while the film title came on. I liked that practice. I suppose they probably had closed them both after the trailers, but I don’t recall exactly.
Clearview opens them at the same time, with the white one seen separately, but not really separately used.
If they have time for intermissions and still have the number of showings they wish to present for intermissions, then they should do the intermissions. These epic films had them originally. That’s the right presentation, would help with restroom breaks, and increase concession stands. \
Yes, the building survives. You can see the exterior of the auditorium from outside.
Of course, I meant to say “no blank screen ever."
Regardless, more classics!
Somebody will tell me if I am wrong, but my understanding is you should never have a screen to look at unless the movie or another image (previews, etc.) are on it. The curtain should remain closed during the overture. That’s more important to me than the amount of light. No blank curtain ever.
From the New York Times:
‘HOLD EVERYTHING’ OPENS NEW THEATRE; Walker and Mayor Mackey of
Philadelphia Speak at Ceremonies in the Hollywood. NEW FILM IS COLORFUL
Based on Musical Comedy of Same Name—Old and New Pictures Show
By MORDAUNT HALL.
Published: April 23, 1930
With brief addresses from Mayor Walker of this city and Mayor Mackey
of Philadelphia, the Warner Brothers' ornamental and wonderfully
comfortable new Hollywood Theatre, at Broadway and Fifty-first
Street, was opened last night.
There were a number of notables in the orchestra seats and they
received an opportunity to study the great strides made in the motion
picture business since the film “The Kiss” was produced some thirty
years ago and also flashes of other old-time films, such as “The
Great Train Robbery.” It was tremendously interesting to observe the
steady improvement in these shadow offerings, particularly when
Giovanni Martinelli appeared eventually on the screen with other
singers rendering in an inspiring fashion an aria from “Aida.”
The feature of the evening was the audible pictorial version of “Hold
Everything,” which aroused many a wave of laughter. The principals in
this ludicrous turns of events are the ever-amusing Joe E. Brown,
whose willingness to take punishment helped in affording no little
merriment; Winnie Lightner, who did so well in the picture “Gold
Diggers of Broadway”; Sally O'Neil; Bert Roach, who does not get
quite the opportunity he deserves; the fair Dorothy Revier, and
Georges Carpentier, who, after seeing Maurice Chevalier, appears to
have been fortunate in making the screen his second vocation, for as
a performer he is at his best when he is in the prize ring and not
when he is discussing sweet nothings with pretty girls.
It is a gusty affair, this “Hold Everything,” with a funny pugilistic
encounter in which Mr. Brown is one of the fighters. The Technicolor
effects in these scenes are especially good, most of them being in focus.
Mr. Brown figures as Gink Schiner, who does not object to being
mistaken for a champion pugilist. He is, however, wary enough to
avoid imbibing the drugged drink!
Mr. Brown as Gink Schiner has his periods of pain, which, of course,
afford pleasure to those in the plush seats. At one juncture he finds
himself in a reducing cabinet and apparently is in great distress
when the lever of the cabinet is jammed. Schiner seems at first to be
trying to expire cheerfully, but subsequently the heat of the cabinet
is too much for him and he becomes exhausted and is unable to keep
his head above the aperture.
Gink’s mouth is likened to a cavern and one is constrained to believe
that this is an apt description. This capacious mouth gives him an
opportunity to express his mirth, his fear and his confidence in the
ring. M. Carpentier may be the real fighter of this production, but
Mr. Brown keeps the fun going to such extent that one would perhaps
sooner see him trying to make the best of a bad bargain in a
pugilistic encounter than gaze upon M. Carpentier’s more serious
The Frenchman has to take on the champion, Bob Morgan, who is
credited with dismissing his opponents in one or two rounds,
according to his wont. Georges Carpentier, to afford suspense, has to
permit Morgan to have the best of the fight for a few minutes, but
finally Carpentier turns the tables on his adversary and rains blows
upon him until the erstwhile champion is groggy.
Dorothy Revier acts the placid and graceful Norine Lloyd, who is in
love with Georges La Verne (M. Carpentier). She wants to give Georges
a present, and as he happens to be the Beau Brummel of prizefighters,
she can’t think of anything more appropriate than a beautiful
bathrobe. Norine does not know that Georges is much interested in the
brunette, Sue Burke, whom he has known since he was a little boy.
Miss Burke is played by Sally O'Neill.
So long as Mr. Brown occupies the screen this picture is funny, but
when it delves into romance the interest wanes. There are some
pleasing songs and Miss Lightner does her share in her own way to
enliven the episodes in which she appears.
HOLD EVERYTHING, with Joe E. Brown, Winnie Lightner, Sally O'Neil,
Dorothy Revier, Georges Carpentier, Bert Roach, Edmund Breese, Jack
Curtis, Tony Stabenau, Lew Harvey and Jimmie Quinn, based on the
musical comedy of the same name, directed by Roy Del Ruth, with music
and lyrics by Ray Henderson and Lew Brown. At the Hollywood Theatre.
These are all true classics and excellent choices!
I see a comment above about Philadelphia’s Boyd, a former 3 strip Cinerama house, being restored. It won’t have the orchestra booths to project Cinerama, but the historic movie palace will survive! www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org
We found some Cinerama sound equipment tossed into old storage space. There was an old, not too exciting Windjammer poster, and I’m not sure if it was tossed. It was on the floor and not too clean. And, a ticket price sign for This is Cinerama, which we have for exhibit of the Boyd’s history.
I have an ad from New York Times for Columbia Pictures 75th Anniversary Film Fetival, with my own note that it played the Dome. This series was more recent than above. On other side, a revie of Message in a Bottle.
Lawrence of Arabia (70mm!)
Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider
It Happened One Night and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Bridge of the River Kwai
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Tootsie
Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind -DTS (Definitive Director’s Cut)
From Here to Eternity and On the Waterfront
To clarify, the true Cinerama screen is gone from the Uptown. However, as I said, the Uptown offers the best possibility for Cinerama in the east coast. LA & Seattle venues are in daily moviehouses, which I doubt the Mayfair-Demille-Embassy 2-3-4 will become again. Cinerama is only presented for a few weeks at most in those W. Coast cities. The Uptown could put the screen back, open up the A & C booths again, bring back projectors & sound. No other daily moviehouse has the infrastructure of 3 booths.
The KB Cinema’s 35-70 mm projectors are at the Loew’s Jersey.
I’ve spoken at length with the projectionist in the Uptown booth. Cinerama requires a special screen. of thin strips if I recall correctly. It has been replaced. The current screen may be Cinerama sized, but that’s different. Of course, putting up a Cinerama screen would be relatively easy in the space that had it before, as opposed to at the Ziegfeld.
Last I knew, Uptown’s best projection over the Friday to Sunday period, with professional projectionist. They were having a controversy over a platter that had arrived- and that’s long after
platters arrived in most other movie theaters.
The sound has some surround from the back, but overall is usually loud enough. I’ve never seen poor projection there or found the sound wasn’t loud enough. The Uptown is a magnificient movie going experience. Restored or new prints, I’ve seen there the 70 mm epics people want at the Ziegfeld: Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur, Dr. Zhivago, 2001, and more. Truly incredible on the huge screen!
The Ziegfeld’s screen probably isn’t small, but somehow it is the original design of the house that makes it look that way. It is almost certainly bigger than the old KB Cinema on Wisconsin Avenue in DC, but that one was set better and always seemed bigger. However, the Ziegfeld is a neat venue because of its decoration. It has excellent sound, but the Astor Plaza had even better.
Mr. O'Connor, that’s great news! I didn’t turn in my white card asking for more films, because I was going to think about it and turn in if I attend later.
I’d like to see the film MASH, having not seen it on the big screen.
And, whereas I’ve already seen the first three James Bond films from the early 1960’s, I would like to see the others from the 1960’s and early 1970’s.
And, like many others on this page, I am a fan of 70 mm and would especially like to see the restored Dr. Zhivago, and the restored Spartacus prints in 70 mm. I would consider seeing many other titles in 70 mm, and expect you will see more mentioned below.
THANK YOU for all your good work. I also want to say that the staff at the Ziegfeld is especially nice to customers.
They read the above comments about the old My Fair Lady print they received, and about our wanting 70 mm prints.
They did use the curtain as I wrote above for The Godfathers. Did they not keep using it for My Fair Lady & West Side Story?
As to commericials, I expect few among us relish them but most will gladly accept them if that’s the price to pay to keep the Ziegfeld open.
Bill, was this additional West Side Story yesterday that you attended? A Valentine Day crowd? Except for the part about people talking, how neat!
I’ve put a few of my own photos from last month here:
I took photos of details like ornate exit signs, small sconces, etc. but would rather post items less likely to walk out of the theater during slow times.
I wasn’t able to photo nicely the ornate chair end. Perhaps somebody else could.
The Uptown in Washington DC still runs movies. Its two side Cinerama booths have been closed, but still exist. It no longer has a Cinerama screen, but one could be put in. That may be the best East Coast possibility for Cinerama.
I don’t know if there’s room for a massive Cinerama screen in the Ziegfeld and as Ed says, projection capacity may or may not be possible.
“Independent films” don’t sound like a recipe for success at the Mayfair. I’d love to see that house (which I haven’t been in) become a theater and host some films, though given NYC prices, it may more likely be demolished for real estate.
Now as to classic films at the Ziegfeld, whatever is available in 70 MM and 35 MM prints is possible and realistic (if enough audience shows up) and that should make all of our hearts warm!
Films! Feburary 16 Rebel without a Cause, on the 17th, Malcolm X, on the 18th, “Looney Tunes” and on the 19th In Cold Blood. See official website for times and more information.
Hollywood Theatre. No need to reply.
I was never there, but wrote a letter to help. From the photos, I found thrilling the marquee and sign. Looks like the sign mostly survived? Does it ever light up?
The marquee and front of the theater, however, no longer resembles its fantastic old self. Does it light up at all? What a shame that for advertising and so people could continue to enjoy them, the fabulous marquee and sign couldn’t have saved. As is, this doesn’t seem enough of a victory for preservationists.
Looking at the interior photos, must have been a terrific place to see a movie.
Sorry, it didn’t reproduce correctly above. The ad doesn’t say what appears in the last line above.
At the bottom of the ad on left it says “AMC Experience the Difference” and on the right it says “Loews Cineplex”
In the Philadelphia Inquirer movie ads today, listed as AMC Loews Cherry 24. And, there’s an ad (5.5" wide, 3" high) that says
Loews to the family!
Combining two respected names nto one.
Experience the Difference Cineplex
On Sunday, a Time Out film critic tried to speak before both The Godfather and Part II, both of which I attended. Each time within a few minutes into his remarks, the audience yelled out that they just wanted the movie, not to hear him! I’ve never seen an audience do that in Philadelphia or elsewhere, but I guess New Yorkers can be tough.
Also, although when he was Clearview District Manager, Joe Masher replied on ths site, I don’t know if anybody from Clearview is reading it. So, I’d encourage anybody with a complaint about film quality to write a letter to Clearview corporate HQ (you can Internet search or ask the Ziegfeld staff)about the quality of My Fair Lady print or any other print problems. Promise them more audience if they advertize “restored” or “new” print. Don’t assume they know anything, maybe they are new managers. They do care about bottom line, so if they think they will get more audience by getting the right print, they may try.