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Hello From NYC-
I was wondering if all the sound and projection
upgrades the Chinese has gotten in the last year
and a half have really increased the patronage
that much. I’m thinking that however well done
the upgrades are whatever big film is playing
the Chinese is also playing at several other
theaters in the surrounding area.
Hello- speaking of a little tibit of info. I went to
the 12p.m. show of TAAOU in the main Loews auditorium
and was shocked it was virtually empty.
its funny you should mention the Paris since the
Ziegfeld and the Paris are the only two single screen
1st run theaters left in Manhattan. and to answer
your question as to why the Paris unlike the
Ziegfeld still gets exclusive 1st runs. the Paris
has always been an art house and has never to the
best of my knowledge shown big studio type films.
so while it has shown many prestigious award winning
films, most recently The Imitation Game whatever
films play at the Paris only get art house releases.
I am dating myself but I can remember quite well
when screenings at the Ziegfeld were close to capacity
if not actually sold out. the reason this has not
happened in years is simple- the Ziegfeld no longer
gets exclusive runs of big studio film. the reason
for the low attendance at this theater is that
whatever big studio film is playing is also playing
at 12 other theaters in Manhattan. it has nothing to
do with the theater or the location.
I think the new set up at the 84 St. theater is a
rip off. even if a particular auditorium has 5 people
in it the basically force you to pay more for a
reserved seat. its the same at the Cinema 1 on
3rd. Ave. the regular price is now $17 making it
the most expensive regular ticket price in the city.
in fact I went to see Mr. Turner there. I arrived
several minutes before the film was due to begin
but the line at the box office was sooooooo long
since everyone was forced to pick a reserved seat
that I missed the beginning of the film. in my
opinion this reserved seat policy is just theater
onwers way of squeezing more $$$ out of moviegoers.
i assumed this website was for people interested
and wanted to chat about the history of movie theaters of which roadshow engagements played a significant
part at least for the 7 theaters I listed.
so to answer you question i am just curious. i don’t
appreciate your assumption i’m trying to squeeze info
from you for a book.
Hello to Coate-
as you have suggested i now define the prime
roadshow period with having started with the
Sept. 1952 opening of This Is Cinerama rather
than the Oct. 1955 opening of Oklahoma. to which
during this period there were 7 Times Square
movie theaters that the studios used for their
roadshow engagements- Criterion, Loews State,
RKO Palace, Demille ,Warner , Rivoli and the
Loews Capitol. now do you know of any roadshow
engagements that played the 7 theaters listed
during the prime roadshow period that did not
have a souvenir program and or intermission?
I suppose you’re right and that the modern roadshow
era as I call it should start with the release of
This Is Cinerama Sept. of 1952 and not the Oct. 1955
opening of Oklahoma.
likewise I suppose The Last Tango in Paris should be
considered the last prime roadshow by a big company
namely United Artists which also released Man of La
Mancha. but Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter’s
exclusive Manhattan runs were actually reserved
performance engagements not traditional reserved seat
ones. likewise Napoleon’s engagement at Radio City
Music Hall was a special limited run not part of a
also have you actually read Movie Roadshows by Kim Holston from cover to cover? I find it a fascinating
book since its the only one I have ever come across
on the subject but its loaded with factual errors.
for instance he states the 1962 film version of
Gypsy opened on a roadshow run but doesn’t state
where. plus here’s a big no no-one of the last
traditional roadshow engagements in Manhattan
The Trojan Women which opened Nov. of 1971 at the
Fine Arts is mentioned nowhere in the book.
I refer to the period of Oct. 1955 with the release
of Oklahoma to the Dec. 1972 release of Man of La
Mancha as the modern roadshow era. to which a question.
the release pattern for roadshow films basically
followed a three part process-a) the original roadshow
run b)a subsequent continuous performance run at a
1st run theater in Manhattan and c)spreading out to
NYC many neighborhood theaters. to which does anyone
know of a film other than The Sound of Music that was
never cut/tweaked etc….. at any point in the three
part release pattern?
the new admission price of $17 is a total
rip off. i don’t see what reserved seating
accomplishes other than more $$$ for the
theater. its not like the old days of 2
performance a day roadshow movies.
to put it simply i can’t stand reserved seating.
i don’t see what it accomplishes. its not like the
old days of 2 shows a day roadshow movies.
as a fellow poster said these large theaters cost
way to much to heat during the winter and cool during
the summer. plus the last nail in the coffin for
these large theaters was the end of exclusive first
runs whether roadshow or continuous performance and
wide or showcase releases. for the Roxy the cost of
heating it nowadays would be astronomical and far
more than any hit film could bring in.
on this site’s pages for many of the late but great
beloved movie palaces people are always lamenting
their demolition. but as grand and glorious as these
movie palaces were by 1959-1960 they had become just
plan economically unviable as single screen 1st run
movie theaters. in fact even as revival theaters
they would have been even more economically unviable.
people forget its called show “business” not show
that is most certainly true but those plaques
honoring former Loews theaters are in many cases
wrong. for instance the one for the Capitol says it
was torn down at the end of 1967 which we all
know is not true.
i thank my fellow posters for their replies. I
still would love to know why Paramount chose
not to open it on a roadshow engagement.
also I wonder what the audience’s reaction wasin 1956 to seating thru a 3hr. 28min. film withno intermission.
the book I mentioned does in fact state that W&P’s
run at the Capitol was a roadshow engagement. in fact
one of the last roadshow runs in Manhattan The Trojan
Women starring Katherine Hepburn played the Fine
Arts Nov. 1971 is mentioned nowhere in the book. in
my review on Amazon where I bought it I suggested
the author do a revised edition to correct all the
three quick questions about War and Peace from 1956.
*it was a large scale historical epic the
typical roadshow material and just about
3 and a half hours. so why didn’t Paramount
choose a roadshow run for it?
*since it was 3hrs. 28mins. did it at least
have an intermission? eventhough as you say
it was run on a continuous performance basis
I can’t believe they’d run such a long film
*since it was a prestigious exclusive 1st run
engagement did it at least have a souvenir
the traditional soft cover souvenir program
for The Lion In Winter that i own was also
published by Ronark Pub. i don’t have a souvenir
program for Patton. i saw it at my local theater
not during its roadshow run at the Criterion.
since Tora Tora Tora also from Fox had a program
when it opened in Nov. i should think Patton
did as well.
also my collection of 137 movie souvenir programs
spans the years 1925 -1997.
thanks for your reply. according to “Movie Roadshows”
by Kim Holston is was a roadshow run. 3hrs. 28mins.
seems awfully long certainly in 1956 for a continuous
performance film without an intermission.
this past Tues. Paramount Home Video released a
blu-ray disc of War and Peace from 1956. to which
i have two questions.
*the blu-ray disc has a running time of 3hrs. 28mins but there’s no intermission. i can’t believe the film didn’t have an intermission during its roadshow run.
*i have a rather large collection of souvenir
programs. now in all the years i’ve been collecting
them and in all the memorabilia shops i’ve been
in i have never come across a souvenir program
for War and Peace. did it not have one?
I thank my fellow posters for any info about Circus
World’s Cinerama reserved seat engagement at the
Uptown. granted its not Oscar material but I found it
even on vhs to be a corny hokey enjoyable popcorn
movie. so I should think on a giant curved screen
with stereophonic sound it would have been that much
more enjoyable. to which its roadshow run of only
3 weeks at the Uptown is just utterly bizarre when
you consider its roadshow runs in other cities lasted
from 15 to 23 weeks.
since this is the movie theater in Manhattan
today i have a question for my fellow Ziegfeld
devotees. the 1st time movies or flickers as they
were called were projected on screen in a
theater before a paying audience was the night
of April 25, 1896 at Koster and Bail’s Music
Hall on 34th St.. and the rest as they say is
history. now for the first several of the biz
whatever “movie theaters” existed in Manhattan
were music halls, vaudville theaters, legitmate
theaters or decent sized unused retail spaces
that were simply converted top show movies.
which is where my question comes in. i have been
trying to determine what was the 1st theater built
in Manhattan brick by brick by the ground up with
the purpose of being a picture house to use the old term. anyone have any clues?
I always thought the Cinema Village which has
been a beacon for film goers for at 50?
years was built from the ground up as a movie
theater. but I read it was actually built within
the gutted skeletal structure of an 1890s
firehouse. how much of the firehouse actually
Hello Again From NYC-
thanks for all the replies. I know I set a rather
tight parameter but I was interested in what grand old time theaters other than the Chinese that were
built from the get go as 1st run venues have continued
to operate as such since the day they opened. the area in an around Hollywood is luck they have 3 that fit my criteria, Manhattan doesn’t have any.
also where is the Vista?
to Roger A.–
thanks for your quick reply. unfortunately the
grand El Capitan doesn’t qualify since it wasn’t
built as a movie theater. it opened in 1926 as
a legitimate theater for live shows and didn’t
start showing films till Citizen Kane in 1941.
so based on your reply other than the Chinese the
Village and Bruin theaters both in Westwood are
the only old time movie theaters in or around Hollywood
that were built from the get go as 1st run venues and
have continued to operate as such since the day they opened?
to Bill H.–
I know what you mean about Oscar bait films not
living up to the hype. I saw Birdman based on all
the Oscar juggernaut/hoopla talk. well it was 2hrs.
of my life wasted i’ll never get back. and the final
third or resolution section of Gone Girl totally ruined the film for me.