Comments from Al Alvarez

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Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Colony Theatre on Mar 13, 2007 at 11:05 pm

Stage, this would have been either Wynwood or Allapattah, most likely the latter. I show the Strand closed in the mid fifties and may served a blak community displaced by 1-95 eminient domain.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Hollywood Theatre on Mar 13, 2007 at 9:49 am

Going back to my post of April 19, 2006, there was an Avenue A theatre on 51 Avenue A already showing movies by 1918 and still going in 1923. I propose either there were two Avenue A theatres or the Hollywood and the Avenue A were not the same.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about New York Theatre on Feb 28, 2007 at 11:44 pm

Ed, I can’t find any proof that this sight was ever operating as that although it may very well have done so as a porn site.

It is also quite possible that the Big Apple named the screens Cine-1 and Cine-2 once you went inside. This was not rare in the mini cinema era.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about New York Theatre on Feb 28, 2007 at 10:44 am

HARD TO KILL and THE ROOKIE played first run at the City Cinema West Side (aka Agee, Cine, Show Follies).

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 on Feb 23, 2007 at 3:58 pm

My understanding is that as distributors starting buying stakes back into exhibition in the early 80’s the government looked the other way and the Reagan administration eventually eliminated any remaining constraints for vertical integration in the entertainment business, making the Viacoms and Time Warners of the world possible.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Doll Theater on Jan 30, 2007 at 12:25 pm

I think this was a converted storefront and possibly also the illusive Frisco.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Roxy Theatre on Jan 29, 2007 at 10:37 pm

mjc, the Marquee magazine anniversary issue mentioned in previous posts does include a shot of the projectors.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Oscar Time! on Jan 28, 2007 at 11:22 pm

I have seen AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. It has an important message but I don’t think it is a particularly good film. As a visual educator and entertainment medium, HAPPY FEET did a much better job in sending the same message.

The Oscars should be about good filmmaking, not content. Movie history is littered with politically incorrect films, some good, some not so good. The Oscars have been quite good at rewarding good filmmaking even when the film was not politically balanced for the times. This has resulted in controversy over films such as THE DEER HUNTER, HEARTS AND MINDS, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, JULIA and FAHRENHEIT 911 which upset many in their day but were rewarded anyway.

I am sure many veterans of the Great War found ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT as offensive as some will find LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. I personally recall the outrage every time Jane Fonda or Venessa Redgrave were rightfully rewarded regardless of their personal endeavors.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Oscar Time! on Jan 27, 2007 at 11:16 pm

Getting it right?

Wasn’t ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT about the poor German soldiers getting a beating in WWI?
Was THE DEER HUNTER a good message to send Vietnam veterans?
Weren’t GIGI, MY FAIR LADY, THE APARTMENT and TOM JONES promoting the exploitation of women?
Wasn’t GONE WITH THE WIND too kind to slavery?

Don’t get me wrong, I love all these movies, but I think the Oscars should be about quality achievement not politics. The Oscars would have nothing to be ashamed of if they had rewarded TRIUMPH OF THE WILL. As you inadvertently point out, everyone already knows it was the BEST PICTURE of that year anyway.

LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA is a product of Hollywood and now that it is going into wide release will ironically most likely outgross FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS.

What should have us concerned is the nomination and box office success of the Al Gore documentary AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. Why are we buying tickets for party platform power point presentations anyway?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Oscar Time! on Jan 26, 2007 at 9:06 am

I don’t understand.

The Oscars were designed as a way for studios to publicise their movies and stars. That was always their purpose.

That fact that so many years later they are still the big prize is credit to the fact they are not afraid to recognise some amazing non-Hollywood “product” (DAYS OF GLORY, VOLVER) and include some movies that count on Oscar to justify their wide runs (BABEL, PAN’S LABYRINTH) that may otherise never get noticed outside the arthouses of Manhattan and Seattle.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Joyce Theater on Jan 26, 2007 at 6:01 am

Duke, I grew up watching many of those with my family in Miami including the later Spanish films with Joselito, Marisol and Sara Montiel. If you get a chance do pick up a book called MEXICAN MOVIES IN THE UNITED STATES by Rogelio Agrasanchez, Jr.

It is full of ad copy, poster art and anecdotes from that era and was written in English.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Loew's Westchester on Jan 24, 2007 at 5:55 am

This theatre was located on Coral Way and Galloway Road.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about 167th Street Twins on Jan 22, 2007 at 11:36 pm

Yes, the Wometco was at 163rd Street.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Tribeca Cinemas on Jan 21, 2007 at 11:04 pm

Thanks LM, I now recognise this as THE SCREENING ROOM where I saw GOSFORD PARK. It had old beat-up uncomfortable seats with several missing and I felt like I was sitting in a 42nd Street dive. Although it was booked for specialised films the filthy concession stand sold pizza, of all things.

I never went back.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about RKO Alhambra Theatre on Jan 20, 2007 at 6:24 am

“When (Ethel) Waters lived in Harlem she recalled that 125th street was still a ‘white boulevard’ and that the theatres on the street were segregated. ‘Colored people could only buy seats only in the peanut gallery in B.F. Keith’s Alhambra, and none at all in the other white show houses’. “

“Despite civil rights statues in northern cities that prevented racial segregation in theatres, the laws were rarely enforced and managers evaded the law. In 1905, two African Americans sued unsuccessfully when they were not permitted to buy tickets to New York’s Circle Theatre. On another occasion black patrons who obtained orchestra tickets were prevented from sitting in the white-reserved section when the manager broke the seats and ordered them to sit in the gallery. Racial segregation in the big-time venues as well as prejudice against black performers contrasted with the circuits’ publicity which celebrated vaudeville as a ‘democratic’ entertainment open to everyone.

from VAUDEVILLE WARS by ARTHUR FRANK WERTHEIM

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Paris Theatre on Jan 20, 2007 at 6:22 am

“When (Ethel) Waters lived in Harlem she recalled that 125th street was still a ‘white boulevard’ and that the theatres on the street were segregated. ‘Colored people could only buy seats only in the peanut gallery in B.F. Keith’s Alhambra, and none at all in the other white show houses’. “

“Despite civil rights statues in northern cities that prevented racial segregation in theatres, the laws were rarely enforced and managers evaded the law. In 1905, two African Americans sued unsuccessfully when they were not permitted to buy tickets to New York’s Circle Theatre. On another occasion black patrons who obtained orchestra tickets were prevented from sitting in the white-reserved section when the manager broke the seats and ordered them to sit in the gallery. Racial segregation in the big-time venues as well as prejudice against black performers contrasted with the circuits’ publicity which celebrated vaudeville as a ‘democratic’ entertainment open to everyone."

from VAUDEVILLE WARS by ARTHUR FRANK WERTHEIM

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Rivoli Theatre on Jan 20, 2007 at 6:18 am

The American Film Institute Desk Reference also backs this up but what the hell do they know.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Rivoli Theatre on Jan 19, 2007 at 10:57 pm

Lanza was under contract to MGM and notoriously difficult to work with. He was always involved in battles at MGM with Louis B. Mayer, directors and stars. It was agreed that only his voice would be used in THE STUDENT PRINCE in order to keep him off the set and further projects at the studio. THE VAGABOND KING was a Paramount film and SEVEN HILLS OF ROME was filmed in Italy and away from the MGM lot while he was possibly already ill.

That compromise on THE STUDENT PRINCE was part of an agreement to lift an injuction against Mario Lanza by MGM for walking off the set and costing the studio a fortune.

You can find out more about the Mario Lanza battles in the Charles Higham book MERCHANT OF DREAMS: LOUIS B. MAYER, MGM AND THE SECRET HOLLYWOOD including Mayer’s purchase of the Rivoli, and eventually other United Artists theatres, in defiance of the Paramount Consent Decrees.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Paris Theatre on Jan 19, 2007 at 6:06 am

Really? Take a black friend for a drink at a Bay Ridge Bar at night.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Paris Theatre on Jan 19, 2007 at 5:22 am

I can’t imagine the owners expecting black audiences to fill the balcony of SYMPHONIE PASTORAL but perhaps the French owner thought all American theatres were segregated and prepared himself for this.

Let us not forget that most American troops were segregated during the war (unlike in the movies) and NYC was hardly a bastion of freedom for black people. In 1951 The Stork Club refused to serve Josephine Baker and unofficial “no-go” areas can still be found today.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Tower Theater on Jan 19, 2007 at 5:01 am

I beg to differ.

This is no “cosmopolitan gentrified” Harlem neighborhood. Domino park has been the gathering spot for politicised anti-Castro retirees for years including many Bay of Pig veterans and more recently, anti-Sadinista activists.

I see no shame in this fact as many Miami exiles share those feelings. Most recently the center of this movement has moved to the younger and more vocal crowds that hang out at the popular Versailles Restaurant on Calle Ocho and 36th Street. Even president Bush has visited that location where effigies of Castro and Chavez have been burned.

I grew up in this neighborhood and am a Cuban-American and that park helped define the Tower’s audience for years. Movies from Cuba were not welcomed at the Tower although they play other South Florida neighborhoods without incident.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Gables Theatre on Jan 17, 2007 at 11:26 pm

JWX, the theatre near Sergios was the Twin Gables, later the Gables Triple.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Gay Theatre on Jan 14, 2007 at 8:33 am

There is one listed in 1934 edition with 250 seats.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Men-Crying-Movies on Jan 12, 2007 at 8:08 am

LOL. I think is acceptable to get misty eyed when you revisit the assassination of Bobby Kennedy but it’s downright embarassing when a CGI penguin is tap dancing and you incomprehensibly start weeping.

It happened to a friend of mine and I am sticking to that story.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Roxy Theatre on Jan 10, 2007 at 5:47 am

Good point, Ken. I have found no other mention of the second Roxie(or Roxy?) and I wonder if it was a city center “colored” house.

I recently went by Coconut Grove and was pleasantly surprised to find the ACE is still there. The Ace is on 37th & Grand Avenue and, although briefly re-opened in the 70s as a blaxploitation house, it may have a history going back to the thirties with the Grove’s Afro-Caribbean audience. It ran live acts in the 70s as well so it probably has a stage. Like the Miami Roxie, it is never mentioned in South Florida history books.