Loew's Jersey Theatre

54 Journal Square,
Jersey City, NJ 07306

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finnbar11
finnbar11 on May 6, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Does anyone know if they will be showing “The Uninvited” at the end of May? I know they said they were tentatively aiming to have a new print by that time. Thanks.

gabedellafave
gabedellafave on May 2, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Great clip! Thanks. Wish I could have seen the film at the Loew’s.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on May 1, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Thanks, Gabe, for that Jack Benny/Groucho clip. YouTube is such a wonderful source for old ‘50s TV clips. Here’s another one: Arlene Dahl as the mystery guest on “What’s My Line?” in 1959, plugging “Journey to the Center of the Earth”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTbcvphPWv4

gabedellafave
gabedellafave on May 1, 2009 at 9:49 pm

The GREAT Loew’s Jersey Wonder Organ does it again (in full stereo hi-fi)…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgfA9_BEuSg&fmt=18

with a band in the pit—yet (with an orchestra lift that goes up and down).

My understanding is that the Loew’s Jersey is the 10th largest remaining theater in America (give or take a few); and I think its future is very bright.

Well, I’m sure these are enough posts for one night. I hope my love for the place comes through my writing.

gabedellafave
gabedellafave on May 1, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Folks, this was the wonderful theatrical reality of the Loew’s Jersey at one time. In addition to being a “Temple of the Motion Picture Art” is was also a grand old vaudeville house (for a very few and much too short number of years):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_efvfxmJDGQ

It was New York vaudeville, only better and a little looser.

“Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby, Jean Harlow, Burns and Allen, Bing Crosby, Bill Robinson, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Cab Calloway, to name just a few” were regulars at the Loew’s. Today, this boggles the mind.

Jack Benny was often the MC at the Loew’s Jersey in the early 1930s. At that time this theatre was “classy” and not the somewhat dusty though wonderful place we know today. The place deserved and got an elegant and urbane and very funny announcer.

Typical Loew’s Jersey entertainment from the middle 20th Century. The LJ was as smart and as bright and as mainstream as you could get in America in the mid-20th Century:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wNK1Jt4JLg

Back then the ushers said, “no standing in the aisles, please stand behind the ropes, there are plenty of seats in the upper balcony.” They even had a coat check room.

gabedellafave
gabedellafave on May 1, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Lewis’s work at the NY Paramount was sheer brilliance, the like of which we will never see again.

Thanks for sharing your story of Jerry Lewis and the Loew’s. I’m so glad to hear that he supported the theatre in those difficult days. The Jersey may be the “Best Remaining” road show house left in America. It is steeped in 1930s vaudeville (and popcorn).

One of the best fairly recent live acts I saw at the Jersey was Uncle Floyd’s 30 minute “program.” People forget (I should talk, I’m 47) just how clever and funny old vaudeville could be. It was often absolutely brilliant. After all, “Who’s On First?” was a vaudeville act, performed live at the State Theatre in Journal Square many times by some comedy named Abbott and Costello. The Three Stooges were often found live at the Stanley, and of course Bing was live at the Loew’s.

In any case, Floyd’s show was never to be forgotten. As I watched it, I said to myself, “so this is what vaudeville was like.”

Jerry Lewis is one of the very last vaudeville stars, and a native Newark-ite, I believe. So glad to learn he doesn’t forget his roots.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on May 1, 2009 at 10:57 am

I think I told this story before, probably on the Paramount page, but Jerry showed off his old ushering skills when my mom went to see “My Friend Irma” at the Paramount in 1949, and he took her ticket. I guess he and Dean were part of the live stage show.

gabedellafave
gabedellafave on April 30, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Thanks to Bob Furmanek. Note my entry above. Search for “New York Paramount and the Loew’s Jersey”. It’s about ¾ from the bottom — since this Loew’s Jersey page could make a nice book on its own! The Loew’s Jersey and NY (Times Square) Paramount were very similar theatres, designed by the same firm.

screensaver
screensaver on April 29, 2009 at 7:33 pm

I was criticized by some for leaving “negative” commentary regarding the programming incident involving “The Uninvited” in March. Credibility to those or any other comments on this site is only earned when they are objective and balanced. It is important to report when things go smoothly as well as when there are mishaps. So to be fair, I too want to acknowledge the excellent presentation this past weekend with “The Lion In Winter” and “Journey to The Center of The Earth”. The weekend featured quality prints and gracious guests. The weekend film series was executed extremely well.

mdvoskin
mdvoskin on April 29, 2009 at 4:44 pm

*Did anybody see “The Lion in Winter”? How was the print, especially the color? *

The print was in excellent condition, the color perfect.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on April 29, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Did anybody see “The Lion in Winter”? How was the print, especially the color?

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 28, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Here’s one more:

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Look for the small print at the very bottom: Late Film 11:45 PM. How I would’ve loved to see “Journey” at the Paramount and get out at 2 in the morning!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 28, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Some more “Journey” stuff:

The New York Daily News review – a positive one, but I would have given it one more star:

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The ad for the Paramount Theatre engagement:

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The ad for the State Theatre engagement in Jersey City, around the corner from the Loew’s … and the only one of the three great Journal Square showplaces that did not survive in some form. It’s now an apartment building.

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Rory
Rory on April 28, 2009 at 8:44 am

I was thinking about it and I believe Miss Dahl’s memory might also be a little hazy as to the length of the shooting schedule. I doubt they shot in Carlsbad for three months, probably more like three weeks. I’ve watched this movie many times and very little of the interior of the earth stuff is Carlsbad, most is actually the sound stages at Fox, with many of rock sets reused in THE STORY OF RUTH and THE LOST WORLD the following year. However, the shooting at Carlsbad may have been longer as I’ve read that Alexander Scourby started shooting there as Count Saknussem, but was replaced by Thayer David. By the way, JTTCOTE was Fox’s Christmas release for December 1959 and opened at the Paramount Theatre in NYC. Go to the page for that theatre and there’s a couple comments by people who remember seeing it there back then. Pretty cool.

frankie
frankie on April 27, 2009 at 12:35 pm

WHATEVER ! It was a thrill to have a real, live movie star right before our eyes at a real, live movie palace ! Yes, you CAN go home again ! Thank you, Loew’s Jersey !!!

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on April 27, 2009 at 12:32 pm

I think her memory is a little hazy there. Some of the dialogue was looped, but most was not. I suspect that Zanuck ordered the accent change shortly after the start of production.

frankie
frankie on April 27, 2009 at 12:24 pm

I think Arlene said about 6 months. The real shocker was her saying that Darryl Zanuck made them re-dub the entire film because he thought the American audience wouldn’t understand the accents. Nowadays, it’d be just dandy since no one in America speaks English anymore !!!!!

Rory
Rory on April 27, 2009 at 11:55 am

Thanks Bill for the further details of what Arlene Dahl had to say. Too bad the interviewer hadn’t done his research. I’ve often wondered how long the shoot was on JOURNEY. I know that the “underground ocean” stuff on the beach was shot at Leo Carrillo State Beach, and you can tell in the film that the cave there is extended by the use of Emil Kosa Jr. matte paintings. Other locations around southern California were used such as the Amboy Crater National Landmark and “Little Lake and Fossil Falls” near Lone Pine, but for the most only stand-ins for the principal actors were used, as was a stand-in for Mason for the shots actually taken in Edinburgh, Scotland. Anyway, both this film and I turn fifty this year. I didn’t see JTTCOTE until it was shown on WABC in New York in the late sixties.

frankie
frankie on April 27, 2009 at 11:31 am

Thanks, Bill, for those sensational photos ! I was there with my grade school friend on his maiden voyage to the Loew’s, and he was predictably dazzled by it and the lovely Miss Dahl. She autographed my CD of the 1989 concert she did with Jane Russell and the fabulous Dottie Lamour ! My friend was put off by the idea that there was a $20.00 fee which provided access for “special people.” Those of us who support the Loew’s are rather special, too !

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 27, 2009 at 10:16 am

Another funny thing Arlene told us: she only had one stand-in, but Gertrude the Duck had three!

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on April 27, 2009 at 9:19 am

Ms. Dahl was sensational, but I wish the person who interviewed her had done some homework. He stated that JOURNEY was a low budget film which is far from accurate: it was an “A” picture from Fox all the way. He also speculated as to whether or not the film was intended as a vehicle for Pat Boone. It was. Boone originally had 5 songs in the film, but 4 were cut. (Boone’s production company worked with Fox on the film, and they were wise to realize that the pacing needed to be tightened.)

He also commented on the fabulous score and wondered if there was a soundtrack available on CD. There is, and it was released by Varese Sarabande in 1997.

A little bit of prep and research would have made the interview that much better.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 27, 2009 at 7:35 am

Arlene did talk about James Mason. She said he wasn’t easy to work with at first, and she also heard from a crew member that he didn’t want her to play the role. He thought she wasn’t good enough as a actress. But she’d already been cast – in fact producer/co-writer Charles Brackett was a good friend of hers and created the character of Carla (who doesn’t appear in the Jules Verne novel) with her in mind.

When she heard what James thought of her, she figured she’d have to be extra good in her scenes with him. She worked extra hard and eventually earned a compliment from James: “You know, you’re pretty good”. She said hearing that from him meant more to her than an Academy Award would have.

She also talked about Bernard Herrmann, as you can hear in the YouTube clip, calling him a musical genius. He visited the set more than once, and seemed to take inspiration from those visits – the score really captures the feeling of what it’d be like to descend into the interior of the earth.

Arlene also talked about the locations: they shot in Carlsbad Caverns NM and the surrounding area for three months, then back to the Fox studio in Hollywood for three more months. She mentioned the large number of bat caves at Carlsbad. She was afraid of them, but Pat Boone liked them so much he earned the nickname “Bat Boone”. She also complimented Pat on his acting. She was impressed at how hard he worked on his performance.

All in all, a great evening with an extremely charming lady. And the CinemaScope print was perfect.

Rory
Rory on April 26, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Thanks, Bill. Boy, I wish I could have been there. How did the print look? I know Fox did a restoration for the 2004 DVD, but I wonder if they’ve since done even more (such as a high definition scan of the negs and further digital clean up)? I think that if Arlene Dahl signed your copy of the DVD she would have mentioned if she’d been asked to contribute anything to a new Blu-ray release, but hopefully Fox has enough brains to be working on that. I’ve read that Dahl and James Mason didn’t get along on the set of JTTCOTE. Did she mention anything about that and what else of interest did she have to say about the production that you can remember? I’ve also read that Clifton Webb was originally going to play the professor. Anyway, thanks for posting what you have. While this was going on last night, I finally got around to hanging my original JTTCOTE half-sheet poster in my new apartment, and —by the way — that dreadful recent version (which is apparently getting a sequel) premiered on HBO last night. Blaaah! The ‘59 version is still king.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 26, 2009 at 1:04 am

As expected, the Loew’s Jersey’s cavernous echo made the score for “Journey to the Center of the Earth” sound better than it’s ever been heard before (by me, anyway). Arlene Dahl is an incredibly nice, gracious person. Her post-screening interview with Foster Hirsch was extremely entertaining. I didn’t get to ask Rory’s question about the Blu-Ray release, but I did get her autograph:

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and a picture with her:

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Here is a poor quality 60-second video from my digital camera where she talks about Bernard Herrmann’s score for the film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7w8wROTOdE

Finally, the Loew’s marquee by day and by night:

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