Loew's Jersey Theatre

54 Journal Square,
Jersey City, NJ 07306

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RobMinichino
RobMinichino on November 16, 2008 at 10:07 am

The marquee was indeed restored by FOL and I’ve personally spent many hours working on the marquee. We were very happy to be able to negotiate the purchase and installation of the lamps on the underside of the marquee as part of a commercial shoot contract. Because of our previous restoration work, re-lamping the marquee only required purchasing and installing the bulbs in their sockets. I don’t mean to minimize this because, as anyone who has worked on signs or marquees before can tell you, this is no small feat in itself. Nevertheless, FOL volunteers have done much of the work to get the marquee to its current state. Furthermore, our limited budget and volunteer time require us to make hard decisions on where to direct our resources, and without this shoot we would not have been able to re-lamp the underside of the marquee so soon. In retrospect, seeing how stunning the newly-relamped marquee looks, I think we should have done this sooner!

As far as bird poo is concerned, the publicity room beneath the projection booth, which had its feathered occupants evicted prior to the public opening, suffered a broken window about two years ago and consequently a new pigeon infestation. I’m happy to report that the window was repaired and the room was cleaned once again not long thereafter. It did sit closed-off for some time until we were able to clean it, but as this was an area of the building not accessed by the public or staff (and one which shouldn’t have been included on any tour), this was left until our summer “working months” to clean.

I’m offended that anyone thinks my honest appraisal of the focus situation is “a load of bull.” I must also contradict the assertion that the Delrin gate runners and pressure skate in our projectors have anything to do with focus. I have contacted several technical experts familiar with the Norelco/Kinoton projectors and their Delrin gates, and they agree with my assessment. Even Kinoton’s largest projector, which supports lamphouses much hotter and larger than ours, still has Delrin gate components and works without focus troubles.

Regardless, as I’m installing the Norelco 35/70 projectors that do have metal gate runners, we’ll be able to see the difference if there is any. I’m not expecting this to improve focus, but the new projectors give us the ability to show new film formats. It’ll also give me the ability to send a big “I told you so” to a few of our vocal detractors. :)

No matter what the tone of the comments, I appreciate that they come from a desire to see the Loew’s do better. I share that desire, even though I may disagree with some of your assessments and suggestions, and I spend the greater part of my spare time effecting it. I prefer nice comments, though. :)

mahermusic
mahermusic on November 16, 2008 at 6:55 am

Joseph Serf:

Stop spreading lies. THAT is unacceptable.

a) There’s NO bird droppings anywhere in the projection room. I doubt you have ever been allowed in there, since there now are many thousands of dollars of restored equipment in there. You may have been thinking about the state of the room pre-FOL and pre-restoration, ‘cause there sure aren’t any dead birds laying around. Stop lying.

b) I have been involved with the Loew’s since 1998, and have not noticed plaster being damaged to a greater extent. I HAVE seen steps taken to make sure the plaster does NOT get worse, until the new molds can be created. Stop lying.

c) I think I’ll believe our house projectionist, over someone who’s jealous over the Loew’s Jersey, and doesn’t want them to succeed.

d) FOL restored the marquee back to usable condition (for a LOT less than was quoted to us) back in the mid-90’s. You and your “supposed friend” are a croc. Stop lying.

Oh, and welcome to our board! (but stop lying.)

markp
markp on November 16, 2008 at 4:10 am

Yes Joseph, I too know someone who once was a projectionist there, and he says basically the same things you do. Most of the focus problems are because the gates in the projectors are plastic, as opposed to metal that 99% of projectors use. You couple that with the intense heat comming off the carbon arc, and as my friend said, the gates could melt away.

jserf
jserf on November 16, 2008 at 1:08 am

That NY Times article is a nice piece of propaganda for FOL but not entirely accurate.

The bird shit is still all over the upstairs the last time a volunteer who I know there let me in to see the room. I was even greeted by a dead pigeon on the floor. Charming!

Plaster damage seems to get worse everytime I’m at the Loew’s. That is unacceptable.

The “soft focus” as expressed above is, no offense, a load of bull being offered to people who are dumb enough to believe it. I’ve seen the same prints in NYC and they looked nice and sharp there.

Also, my volunteer friend tells me the marquee was restored for a commercial shoot but the company shooting, NOT by FOL. They should not be taking credit for other peoples' work!

gabedellafave
gabedellafave on November 15, 2008 at 10:40 am

A wonderful article (with several photos) in “The New York Times” about the Loew’s Jersey Theatre:

View link

Check out photo no. 6 and be utterly amazed…

This building is an international treasure.

Altoblanco
Altoblanco on November 13, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Here are the “bonus” films for December:

5 Dec. (Fri.) – “Island Weirdness” double-feature…
8:00PM: Island of Lost Souls (1932, 1:15) â€"– The Most Dangerous Game (1932, 1:03)

6 Dec. (Sat.) – Transitioning from Halloween to Christmas means thrills and chills in-between…
3:00PM: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, 1:16)
7:30PM: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, 1:55)

YMike
YMike on November 13, 2008 at 12:33 pm

I heard from someone I know who works at the Loews that they are trying to get “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” for Dec.6.

Altoblanco
Altoblanco on November 3, 2008 at 5:39 pm

There will be no classic films in November. This is due to the unavailability of prints for what would have been a “James Bond Weekend” (most likely being “held back” due to the upcoming release of “Quantum of Solace” on November 14th). Instead the Friends have tentatively scheduled a “make-up” weekend for 5-6 December, theme not specified, featuring at least one major “blockbuster” movie, title(s) TBA.

This means back-to-back December film weekends, with a “Holiday” series featuring “The Bishop’s Wife” and “Oliver!” on the evenings of Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th respectively. In addition, Santa will “visit” the theatre on Saturday afternoon. There will also be live entrance music playing ½ hour before each show on the “Wonder Morton” organ, with the likelihood of an audience sing-a-long as part of the program.

Altoblanco
Altoblanco on October 27, 2008 at 5:18 pm

I stand corrected – it was 870 for “Phantom of the Opera” (I heard wrong) – even better!

I knew it was going to be a big draw, but this was truly beyond my highest expectations.

A special “thank you” to patrons is posted on the Friends of the Loew’s Web site.

Altoblanco
Altoblanco on October 27, 2008 at 2:10 pm

I am pleased to announce that the “Phantom of the Opera” silent film and organ presentation on October 25th set a new attendance record for an FOL movie screening: 817 (according to one of the ticket sellers)! This beat out other major film events, such as the “All About Eve” screening with guest Celeste Holm (earlier this year). From what I am told, it smashed the previous record held by the screening of the rare 1910 Edison Studio version of “Frankenstein” back in April 2003. A second ticket desk had to be opened to accommodate the crowd, which stretched around the corner and up to Magnolia Avenue.

Ralph Ringstad’s performance was sheer brilliance â€" he composed, as well as played, the original score himself! He never missed a beat and his cues were spot on. And talk about dedication – not only did he perform almost three hours (one hour of entrance music and almost two hours for the movie), he was at the theatre all day (since early morning) practicing and preparing for that evening’s show. Loew’s Jersey is truly privileged to have him as the house organist.

This has been a particularly trying week, with the Magnetic Fields rock concert on Thursday night (almost 1300 in attendance) plus film screenings the following two days. The FOL volunteer staff, operating on a skeleton crew, has been stretched to its limits. Considering all of this, the presentation this weekend, especially Saturday night, couldn’t have been any better. Everyone who contributed deserves credit for this tremendous success.

There is the annual Halloween family event coming up this Friday evening (Oct. 31st @ 6 p.m.), with a crowd of about 800 expected. The theatre needs many volunteers to fill specific positions at this event (as well as to decorate and set-up in advance preparation), so come and show your support!

RobMinichino
RobMinichino on October 27, 2008 at 9:29 am

Hi, I’m Robert Minichino, the new technical director at the Loew’s Jersey, and I’d like to respond to some of the comments about our film presentation. First, I apologize for any impression of surliness on the part of any of the FOL staff. I would like everyone to know that I always welcome polite, constructive criticism on any aspect of our presentation. If you would like to make any comments after the movie, feel free to ask for me. I’m always there on movie nights and I’ll be happy to talk with you as I’m keenly interested in providing the best possible presentation of our classic film program to our patrons.

Certainly we could have been more diligent in the past with keeping the image focused, but I am aware of the issue and I do try to keep on top of it all the time. From my perspective it has gotten better as one of our volunteer projectionists has gotten more experience. It is difficult to focus from the booth, and we continue to have people in the orchestra monitoring the focus for us. There’s no excuse for us being out of focus where it can be corrected with a simple adjustment. I’d like to say that we do our best, and I’m happy that this statement is increasingly true.

As MBD mentioned above, we do find that some prints have parts that are out of focus. On our large screen this effect is painfully obvious, particularly from the front rows. Oftentimes we will get a call up to the booth during these scenes and we are unable to improve the focus. In fact, through our binoculars we can often see the film grain sharply defined on the screen at these moments. These problems seem to be confined to older B&W prints as we haven’t noticed the same issues with, for example, new color films. I understand that this can be particularly frustrating and distracting, and unfortunately the only remedy I can offer is to sit further back from the screen.

Bob Furmanek had mentioned above that there is a problem with focus drift and the use of our Kinoton projectors, and I must respectfully disagree. At least after Bob Eberenz had installed water-cooled gates with heat filters and additional forced-air cooling, I haven’t found any long-term focus drift issues with our projectors in the past few years. I have no experience with any issues that existed before this time as I was not yet involved with the theatre. However, we still do have some focus flutter, particularly with dark scenes on B&W film stock, but this would be unavoidable for any theater with our screen and lamphouse size. Our projectors do have curved gates, which does help, and I can’t imagine that any other projector would be much better in this regard.

Finally, the steep downward projection angle (19 degrees) combined with fast lenses and their concomitant shallow depth of field means that we can’t always have the entire image in perfect focus. You would notice this effect as the image being more in-focus in the middle than at the top and bottom. Some formats exhibit this problem worse than others. This can be alleviated with the use of perspective-correction adapters that allow us to shift the projected image off of the optical center axis. Once this is done, the projectors can be tilted at a less steep angle, which reduces both keystone distortion and focus issues. Unfortunately, these adapters are expensive and we are operating on a very tight budget. Thankfully, without correction this effect is still slight even on our worst format, and shouldn’t be obvious or distracting.

I’m trying to fill some awfully big shoes now that Mr. Eberenz has left us. It is my foremost desire to do justice to his work and memory as well as to our beautiful movie palace by providing the best possible presentation through my work with all of the FOL staff.

LuisV
LuisV on October 27, 2008 at 7:45 am

What’s wrong with the intro photo? If anything, the photo is better than the current exterior as the marquee is not the original and kind of mars the Jersey. I hope the day comes when the monstrous current marquee is relaced with a beautiful replica of the original.

MPol
MPol on October 26, 2008 at 9:57 pm

The Loews Jersey looks like a beautiful movie palace of a theatre, and a perfect place to show great golden oldie-but-goody classic films such as Dr. Zhivago, West Side Story, Lawremce of Arabia and many others. However, I do agree that the photo on the front of this page doesn’t look like it does this theatre any justice.

swampdevil
swampdevil on October 26, 2008 at 8:28 pm

What a great weekend at the Loews.Sat in particular,with Ralph Ringstad jr on the wonder organ.The phantom of the opera was just a thrilling movie expierience.The crowd was estimated at a whopping 870!!

jserf
jserf on October 21, 2008 at 8:28 am

Talk about the best Groucho Marx impersonation I’ve ever seen!

gabedellafave
gabedellafave on October 16, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Yes, Colin is still there. Talk about loyalty and commitment to a cause!

depaul420
depaul420 on October 15, 2008 at 9:51 am

Just wondering..

Is Colin still involved with the theater?

I havent been there since 1996/7….

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on October 15, 2008 at 4:24 am

Paul: Your pictures are wonderful. Thanks!

Something’s wrong with either me or my camera. I’ve never been able to take even a halfway-decent picture inside the Loew’s auditorium.

I love the way the Stanley auditorium looks like it’s situated under an open outdoor sky when all those ceiling lights are on.

pjacyk
pjacyk on October 14, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Sure had a great time at the Wonder Morton organ shows. A very happy and relaxing weekend trip. Drove all the way from Ohio. Can hardly wait to get back there again for another organ show.

Here are some pictures of the weekend’s events, Wonder Morton, Loew’s Theatre and people.

http://www.gstos.org/ww/ww-event-photos.htm

mahermusic
mahermusic on October 14, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Lighting under the balcony is reached by a ladder. Lighting on the top is reached by the catwalks, which encircle the coves. Little metal circles (we call them pie plates) are taken off to reach in to the sockets.

gabedellafave
gabedellafave on October 14, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Instead of “catwalk” I meant to say “gridiron.” Has anyone been up there? Just curious. I’m not going up there.

gabedellafave
gabedellafave on October 14, 2008 at 3:46 pm

You’re a brave man, Bob. I wouldn’t dare do what you did. I’m afraid of gaping holes, especially when I don’t know how deep they are. I know the lights you are talking about. Their cleaning and restoration did a lot to bring out the beauty of the front upper side walls. Until they were on, I never noticed that “clam shell” effect in the walls. It also brings out that “jeweled” curtain in front of the organ chamber. When are they going to put the left side “jeweled” curtain back up? I hope it is somewhere safe and sound. It has to be 100 feet high at least.

AND…how on earth do they change the lightbulbs in the main dome in the auditorium? Scaffold or through a little door way up high? Either way, the prospect terrifies me.

The most amazing vertigo inducing place I know of in the Loew’s is the “endless” and open flights of stairs to the stage catwalk.

You hit the nail on the head, Bruce: “Everyone should thank there lucky stars that they have a huge movie palace such as the Loew’s Jersey showing American movie classics.”

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on October 14, 2008 at 1:20 pm

I know things are not always perfect and yes people who run the Jersey should listen and improve on the projection of its films. Everyone should thank there lucky stars that they have a huge movie palace such as the Loew’s Jersey showing American movie classics. Most people who love movies would kill to have a theatre like this where they live.I hope a good deal of money comes there way and they continue to restore such a glorious theatre.brucec

roxy1927
roxy1927 on October 14, 2008 at 11:44 am

I hope the people at the Loew’s read this.
When I have mentioned these things in the past they look at me like I am out of my mind. They are very protective of the place and who can blame them.
I just wish as an audience member you could mention things to them and they did not start to bristle.
I have given up on complaining about the focus. And I am sure if I spoke to them about the problems with Flesh and the Devil I would have been banned from the theater for life. Thank God for anonymity on these sites! As well if I were on the staff and noted these issues I would be considered a troublemaker and I am not joking.
What Collin has done is truly amazing in fact it is downright astonishing. But he does remind me of that line in Funny Girl where Walter Pidgeon says to Streisand “this is my theater,” and she responds, “so nobody argues with the landlord?”

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on October 14, 2008 at 11:39 am

Allow me to share a story about lighting in the Jersey.

About 7 years ago, Bob Eberenz and I were tracing out speaker lines in the catwalks above the theater. I noticed two ladders that went down on either side of the auditorium into total darkness. Armed with a flashlight and a prayer, I descended the ladder not sure what I would find. About 20 feet down, I found myself behind the side wall on the top of the organ chamber. Looking into the tiny access space, I spotted ancient light bulbs. None of them were working. Nobody was even aware that lighting existed in that particular area of the auditorium!

So I climbed back up and armed myself with a dozen 100 watt bulbs. With one hand holding the ladder and another holding the bulb, I reached as far as I could into the little space and began changing the bulbs. One by one, they lit and I could see how much light they were throwing onto the area. All went well until one of the sockets had a bad circuit and sparked. It scared the heck out of me and it was a good thing I had a strong grip on the ladder. There was a good ten feet between me and the side wall, and the area below me descended into total darkness. I’m not sure how long the drop was and I certainly didn’t want to find out!

When I got back to the projection booth, I was absolutely pitch black from all the dirt. Thank goodness I had worn a protective mask, but my nostrils were still full of black soot.

But the payoff when I got to the orchestra level was worth it. There for the first time in probably 50 years, was lighting above the side chambers throwing a warm glow onto the ornate walls above them. That lighting is still working today. Check it out the next time you are there.

My point to this story is not to take credit for some achievement in the theater (and I hope my use of the first person is not offensive) but to illustrate that the lighting you are seeing now is greatly minimized from what originally existed. When all of the balcony rail lights and side wall lighting is restored, and all the cove and dome lighting is replaced, you will see the beautiful architecture in this magnificent theater come to life once again!