Comments from CSWalczak

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CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Chicago Theatre on Dec 13, 2007 at 8:15 am

In a sense, yes. Most Broadway shows in Chicago are now booked in as part of the Broadway in Chicago series each year which is a joint venture of the powerhouse Nederlander Organization and Live Nation. They either own or have long term leases on the Cadillac Palace, the Oriental (Ford Center), and the LaSalle Bank Theatre (formerly Shubert) They also occasionally book shows into the Auditorium Theater and the Drury Lane at Water Tower Place. With that kind of clout, it would be difficult for another house to compete for the shows. Also given the up and down availability of product, the question would have to be asked if Chicago really needs another large capacity house intended for Broadway-type shows right now.

I have also been told that the Chicago, is spite of its seating capacity (over 3,000) has both a shallow stage and inadequate load-in and load-out access to the stage, making it difficult if not impossible for shows with large and complex sets to play there. It did have runs of a few shows in the past “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for example, but the staging of that show is simple compared to, say, “Wicked”. Many of the classic movie palaces that began as vaudeville houses or combination movie and stage show houses had shallow stages because vaudeville and the stage shows back then didn’t require complex stage sets.

This is one of the reasons that the costs of restoring and adaptive re-use of theaters are often staggering: the stagehouse has to be thoroughly rebuilt, brought up to modern building codes, and equipped with new rigging, computerized lighting,loading docks and large access doors. When the now defunct Livent company acquired the Oriental, it also acquired the old Bailey Typewriter Building behind the Oriental’s stage house, broke through the wall, and expanded the stage space so that the modern Broadway blockbuster could play there. I have been on the restored Cadillac Palace’s stage and it too now has large access doors, modern rigging, and fly space. The former Shubert/Majestic has had a number of remodelings, a huge one just recently.

I’m sure that MSG will decide if it wants to make the kind of investment that would enable make the Chicago capable of handling a contemporary Broadway blockbuster or use it as is for different kinds of events and entertainments. Given how slowly things sometimes move in Chicago (look at Block 37 across the street), I wouldn’t think an overhaul of the Chicago’s stagehouse will happen any time soon, even MSG decides to go that route.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Movie Theater Coming to Chicago's "Block 37" on Nov 1, 2007 at 7:41 am

It is great that there will apparently be agan a functioning movie theater on the site where once two great theaters were, but only 800 seats total among the seven screening rooms? If the division is more or less equal, that works out to about 110 seats per room, and if there is even one “large” room, then the others would be even smaller. It sounds like another version of what Landmark operates at Century Centre to the north. If the intent is to go after the art or speciality market, things might get rough for Century Centre and the theater at Piper’s Alley.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Seattle Cinerama on Oct 15, 2007 at 10:01 pm

New and restored prints of “"This Is Cinerama” and “HTWWW” were struck a couple of years ago at the Crest National Labs; information about them can be found at the “Cinerama Adventure” website at http://www.cineramaadventure.com/crest3.htm

I have seen the new print of “HTWWW” at the Cinerama Dome a few years ago soon after it was struck; it looked good, but probably would have looked even better if a proper strip screen had beeen installed.

If I am not mistaken, the last time “HTWWW” was shown at the Seattle Cinerama, the print was the lovingly cobbled together one that John Harvey put together that was shown at the New Neon Theater in Dayton, Ohio during the Cinerama revival that blossomed there in the late 1990s. I think this was shown soon after Paul Allen’s restoration of the Seattle Cinerama.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Tussaud's Cinema on Sep 20, 2007 at 10:19 am

On p. 23 of the May, 2007 of the newsletter of the Hollywood Heritage organization (available at: View link) is a copy of a 1934 program for the Tussaud’s Cinema, and a small picture of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mum) inspecting the ruins of the Tussaud Cinema can be found here: http://100years.upi.com/photogallery.html

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Euclid Beach Park Avenue Theater on Sep 18, 2007 at 10:18 pm

This is probably, if definitely, not the Euclid Theater in which the organ referenced above was installed. This theater was a wooden structure in Euclid Beach Park, open roughly from late April through September each year. Before having its sides removed and becoming an open air pavilion housing rides, it was called the Avenue Theater, never the Euclid Theater at least as far as I know.

More than likley, the organ was installed in the Euclid Theater that once existed at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland, built in 1914 (see entry for this theater) or possibly in a theater located at 16359 Euclid Avenue at its intersection with Ivanhoe Road.

According to Mike Rivest’s list of theaters for Cleveland, this theater at Euclid and Ivanhoe was also called the Euclid, although I have not been able to verify this. (The auditorium section of this theater is still visible today, with its roof full of holes). The Euclid Theater that existed at 9th and Euclid was gone by the 1950s and probably well before, so it is possible that the theater at Euclid and Ivanhoe took the name after the one in downtown Cleveland was demolished.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Aztec Theatre on Sep 11, 2007 at 9:32 am

The Springfield in which the Simpsons live is an imaginary location. I doubt if Cinema Treasures has entries for theaters in such places.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Ozark Theater on Aug 17, 2007 at 7:43 am

A recent article about the Ozark Theater and its restoration can be found here:
View link

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about The Hollywood Recycling Machine on Aug 3, 2007 at 8:31 am

Obviously Love Movies and I see the situation on Broadway differently, and I doubt if one medium’s using material originally presented in another will ever stop. Frankly, I look forward to seeing new Broadway shows based on much-loved films though the result is not always successful.

For my money, if Hollywood wants to remake anything, I wish they would make some quality remakes of some Broadway musicals they trashed, especially in the 70s. I would love to see a quality remake of “Hello, Dolly!” or “Mame” or ‘A Chorus Line,“ re-imagined as a film using people appropriate to the respective roles and who can really sing and dance.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about The Hollywood Recycling Machine on Aug 2, 2007 at 3:16 pm

I think there’s a difference between a re-make and a re-imagining of a movie’s story or plotline. I think the quality remakes – many cited above – fall into that category, i.e., where the newer version shows some real creativity. I get irritated where the remake seems to be more like simple recycling or an excuse to use bankable stars or just an excuse to show off special effects or go for more explicit sex, violence or gore. As some have noted, remakes, per se, are not new; both Hitchcock and Capra remade films they made before.

I find it interesting that on Broadway, new stagings or revivals of shows occur frequently and few object; in fact there’s even a Tony award for Best Revival. Perhaps the quality of remakes might improve if there was an Oscar for “Best Remake”?

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Tibbits Opera House on Jul 27, 2007 at 8:41 am

The picture of the Tibbits as a movie house that I referenced earlier is now at: http://www.tibbits.org/history.htm

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Sundance Cinemas 608 on May 7, 2007 at 9:32 am

Great news for movie fans in Madison. But a theater apparently named for its telephone area code? Somehow, “Let’s go to the 608” lacks the charm of “Let’s go to the Rialto or the Bijou or the Strand.”

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Tibbits Opera House on May 2, 2007 at 6:18 am

It’s now used primarily as a community arts center. I lived in the Coldwater area from 1970-85, and it always seemed to be in a perpetual state of being renovated. It’s also known for its summer theater season, (but don’t get me started on what I thought of some of those productions). This website:

http://www.tibbits.org/documents/Tibbits8.pdf

has a picture of it when it was a movie theater during the period of approximately 1930-1954.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about New 400 Theaters on Apr 18, 2007 at 1:19 pm

The entry for the Guild Theater at 717 West Sheridan in Chicago shows that it was known as the Essex as well as the Pine Grove, Panorama, and Little.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Gladmer Theatre on Apr 10, 2007 at 7:40 am

Especially in the 1950s and 60s, “roadshow” referred to a classy presentation of high profile films on a reserved seat or reserved performance basis. Typically, the film was shown exclusively at one large theater in each metropolitan area. The presentation emphasized real showmanship with overtures, intermission, and exit music, the best sound and projection available, grand curtains opening and closing, and souvenir books. The Cinerama films,and blockbusters such as “The Ten Commandments,” “Ben-Hur,” “My Fair Lady,” “Lawrence of Arabia, ” and many others (especially classic films originally filmed in 70mm) were presented originally in this way. Those were the days!

By the mid-70’s the concept essentially died out for many reasons, especially the growing practice of showcasing at multiple theaters, saturation booking, the growth of multiplexes, the added expense of running a roadshow, and especially toward the end of the era, a number of films that frankly didn’t deserve this kind of deluxe presentation but got it any way such as “Paint Your Wagon”.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Warner Theatre on Mar 27, 2007 at 10:16 am

The pictures at the link posted by RamBear above are of the Warner Theater in Erie, PA, not the Warner in Torrington, CT.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Get the Reel Story in Detroit on Mar 26, 2007 at 5:12 am

I had the chance to see this while in Detroit this past weekend; it’s a terrific exhibit. Perhaps one of the saddest things is to see the blow-ups of the movie directory pages from the Detroit newspapers over the years – there is one from each decade from the twenties through the nineties – and realize that one time Detroit had over a hundred single screen theaters and drive-ins.

It would be wonderful if other city museums or local city historical societies would create similar exhibits from time to time focusing on the movie-going experience and theaters over the years in their respective areas.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Cadillac Palace Theatre on Feb 23, 2007 at 1:13 pm

It actually did not go unused after its last motion picture showings in the 70’s; until its restoration for live theater, it became a mixed-use facility known as the Bismarck Pavilion which was operated by the Bismarck Hotel for both concerts, stage performances, and banquets. A false floor was built over the orchestra level seats. I recall that some time in the 1980’s, part of this false floor collapsed during a concert, fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. I attended a function there in the year just before the restoration began; the projection booth for the 70mm projectors was still in place at that time suspended from the balcony level ceiling; during its Cinerama days, all three booths were suspended from that ceiling.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 on Feb 22, 2007 at 6:56 pm

I am sure that there are others who could give a better or more comprehensive answer, but it is clear that motion picture production and distribution now is nowhere near as vertically integrated as it was prior to 1948. The “studio system” basically died with the Consent Decree; now studios basically serve as production facilities and production managers; they don’t often do not own the finished films; they distribute them pursuant to contracts. Theaters now bid to show films and I am sure that there are procedures in place to keep the bidding process open. A glance at the offerings at any large multiplex will show that films from many studios are on exhibition at any given moment, even if the theater is owned by a chain affiliated with a studio.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 on Feb 22, 2007 at 5:04 am

The court action that forced the major studios to divest their related theater chains took place in 1948. I am not a lawyer, but I do know that the major theory of the case was that the studios' control of motion picture distribution through their allied theaters amounted to a vertical monopoly. You can read more about the case here:

View link

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Euclid Theatre on Jan 24, 2007 at 4:23 pm

It sounds like the Oriental was on the site where the East Ohio Gas Building or the former Continental Bank building was later built. I don’t recall the Oriental, but I do remember a penny arcade on Ninth called Jean’s Funny House.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Euclid Theatre on Jan 24, 2007 at 1:22 pm

I am beginning to wonder if there might have been two Euclid theaters in Cleveland at different times. Mike Rivest’s list of theaters for Cleveland shows a Euclid Theater at Ivanhoe and Euclid, and I can vouch for a theater having once operated at that location, although it had closed prior to 1958 when my family moved to the area.

As I noted above, the auditorium section was clearly visible to anyone standing on Ivanhoe looking west, behind a block of stores that fronted on Euclid; it may still be there today. It was also probably a movie theater only as the proscenium end had no apparent stagehouse, which would suggest it was purpose-built for movies, whereas a theater built in 1914 would probably have served a variety of uses.

There was definitely not a Euclid Theater operating at Ninth and Euclid when I lived in Cleveland (1950-1970). Euclid and Ninth Street is an intersection that is very distinctive and well-remembered by me, as my mother worked in an office nearby. The Bond clothing store was on the NW corner; the huge Union Commerce Building was on the NE. On the SE corner was the classic Cleveland Trust building with its dome, and on the SW corner was an office building with a jewelry store and pharmacy at ground level.

The only theaters that I recall from 1950 and after, at or near the intersection, were the Hippodrome and the Embassy facing each other on Euclid and the Roxy burlesque house on Ninth. The next theater on Euclid would have been Loew’s Stillman further east on Euclid at 12th, closer to Playhouse Square.

I think that it is possible the 1914 Euclid was demolished and that the theater at Euclid and Ivanhoe was built some years after and took the name. Perhaps someone with access to those Film Daily Yearbooks or the archives of the Cleveland Plain Dealer could research the question.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Euclid Theatre on Jan 22, 2007 at 8:25 am

There was definitely, however, a theater on the north side of Euclid at Ivanhoe. I grew up about a mile from there, and the portion of the building that would have housed the auditorium and proscenium was visible and readily identifiable for years when I walked down Ivanhoe to Collinwood High School. The theatre had closed before my family moved to the area, but the neighbors occasionally mentioned it. I don’t think it was called the Euclid or the Ivanhoe, but I can’t, for the life of me, recall what it was called. The lobby and entryway were probably converted to stores.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about World East Theatre on Dec 28, 2006 at 4:26 pm

The correct spelling should be “Severance”. John L. Severance was a longtime Cleveland benefactor and Severance Center was built on the grounds of his former estate. He built Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Cinerama Ad-Cleveland, Ohio on Dec 19, 2006 at 5:24 am

At the risk of nit-picking a bit, it’s an ad for the first Cinerama showing of this particular Cinerama film at the Palace, which would have been some time after July, 1958 when it was released. It was one of the last of the original travelogue-type Cinerama films. The first Cinerama film shown at the Palace was “This Is Cinerama” in 1956.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak commented about Apollo Victoria Theatre on Dec 16, 2006 at 6:52 pm

This theatre makes an unusual cameo appearance of sorts in “The Return of the Pink Panther” by clearly serving as the inspiration for the theatre setting for the opening animated credits sequence.