Comments from Al Alvarez

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Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Apollo Theatre on Jun 19, 2006 at 1:55 pm

The only hookers in STREET OF SHADOWS (a wartime spy thriller) are in this ad. That lampost and hooker were recycled by the Apollo for many of its releases and were not part of this film’s ad campaign which consisted of a male headshot and a fully covered frilly dressed female dancer.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Alpine Theatre on Jun 17, 2006 at 11:17 pm

Cinema Village

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Kings Cinema on Jun 15, 2006 at 4:11 am

I hate to see any theatre or club being held responsible for sexual behaviour, much less accused of leading to the spread of AIDS. People do things, not buildings, and the people having sex in these places had no idea of the risks involved anyway. I would imagine the late hour 42nd street grind houses such as the New Amsterdam would be more honest targets for tolerating this behaviour than later mini-porn houses such as this one. Weren’t Nicklodeons similarly stimatized for all kinds of anti-social behaviour?

Having said that, in my opinion, the role places like the Kings serve on this board is that of a historical link that shows what people were up to at a certain time and place.

When articles written by 20 year old journalists quote that in mid-1982 New Yorkers were watching E.T. they might also honestly mention that several thousand New Yorkers were also engaging in sex with strangers at over two dozen Times Square movie theatres found on this site but otherwise buried by history.

As someone mentioned before, possibly KenRoe, who would bother listing these very special “treasures” if we don’t?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Kings Cinema on Jun 12, 2006 at 1:06 pm

In 1967 as the 50th Street Cinema it showed Avant Garde films starting with the Shirley Clark Documentary PORTRAIT OF JASON.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Lido East on Jun 8, 2006 at 1:14 pm


I can confirm PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES was advertised at 200 W 48th street on June13, 1980 (NYT) so I guess it did go legit at least for a while. Did PUMP BOYS really run that long?

I don’t have show a Kitty Kat but I recall a cinema upstairs from the West Side Twin that showed porn when the West Side was still showing Disney. Was that the Ramrod/Pussycat2/Kitty Kat?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Lido East on Jun 8, 2006 at 8:00 am

Marylyn Chamber’s INSATIABLE? Well, I didn’t know you were going to bring up the classics, Ed.

Here is how I see it:

121 W 48 BELMONT
121 W 48 CINEMA 48
194 W 48 48th St MUSIC HALL
200 W 48 CINE LIDO
217 W 48 48TH STREET
247 W 48 CARUSO (Hindenberg)
153 W 49 WORLD 49th ST. (Westminster) (Embassy 49)
210 W 49 RAMROD (Mini)
210 W 49 PUSSYCAT 2
215 W 49 CINE ROMA (Ambassador)
235 W 49 CINEMA 49
1607 BROADWAY EMBASSY 49th (T-L 49)

I realise some of these sequences may have changed over the years.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about AMC Empire 25 on Jun 7, 2006 at 10:51 pm

That gadget with the blinking red light sounds like a night vision goggle. When a bootleg DVD is traced to a particular theatre, the goggles and bag searches can help track cam corder pirates on new movies.

I don’t think we can hold AMC Empire responsible for Times Square audiences but their staff behaviour and absence of duty managers is indeed often unforgivable.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Lido East on May 31, 2006 at 10:19 pm

I show the Cine Lido at 200 West 48th which I believe to have been the Latin Quarter prior to becoming this. Perhaps it later became the Pussycat or the name moved along. The Trans-Lux 49, (1607 Broadway) was the one I thought was the Pussycat.

I also suspect the Pussycat 2 may have been the Ramrod and even more surprised to find that, oddly, I care.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Lido East on May 31, 2006 at 1:26 pm

Ed, I thought the Pussycat was the Trans-Lux 49th Street. Were the Pussycat and Grand Pussycat separate theatres? Was the Cine Lido perhaps the Pussycat 2?

I think the Lido East became a Chinese Restaurant and may still be that.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Strand Theatre on May 29, 2006 at 10:01 pm

Fight films and live feeds made money but not worth the trouble. The crowds were rowdy and violent and often tore the place apart, especially when the signal failed. Brooklyn theatres had a particularly tough time with staff abuse and shootings.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about New World Stages on May 28, 2006 at 5:52 am

This theatre name needs to be changed.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Cineworld Cinema - at the Empire Theatre on May 28, 2006 at 12:10 am

Give us a break. Odeon holds more premieres because they have more seats. Every single distributor knows the presenatation is far superior at the Empire.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Avenue Playhouse on May 26, 2006 at 11:35 pm

It appears it remained the Irish for a little over year until it reverted back to the Miami, most likely the result of the war disrupting the Irish economy and. It then ran silent films for a while as well.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about New Amsterdam Theatre on May 26, 2006 at 11:26 pm

I have read that 42nd street theatres in the seventies grossed as much as the rest of Manhattan put together. Based on the concept of an economy of businesses that pays its own way, these crap houses with their exploitation, sexploitation and blaxploitation certainly appeared to accomplish an economic success model. No matter what one feels about crack whores, the Shuberts, crooked politicians, pimps, Disney, the police, male hustlers, the Brandts or Popeye’s Chicken – 42nd Street may have been the first true experiment in undisturbed capitalism. It should have been preserved and studied.

For the Hollywood version, see IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, not ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about 777 Theatre on May 26, 2006 at 6:43 am

Ed, I found a December 9, 1972 NY Times articles announcing a raid on the San Francisco Adult Movies at the basement of 1531 Broadway, between 45th and 46th, former premises of Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Could this have been the Frisco again in 1982?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Avenue Playhouse on May 26, 2006 at 3:28 am

Sorry Warren, I thought you were saying 1938 was too EARLY for Ireland. I re-read the NY Times article and it does say that the Miami will show only Irish films when renamed the Irish Theatre, the first being ROSE OF TRALEE.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about New Victory Theatre on May 25, 2006 at 10:13 pm

Ed, The FRISCO and NIGHT SHIFT TWIN in the Movie Clock above are two Manhattan porn houses I had never heard of before 3/10/82 .

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about AMC Loews Fresh Meadows 7 on May 25, 2006 at 1:30 pm


Ok here are some Meadows stories to help put all this nastiness behind us and start some new nastiness.

Ed Bernhardt, bless his heart, a Mr. Magoo style driver, once drove (literally) into the local bank.

On my arrival in QUEENS, I asked Ed if the typical New Yorker read the New York Times. Ed responded that the “typical New Yorker could not read” and I should “stop assuming ANYONE read the New York Times”.

Ed also taught me that Arabs can never anti-semetic as they are all semites.

On the opening weeks of the Cineplex Odeon Meadows, a sold out showing of THE PRESIDIO was moved from a 400 plus screen to a 200 plus screen after construction workers removed the projector while finishing ceiling drywall without telling anyone. Refunds and anger ensued.

On THX certification day, the post office heater kicked in and the whole building shook for five minutes. We failed the test.

A hot water/cold water problem caused steaming toilets and urinals for the first few weeks, a fact that perplexed locals. Oddly enough, a basement crank flushes every toilet and urinal in the building, an oddly satifying act of power for me at the time.

Although we had several 306 projectionists, only two, Sal Mancuso and Randy knew what they were doing. Randy was arrested on site one night accused of stealing an Oscar by the widow of a Manhattan retiree who won it for a 1940’s film that won in all four major categories. (look that one up!)

The cinema received hate mail for NOT showing THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST.

Some man called nightly for over a year to tell us he had a red bow on his head.

One Sunday night four men armed with shotguns came in the front door and robbed the manager’s office while holding customers at gun-point in the lobby.

THE BLOB remake was a big hit here.

Once I went into the projection booth and could not find the projectionist. I closed a roof door that was creating a draft and went back to call the Union. They sent a replacement several hours later. The next day I found out the projectionist had wondered on to the roof for sun bathing a fallen asleep. He was fired.

Staff who caught a Yamuka wearing young man masterbating in the auditorium while watching WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? asked him to leave the theatre. To our dismay, he walked out screaming “My parents won’t let me do it at home either!”.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about New Amsterdam Theatre on May 25, 2006 at 12:40 pm

I remember STEEL as one of those “so bad, it is good” films. It is the story of construction workers putting up a high rise and fighting all kinds of silly problems, personal or otherwise. The soundtrack treated the climax as if it was a ROCKY type triumph with a lot of whoppin' and hollerin'. A real redneck saga from the “who cares?” genre.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Audubon Theatre on May 25, 2006 at 12:22 pm

Could this have been the TAPIA in the late sixties?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about AMC Loews Fresh Meadows 7 on May 25, 2006 at 9:07 am

Wow! I didn’t realise I had started this. I looked up Queens, New York on Cinema Treasures. Fresh Meadows wasn’t there. That was my point.

Former manager Ed Bernardt once jumped the erxpressway rail with his car and landed on a snow mound on the boulevard across from the theatre. He wasn’t hurt but maybe we have the address wrong.

I managed this place for over a year and this is first time I have heard of it not being in Queens or on the Boulevard. My letterhead did not say Fresh Meadows or Expressway in the address line.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theater on May 25, 2006 at 2:23 am

In the mid seventies, once the downtown houses turned to soft core and blaxploitation, a bus ride to Miracle Mile provided access to the Coral, Gables, Miracle and eventually the Cinematheque. The nearby Twin Gables and Trail provided other choices. When the Coral and Gables went, the Miracle split into two and then four screens. The Twin Gables became the Gables Triple and the whole neighborhood soon settled for the Miracle Center Multiplex outside the Gables. That short-lived latter complex was so daunting even the parking lot was a challenge, so steep my Toyota fell backwards and threw me out every time I tried to get in. Nowadays locals make due with the AMC Sunset Place, a new stadium seated improved version of the Bakery Center, Riviera and Sunset. Alas, the city of Coral Gables has no movie theatres to keep the little shops on Miracle Mile alive at night.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Jean Renoir Cinema on May 24, 2006 at 2:05 pm

THis site has a photo and some history as the Gate (162 Second Avenue)

View link

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about AMC Loews Fresh Meadows 7 on May 23, 2006 at 10:46 pm

This theatre should be listed as located in Queens.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 23, 2006 at 10:28 pm

This is now listed twice.