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RIP National. My favorite Los Angeles theatre is going dark.
Since people are making suggestions on what one could do with it I might as well:
Turn it into a 21 and older movie pub/bar (helps pay the rent) and keep the 70’s decor. Then use the National and its giant screen and superb presentaion to show classic 70mm films and other rep programming.
Just a dream. Guess I am gradually being forced to going to multiplexes….
Has this closing been confirmed by Mann?
Bummer! Cinematour recently posted shots I took in summer 2006.
Per IMDB website under trivia for “Zodiac”:
“David Fincher decided to use the Thomson Viper FilmStream camera to shoot the entire film, making this the first feature film shot exclusively with the camera, and in the uncompressed digital video format. Zodiac is the first "Hollywood Studio Production” shot with the VIPER and in an uncompressed digital “data” Format. The first ever shot feature Film shot entirely with the VIPER is the British independent production Silence Becomes You (2005) by director Stephanie Sinclaire. After Silence Becomes You, other independent European Movie-Productions like Highlander: The Source (2007) (director Brett Leonard) and Scorpion (2007) (director: Julien Seri) have used the same work flow."
Confusion must have been that this was the forst time for this particular camera.
The Tacoma Public Library has some great pictures of the Tacoma Mall Theatre including the grand opening gala, lobby replete with the famous chandeliers, and auditorium (pre-split) with its deep curved screen:
Yes, what about Star Wars II & III, Superman Returns…
Sad. No wonder they booked “Shooter” at the Bruin and “TMNT” at the Festival (both smaller theatres) this past weekend and moved “Zodiac” over to the National. Too bad there is no preservation protection for theatres of this era.
Question for anyone who remembers this theatre:
In the pictures on the FilmTech website:
In the picture of the big auditorium there is a blue glow around the screen and that lights up lines of what could appear to be a GCC trademark “Shadowbox”/“Picture Window” screen. I was told in a thread on Cinematour that it was blue felt masking the screen. However was that blue felt applied to a shadowbox screen with fixed 2:35 masking or is there no shadowbox and a standard adjustable aspect ratio masking that happens to be made of blue felt?
Another from the 80’s on FilmTech (along with the kaleidascope one we have all seen):
Look under “Videos” if it is not in the recent warehouse additions any longer.
I saw Rocky VI there back in January and it is the same. Personally for me I like the retro 60’s interior just the way it is. Part of it’s charm. The only thing I would do is put in new seats and paint the ceiling.
This week you can see “Zodiac” at the National. It moved over from the Bruin. Now you watch the movie at the theatre where filmed scenes! Too bad they didn’t just open “Zodiac” at the National. In earlier days they probably would have as its a Paramount Picture. Now the National just seems to get the leftovers and the move-overs. Sad.
The Tacoma Mall Twin Theatre has a long lost cousin in Lakewood CA! In 1968 Pacific Theatres opened an identical theatre to the Tacoma Mall Theatre in Lakewood, California. And it still exists. Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but I think United Theatres, a Pacific Theatres company, built the Tacoma Mall theatre.
The same chandeliers that graced the Tacoma Mall Twin during its life STILL HANG at Pacific’s Lakewood Center 16! The 2 theatres have had rather different lives however. Where Tacoma Mall Theatre’s auditorium was twinned (one big, one medium sized) the Lakewood kept its large 1200 seat auditorium intact and added screens in 1974 and 1999 resulting in a 16-plex.
I have not been in the theatre, but peeked in the lobby windows before business hours and saw the chandeliers, the curved lobby, similar box office, everything that would make fans of the old Tacoma Mall Twin feel nostalgic. I hope to get down to see a film someday. Hopefully they have not altered the large auditorium too much so I can see what Tacoma’s was like before twinning.
Here is a link to a newspaper article that shows a model for the Lakewood (look familiar?):
Here is Cinematour’s photo and detailsof the Lakewood: (again, look familiar?):
I found other photos on some website, both old and new (including the inside of the large auditorium!), however, since they are not my property I shouldn’t post them. I will try to find the link again.
Although I personally cannot make a statement on this, several Directors of Photography that I have worked with have commented that Digital cannot yet match the rich color saturation that film offers.
I have never been too happy with any digital presentation I have seen. Part of this is because of how hyper real it is without the flicker, etc. But part of me is just nostalgic and old fashioned. I love movies, warts and all! Scratches, reel markers, hisses, pops and all! ANything that reminds me that I am watching film and not video.
Digital Cinema will never be 70mm.
Wow Paul! I would love to see them. First, have you sent them into Cinematour? I know they would love to post them. Second, would you be happen to be a Mac person and know how to drop photos on an iDisk? I am also going to shoot you an email…
Dan, I have seen pictures of the Eastgate on Cinematour and my mouth waters. What a shame it is now closed.
Regarding the Coliseum, I was surprised by the 70mm Dune showing. I wonder how the sound was, being that it seemed that all 35mm presentations there were mono. (or at least never advertised as stereo). Did they only have stereo when it was 6-Track Magnetic? The Coliseum also had the exclusive 70mm showing of Clan of the Cave Bear. I never had a chance to go to the Coliseum but always wanted to (more for curiousity factor and the fact that it was an old palace). It pains me that it is a Banana Republic now.
One unfortunate thing back in the 80’s when I was a teen was that films in the Seattle Area were usually booked almost exclusively with one chain or another. So, if that chain was Luxury Theatres, you almost had no choice unless you wanted to go for a long drive. An example would be the Bond films “Octopussy” in 1983 and “Living Daylights” in 1987. Both were almost exclusive Luxury Theatre bookings, so if you wanted to hear the films in Dolby Stereo, forget it! Luckily we had no Luxury Theatres in Tacoma and I was able to see “Octopussy” on the giant Temple Theatre screen in Dolby and “The Living Daylights” at SRO’s Tacoma South in Dolby.
BTW I saw the only other Western Washington 70mm “Dune” presenation, a second run showing for $2 at the Temple Theatre in Tacoma. The presenation there was rather impressive.
Dan, Yes they did indeed have comfortable high back chairs. At the Puyallup 6, however, it was only in the back half of the auditorium.
Just for your nostalgia, here are pictures of the Luxury Theatres horrible color scheme at the Lacey 8:
I thought that Act III had given the same makover to the Kent 6 that they did to the Puyallup 6. Here are pictures of the Puyallup 6 post-Act-III-ization:
I have to admit, not a bad job, considering how they used to be. While we are in a dumping-on-Luxury Theatres mood, here is one of my favorite Puyallup 6 moments: During a screening of “Trek” (a strange documentary that I cannot find anywhere, not even listed on IMDB!) the projectionist misses a projector changover. The screen goes bright white as the tail of the film leaves the gate. Then, the projectionist opens the port window and calls down to the audience that there will be a brief intermission, as if it was a regularly scheduled event. (It probably was at this theatre).
My other pet peeve with these theatres was that they had heavy wood doors to the auditoriums with latches that clicked whenever the doors were opened or closed. The doors also went directly from the hallway into the aisle with no light trap. Every auditorium had 2 doors. I have seen many Self -Storage Buildings with more thoughtful design, architechture, lighting, color schemes etc. The difference between these theatres and the nice SRO builds of the same area were night and day. At least Luxury got their act together when they built the Alderwood 7, Crossroads 8, and the Lloyds Center (in Portland) in the late 80’s (Luxury Theatres with THX and 70MM! Who would have expected it!).
Please keep dumping! Ah, the memories…
This theatre was built by Tom Moyer’s Luxury Theatres in the early 80’s. “Luxury” is really not how these theatres should be described. In fact all they were quite bad and built on the ultra-cheap. Only a makeover by Act III Theatres in the 90’s brought them to any sense of normalcy in presentation and comfort. (Although the fixed aspect ratio screens stayed). Regal was quick to shut it down after taking over operations.
All of the above could be said for the nearby Puyallup 6 cinemas, a clone of the Kent 6. My family took us kids to see Mr. Mom on opening weekend of the Puyallup 6 in 1983. After we left we all felt it was worst 1st run theatre we had ever been to. It was even worse than many of the 2nd run houses in the area.
The Kent 6 is definitely not a Cinema “Treasure”.
Question: Are there any pictures out there of the post-conversion balcony auditoriums? Just curious.
I too love the Egyptian from my Seattle days. Have they cushioned the old wood seats in the loge? I wonder when they sell out the theatre if they sell tickets for all those seats as well. As I recall, some were behind posts or faced the center of auditorium, perpendicular to the screen (no doubt because the auditorium was not originally conceived as a theatre).
As well as “Mulholland Drive” and an upcoming Sci-Fi Noir thriller tentatively titled “Dark Streets”
Its too bad there are not any proper double-bill revival houses left in the Los Angeles area, with the notable exception of the New Beverly (where the presentation was a bit lacking a few years ago, but have sice upgraded to Dolby Stereo!) I was recently in Melbourne, Australia, and visited the Astor Theatre, a spectacular revival house combining old art-deco movie palace glamour, revival house programming, a large screen, and top-noch presentation (Dolby Digital, DTS Digital, and several 70mm engaements a month). This is the theatre I wish the Rialto could be (although the Rialto could never have a screen the size of the Astor’s). I think in the U.S. home video and DVD has killed off such theatres, even in cities such as LA. It’s too bad. There is nothing like seeing a classic on the big screen. I got some good pics of the Astor and plan to post them on Cinematour at some point. Until then you can see it at:
http://www.astor-theatre.com/ (check out the calendar!)
If you are ever in Melbourne…
Saw a matinee of Superman Returns as a “farewell” to the theatre this weekend and found out that Mann has signed an additiona 6 month lease! That would get it through the holidays.
I got deeply nostalgic watching the traditional Superman opening credits in the National glorious 1970’s decor auditorium. Even the smell of the place reminded me seeing the original Superman as a kid at the Tacoma Mall Twin in 1978.
The National’s presentation was excellent as usual.
I love the above idea! Lots of 70mm engagements.
Question is: If Mann can’t make the National work, what could Regent do better?