Comments from Al Alvarez

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Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Ziegfeld Theatre on Aug 8, 2006 at 10:06 pm

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about 170th Street Cinema on Aug 8, 2006 at 6:33 am

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Coronet 1 & 2 on Aug 7, 2006 at 10:09 pm

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Aug 5, 2006 at 12:11 am

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Coronet 1 & 2 on Aug 4, 2006 at 4:18 am

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Cine 42 on Aug 3, 2006 at 6:54 am

Hmmm. Shame that the X-rated swashbuckler genre didn’t take hold. ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS might have had competition.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Lido East on Aug 3, 2006 at 6:49 am

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Forum Theatre on Aug 2, 2006 at 2:13 am

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Jul 31, 2006 at 10:40 pm

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Coronet 1 & 2 on Jul 30, 2006 at 9:59 pm

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Coronet 1 & 2 on Jul 30, 2006 at 10:53 am

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Coronet 1 & 2 on Jul 30, 2006 at 12:37 am

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!.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about AMC Broadens Scope to Independent Films on Jul 28, 2006 at 3:31 am

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Rivoli Theatre on Jul 27, 2006 at 10:26 am

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Soho Playhouse on Jul 27, 2006 at 8:05 am

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Theatre 80 St. Marks on Jul 26, 2006 at 2:02 am

This from the New York Times August 21, 1971.


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.


Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Boulevard Drive-In on Jul 17, 2006 at 10:15 pm

The Boulevard was operated as a soft-core porn location by Wometco in its later years. Admission included a handiwipe.(!!!)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Beekman Theatre on Jul 17, 2006 at 8:32 am

Hardbop, they are all there but on the dates they opened.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about United Artists East 85th Street on Jul 16, 2006 at 1:15 am

Wally, I think you are describing the Eastside Cinema 3rd Avenue and 55th Street.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about 79th Street Twin II Cinema on Jul 16, 2006 at 1:05 am

Louis, it was always porno, gay on one screen, straight on the other.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Kingsway Theatre on Jul 15, 2006 at 7:34 am

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.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about 27th Avenue Drive-In on Jul 15, 2006 at 7:21 am

This was not the way Drive-Ins in Florida were air conditioned. Next to your speaker there was a an air tube (similar to what you use to put air into your tires)which you brought into your car and then closed all the windows. Closed windows are important at Florida Drive-Ins due to mosquitos and flying palmetto bugs (large winged cockroaches).

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Sunshine Cinema on Jul 14, 2006 at 4:48 am

Thank you Lost Memory. Looks like we have another mystery theatre if the ebay shot is really a Manhattan location.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Sunshine Cinema on Jul 13, 2006 at 1:13 pm

Is this the old Houston Hippodrome?

View link

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez commented about Palm Springs Twin One & Two on Jul 12, 2006 at 5:46 am

Louis, perhaps if I jog your memory you may be able to make entries for the VILLAGE, APOLLO (North & South), MIAMI LAKES, and HIALEAH MALL.