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I did read your post on some other theatre ‘page’ and recall you giving me the Dietner name and other bits of information. Could you elaborate on the ‘Grand’ tour you took? The when, who, what, where and how of it? :–)
Thanks for your comments as I figured it was heavily Jesus-based which is fine except that it sounds “too heavy handed for the setting” and in my opinion a bit “over the top” so will think twice about going to see the show mext season now! Is it me or is Christmas and the holiday season in general just not what it used to be? I mean in reference to all of this talk about saying Merry Christmas over Happy Holidays, etc. It was a more simple time back in the 50’s, I think…now everyone’s remark is examined and disected! The holidays seem to fly by and maybe that’s a good thing! :–(
Sam_e: You took the words right out of my mouth….“I’m curious to know just what the ‘message’ is”! I know when we lived in FL and would attend the First Baptist Singing Christmas Tree it was and still is close to 3 hours in length. The reason being the program is done in 2 parts with an intermission. The first half is Toyland and Santa etc. and the second half is very secular with the entire story of Jesus, from birth to death on the cross…complete with the pounding of Jesus to the cross. I know that it scares some children and feel that the Easter story should NOT be a part of the Christmas story, but that’s only my humble opinion. Our friends would ask us what we thought each year and I was never one to hold back my opinion though we usually went each year knowing full well that the format would probably remain the same.
Come by the RCMH site as a couple of posters have really been talking about their RCMH memories…good, bad and otherwise.
I was surprised to read that the number of Rockettes on stage has been reduced! :–(
Vincent and CC: Boy, between the 2 of you I’m learning ALOT about RCMH and the Christmas Show over the years! Thanks!
Richard G: Thanks so very much for your ‘grand’ information, but I want to be sure we’re talking about the same Grand Theatre as many were named that…..the one I’m referring to is in Westfield NY on Route 20. A friend of mine who has sent me some b/w photos of the Grand and a few newspaper articles mentions the last owner being a Theodore Blakley of Erie PA, but the name Deitner is not mentioned. You mentioned the Angola Drive-In, but are you aware of the restored theatre in Angola? Hamburg friends of ours took us there one day 2 summers ago. You also mentioned the Drive-In Theatre Motel so I assume you are referring to the one by that name that was also in Westfield. If your tour was inside the Westfield Grand, I would love chatting with you more about this visit…how it occurred, what more you may recall, etc.? It was art deco in style and set on the corner of Main and N. Portage Streets. The candy counter was on the left as you walked in and you could see the screen from that vantage point. It had a particular smell upon entering the theatre that wasn’t bad just a memory that I hold dear, now and the floor between the rows, not the carpeted aisle was usually sticky from spilled pop! My longtime girlfriend and I went to see our first movie
together there and it saw Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson and Doris Day! I plan to meet with the last manager of the theatre in May and also meet with a man who was involved with the demolition committee. If you go to My Profile, you’ll find my email address for further discussion of this theatre. BTW, I plan to visit the Riveria Theater in N. Tonawanda NY this coming summer also as that theatre still gives organ concerts!
CConnolly: Thanks for your RCMH memories! Your then 8 year old sounds like quite the lady…another Natalie Wood in “Miracle”!
CConnolly: I never thought that I’d get such response from fellow theatre buffs about the present RCMH Christmas Spectacular which I guess isn’t so ‘spectacular’ anymore. If I ever got the chance to see it though, I’d at least go just to see the beautifully restored hall and those wonderful Rockettes. I always sit and watch them in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade…it’s not the beginning of the holidays for me until I see the ‘old world’ Santa and those Rockettes…then and only then does the turkey get put in the oven! If you’re in NYC, walk by the Christmas windows for me on 5th Avenue. My favorite Christmas movie is White Christmas, but a close second is Miracle on 42nd Street with Natalie Wood. Who played Santa in that movie and Natalie’s parents? Didn’t Maureen O'Hara play her mother?
I have a RCMH story to relay. My husband and I were visiting friends on Long Island the year before 9/11 and our friends decided to take us into Manhattan. We toured the World Trade Center on an overcast day (will now always remember our special visit one year before tragedy struck our nation). We later entered the lobby of RCMH. I saw there was a line and figured it was for the Christmas Spectacular which it probably was, but the line was probably also for folks wanting to take the RCMH tour which is available on Sundays (the day we were there)! Our hosts didn’t think to ask for us and so we left. On the way home the next day I was looking through my Fodor book on NYC and read that tours are available at RCMH on Sundays! :–((((
Ok, have found the RCMH site and now have it among my favorites…don’t we all! So I will now read what has been written about this wonderful theatre which such history in the Big Apple! Thanks Vincent and others!
Vincent: Thanks so much for your honesty in regards to segments other than the Rockettes. I’m sure you are probably right about the Nativity scene and it looking like it was produced by a “midwestern Christian Fundamentalist”. LOL! Times have certainly changed and not for the better, it seems. Enlighten me on who Leonidoff was in connection to RCMH. Thanks. And where do I find this “Hall” page? Would your comments in regards to the RCMH be on the Cinema Treasures page of listed architects?
I would imagine anyone posting on the old Zieg is probably from NYC or living in the NYC area so if anyone can give me their personal RCMH thoughts including the Christmas Spectacular that would be great! Thanks. :–)
Dave-Bronx: I have to ask you….since you live in the Bronx-NYC have you ever gone to see the RCMH Christmas Spectacular? I’m still waiting to go someday even though it may not be at RCMH. It came to the Shea’s in Buffalo this year, but I wasn’t able to attend. :–( RCMH has to be right up there with some of the most spectacular movie palaces in the country. I can say, though, that I’ve seen the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA. It is an ‘atmospheric’ theatre with an organ as so many of today’s theatre’s don’t have their original organs or any organ! :–(
Troy W: Sure was nice to read your lengthy and informative reply to my Polar comments. So now if anyone is considering whether to see Polar in 3D or a regular version they now know which to choose! The faces and ‘realness’ was superb! One question: If one were to sit closer to an IMAX screen would it be the same as sitting half way back or further? We weren’t able to sit in the very center as that fills up first usually and the day we went it was mostly senior citizens rather than children. Two things happened…..a man was sitting in the row next to us and his seat was fell between me and my husband’s seat the way they lined up and he was wearing a baseball type cap. I eventually moved over and then my husband HAD to ask him to remove his hat which he did so as a suggestion to others please be considerate and remove your hat before the start of a wonderful movie or any movie, for that matter. Thanks. And the second thing that happened was this…….2 ladies and a man were behind us and when the first snow scene appeared before our faces and the snowflakes seemed like they were falling within arms reach I overheard the man say “that’s the closest I want to be to snow”. I waited patiently until the movie was over and as I was leaving I turned to the 2 ladies and the man and said “do you know what the best thing was about that movie? and before they could reply to me I said…."The Snow” as I pointed my finger at the man who made that snow remark in the first place!
Wow, this atmospheric theatre is located on Burdick Street in Kalamazoo….that’s my maiden name! And it still has its ORIGINAL Barton organ installation! Congratulations!
If anyone is concerning the purchase of Cinema Treasures I’m here to tell you that I just rec’d my copy and am very pleased!
I recently saw Polar Express in 3D and if you have a chance to see this movie in 3D over seeing it in a regular theatre go for the 3D version as it is well-worth it! It’s a beautiful movie and with the 3D aspect it really brings the movie to life even more!
Did realize this was considered an “atmospheric” theatre.
I have read that Joseph (seen it as Josef) Urban was also involved in the Paramount Theatre in Palm Beach FL.
Sorry, but the other cinema website is www.cinematour.com
If you go to www.cinematours.com you can read additional information on the Palace Theatre in Waterbury CT and others. KenRoe told me about this site.
I now plan to go to Asheville to see the Fine Arts Theatre on Biltmore Avenue and while there will check out the 2004 Gingerbread Competition winners at the Grove Park Inn now until January 17th.
The remains of the Palmetto Theater looks about like the Carolina Theatre’s lobby area which is gone. I know that Myrtle Beach has the Palace Theatre, but wondered why it isn’t listed for theatres in South Carolna. Many years ago the RCMH Christmas Spectacular was at the Palace.
The exact quote from the Carolina Theatre Timeline (Oct 1988) is “City Fair opens but work is halted due to escalating cost. City Fair has already gutted the building removing almost all the decorative and ornate objects from the theatre. The stage area is rebuilt to accommodate the planned seating area for the restaurant. Carly Capital Co. who owns City Fair talks city into de-listing theatre from local historic register. The steel beams that were needed for the restaurant would not fit through the old lobby so it had to be torn down.” Now this is truly unbelieveable and almost made me faint when I read it! In Sept 1982 the Carolina was placed on the local Historic Register only to be “de-listed” in 1988 so it was on the list for a short 6 years!