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I ran this theatre for awhile in the eighties and it truly envoked the feel of Greenwich Village. At that time we were going back and forth between revival and off-beat independant films. It was not unusual to see celebraties on line or in the audience. I recall Richard Gere coming one night and Ronnie Spector another. It is great it is still here when all the other village theatres dies slow sad deaths.
Another trivia item that I was told was that they were the only theatre in Brooklyn to open Star Wars in stereo. I wonder if it was 70mm?
I saw Cabaret here, a family friend lived around the corner and she went to this theatre all the time. I remember it then as being a very nice spacious Centurys house. Too bad it’s gone now, I think Centurys chose to just ass more screens to Kings Plaza which is a few blocks away.
The multiplexing of the theatre was done in a way as to not destroy any of the walls or ceiling. It was almost like a free standing shell. There was one theatre in the balcony and three downstairs. The two under the balcony were tiny but the other one allowed the walls and arch to be seen. In typical UA fashion they mismanaged this place and just closed it. The Mandys store is only built in the lobby and part of the auditorium, dead center. The entire theatre is there untouched as per the lease with the owner. The marquee remains also. Maybe someday someone will make this a live theatre. By the way in the 70’s they played loads of italian shows here with people like Tony Bennett, Al Martino and Connie Francis.
I remember once seeing a picture of the marquee near the end, I think it was playing horror and action double bills in all of its auditoriums.
The Meadows was built by Centurys and was always one of Queens highest grossing houses.
What killed such a modern multiplex in such a short time?
The Ridgewood theatre is in the section of the neighborhhod that is Brooklyn. I grew up going to this theatre as my grandmother lived in Glendale. I remember the Sound of Music played forever and I saw alot of great films there. In the 60’s they used to play childrens matinees on the weekend mornings and the theatre was well maintained even by United Artists the last operators. I think the last film to play there under the UA banner was the Peter Weiler film “The Last Wave”. I was there for the previous engagement “The Wiz” which was double billed in its last week with “Seargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club band”. The current owners also opearate the Jackson and The Plaza in Corona and previously had The Colony in Jackson Heights, The Community and The Queens in Queens Village and The Deluxe in Woddside. The theatre was triplexed in the early eighties by clsoing off the balcony and making two theatres downstairs. You could not cross over to the other auditorium because it had a wall that divided the lobby and each side had its own bathrooms and candy stand. Around 1990 the balconies were divided into three bringing the amount of screens to five. There is so much wasted space where the huge stage was that could accomidate more cinemas. I last was in the theatre for the first time in many many years for the opening night of “Spider Man” because a friend knew someone there and we were able to get tickets. The theatre is clean but really needs an overhaul. It still has the seats and bathrooms from the UA days. There is a little bit of the old glamour in the first lobby where the original ceiling and showcases remain and in the downstairs theatres you can see the stained glass fixtures that are still intact.
Did this open in 1969 as a single or a 5-plex?
I remember when Cineplex Odeon took over the Fairfax it had either been closed or run into the ground as a $1 house. I think they triplexed it and the last time I was in LA it was a first run theatre. When did it go discount?
It’s hard to believe a twenty screen theatre closed after a year. Someone should try a discount policy here.
The saddest thing of all to me was UA’s moronic closing of Cinema 150 in Syosset. It put the Zeigfeld to shame with a huge dimension 150 screen. It was totally renovated in the early 90’s with all new seats, drapes, carpet, screen and lighting. They never advertised the theatre for what it was. I introduced friends in Manhattan to the place and they used to travel on the LIRR after that to see films there.
A friend in LA saw all of the Cinerama revivials at The Dome some were 3 projector also. New York always seems like a step child for film. When is the last time anyone played 70mm? Although they are not as frequent anymore LA has had a few recent 70mm engagements.
I’m sure there was not. I remember when I was a kid it was a big family outing when we all went to the Rivoli to see “The Sound of Music” with my parents and both grandmothers. How special those roadshows were. The only real place that compares at all is Radio City Music Hall and I cant remember the last time they had a movie or premiere there. I dont know why I missed “This is Cinerama” when the Ziegfeld first opened, I have always wanted to see this and doubt they will ever go to the trouble to run it again.
I drive by everyday and it looks worse then ever. Having attended this theatre my whole life it’s sad to see it end like this. When Loews booked it with the right upscale product the place was always busy. I know its almost impossible to run a single screen theatre anymore but you would think in an upscale are like Forest Hills concerts or another use could be found. SAVE THE TRYLON
I agree 100% not one of the real Broadway palaces survived even though many were open into the eighties or ninties. When you think of what was there and destroyed, The Rivoli, The Warner Cinerama, The Capitol, Loews State, The Criterion, The Paramount and to a lesser degree the Strand and DeMille. I am sure I am forgetting some but unlike other cities that have restored at least one palace, NY tears them down. Remember a few years ago when they had the idea to build above Radio City and keep the theate intact? Why could that idea not have been used for The Rivoli or State?
The Williamsburg was down the street from the Commodore. At one time they had the name Commodore 3 on the top line of the marquee and used to move over films from the Commodore Twin which had the same owners.
I drove by today and it still is there with the same info on the marquee.
The Midway prospers and no area is worse to park in then Forest Hills.
Most of it’s life The Wagner showed German films, since Ridgewood had a huge German population at that time. It is now a community performing arts theatre.
I remember when this was a single screen Walter Reade theatre.
UA had renovated this theatre a few years before closing it. What a shame it was a better place to see a film then any theatre in Manhattan. I miss it every time I look to see an epic. That HUGE screen and the drapes opening was what movie going was all about.
I attended this theatre all my life and it makes me sick to see it sitting empty and rotting. Before Loews had it it was run by Interboro Theatres.
The Marquee has been restored to its movie days glory. It’s worth a drive by to see it.
The last fillm to play there was “The Promise”, starring Kathleen Quinlan.