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Ed, I show the Criterion was closed for about three weeks between the two runs.
Louis, Wometco was careful to only screen soft porn at the Boulevard Drive-In and Town (downtown) as their company charter did not allow any other. The films the Boulevard Drive-In showed in its last days would be rated R today and in some cases PG. They often promised more than they delivered. (Think Russ Meyer and nudist camp nudies). The theatres attracted straight couples, not lone males as XXX did.
The Boulevard screen faced the Interama swamp land so exposure to Biscayne Boulevard was not a problem. Other drive-ins had to install special screens where the inage faded with distance so as not to cause accidents on the expressways.
The handi-wipe, alas, was not urban legend. I remember how funny we thought it was when we got one, for the buttered popcorn, I presume.
The Paramount I remember had a huge screen and no columns in the auditorium so if that photo above is the same theatre it must have been extensively remodelled by the sixties.
Hmmm. Hello, Tom.
You have a good heart.
Considering TALLADEGA NIGHTS is one of the biggest hits of the year I am sure Pacific is not even considering resorting to “classics” yet. I wish the Ziegfeld did not have to resort to bringing back TRON, but bless them for trying something.
One slight correction to the excellent post above. The General Cinema take over of Loews did not include the 167th Street Twin nor Bay Harbor, as those leases had a partner. The 163rd Street was a Wometco house at the time.
From what I can tell, theatres that spent a signficant life as anything other than cinemas will often not get listed. Hence the Ambassador, for example, a major Broadway foreign film house in the thirties, but now a playhouse, won’t rate. The Lunt-Fontaine does. Go figure!
I was also unable to place the Grove Cinema in Miami, a true treasure for anyone who lived there in the seventies.
You will find discussions on both those subjects elsewhere on this site but it looks like there were two Embassy 49’s, and the Frisco was the DEEP THROAT/MISS JONES record holder.
Look for him spelled “Kieth Kiehl”. I found several listings but I am not sure if they are him. There are also some articles regarding drive-ins in the Tacoma area dated as recent as 2004.
Hmmm. Shame that the X-rated swashbuckler genre didn’t take hold. ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS might have had competition.
Ed, I will try and collect some more for information this. I was a theatre manager in Miami during this period and we certainly weren’t above showing the combo above at the twin while making sure the kiddies didn’t screen hop.
LOL. We are listening Ed! I have nothing to contribute except that it is gratifying to see such a wide and organised release of Spanish language films. I don’t that happens much today unless it is a crossover film from Almodovar or starring Gael Garcia Bernal.
I think we need some New Yoricans to help us out with the Bronx.
Twin Two was called the Penthouse from 1968 to 1976, Cinerama ll from 1976-1982 and Warner ll after that. The Orleans was splintered off into porn ghetto oblivion when the name changed in 1976.
Greg and Keith moved back together (I was part of the packing commitee in LeFrak)and Keith was living in and running a Drive-In in Tacoma, the last time we spoke around 1998.
It was the location that made them highly coveted. As theatres they were never special but did have good 70mm presentations. It is amazing how many little Manhattan houses had 70mm capabilities.
The Baronet/Coronet never ran roadshows but often ran exclusive engagements in 70mm. It was used to establish films as important rather than as a showcase for pre-sold expensive films. This was where you discovered MIDNIGHT COWBOY and M.A.S.H, not HELLO, DOLLY!.
Thanks for this Joe, I agree that this is aggravating and important. I have recently seen AMC alter this subject to say “the first purpose built twin theatre in a suburban shopping center” which is a dubious honor, but could be true.
In my book, the rooftop gardens and annex houses open in the 1910’s in Manhattan were the first twins.
By the way, I believe both Stan Durwood (AMC) and Henry Plitt (PLITT) were the first American paratrooper to land in Europe during WWII. I guess they used the same PR agency.
It was not coincidence but it was not the cause either. All the major chains were in financial crisis and up for sale. Cineplex Odeon had a cash infusion from Universal Pictures as that studio had faith that Garth Drabinsky’s multiplex concept would help save the business. Through their financial backing to took over RKO and Walter Reade within months.
Most of the Times Square properties, including the RKO Warner Twin were already sold. Cineplex Odeon actually saved several theatres that were on the verge of being demolished and extended their lives.
Cineplex Odeon added real butter, fixed structures, added faux- marble to every flat surface, added art-deco touches, raised all prices to record highs and made everything first-run. New Yorkers bitched and moaned as they made those old houses some of the highest grossing in history and Garth a folk hero in Hollywood. Loews scrabbled behind trying to keep up until Sony did the same for them. City Cinemas, made up of left over Cineplex disposal sites, was hardly registering.
It took ten years for everyone to notice that the profits just weren’t there since the leases were so bad.
That “porn theatre” you mention is listed here as the Rialto.
Irv, you have mentioned two of my all-time favorite films!
LAST SUMMER was a big hit in the late 60’s when almost every film was bombing, and Hollywood’s only menage a trois featuring John-Boy. Allegedly Barbara Hershey realised during the production that she was the reincarnation of a seagull and after much soul searching temporarily changed her name to Barbara Seagull. Ah, the 60’s!
THE SWIMMER is still the ultimate male menopause movie. Ok, not a very competitive genre, I know, but a great film nonetheless.
This from the New York Times August 21, 1971.
EAST VILLAGE THEATRE TO SHOW OLD MUSICAL FILMS EXCLUSIVELY
A refurbished playhouse in the East Village is about to offer something new in vintage screen fare. Starting tomorrow, Theatre 80 St. Marks will become what may be the only showcase ever devoted entirely to movie musicals.
The opening bill …is Jerome Kern’s SUNNY (1930)… and LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING (1949)…
The 199 seat theatre, whose longest previous tenant was the show YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, will charge $2.50 admission for the double bills…
At the theatre there will be some other reminders of the past- resplendently attired ushers, a lobby decorated with movie memorabilia and free penny candy.
LADY IN THE DARK and ANYTHING GOES start August 26.
The Boulevard was operated as a soft-core porn location by Wometco in its later years. Admission included a handiwipe.(!!!)
Hardbop, they are all there but on the dates they opened.
Wally, I think you are describing the Eastside Cinema 3rd Avenue and 55th Street.
Louis, it was always porno, gay on one screen, straight on the other.
I agree with longislandmovies. Cineplex Odeon helped theatres that were falling apart stay open for years by spending big money remodelling and keeping them up. The Kingsway had a rough going in it’s last few years because it was always being groomed for demolition and replacement by a purpose built multiplex, a event that never occured.
Although I have no particular love for Garth Drabinsky. He gave a new lease on life to the Metropolitan, Kenmore, Fortway, Alpine, Metro Twin, Regency, Olympia, Carnegie Hall, Waverly, Art Greenwich, Manhattan Twin, and Warner (Rialto) just when they were past their sell-by date and when no other chains were investing in non-multiplex buildings.