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As saddened as I’ve been to read about the closing and/or demise of the Ridgewood after 91 years of continuous operation, I don’t wish to bemoan its fate and to speculate on what it will turn into in the days, weeks, and months yet to come.
Regarding its closing, several questions need to be asked:
1) The owners adamantly rejected the concept of landmarking. That was their right and privilege of ownership to do so. But why did no one around these two men wise them up to the concepts of creative advertising and promotions to help keep this theater afloat? And if people did do so, why wasn’t that advice taken?
2) Why didn’t the residents of this tightly-knit community offer ongoing support to the Ridgewood by patronizing it more often?
I have no answers, at least none that I can post without getting my sorry butt permanently kicked off CT!
The 1995 hardcover “By the El: The Third Avenue El at Mid-Century” Stelter book referenced by J.F. Lundy was out-of-print (and out-of-price range!) until recently. A softcover second edition, complete with modern updates, has been published and is available for a modest $19.95. The theater shots alone from this book were worth every penny. I was able to secure a copy last December at the NYC Transit Museum Annex store in Grand Central Station. Hopefully, some CTer with access to the book and a scanner can post a pic of the Silver Star atop this page.
[As an aside, should I mention the new Chinese Christmas film sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?” is called “Crouching Reindeer, Hidden Log?]
I noticed in the paper this weekend that “Legend” has been added. Atla$ probably didn’t want to mi$$ out on tho$e extra dollar$.
I got a charge out of the fact that the old Ridgewood Theater booked “I Am Legend” and new Atlas Park 8 didn’t! Ha!
Pete, keep “I Am Legend” on your must-see list. Very well done, and packed far more of an emotional wallop than the 2 preceding efforts of Matheson’s novel. The sound was cranked high – perfect for this film!
I spoke to a pair of staff members last Saturday. Neither knew about the 91st B-Day, but were jazzed when they learned about it.
Tomorrow (Sat., 12/22), the eve of this theater’s 91st B-Day, think I’ll catch the matinee screening of “I Am Legend” – 1:45. Tried to confirm the time during the week by landline, but their phone is temporarily disconnected! What a way to run a business, huh?
Too bad we couldn’t get a group together, but holidays and family do come first. Hope you all enjoy ‘em both!
Very LARGE thx (as WABC DJ Big Dan Ingram used to say) to Fixer3 & Bway for posting those photo links to the Peerless Theater! With only two days away from being back in the borough for the holidays, those pix took me back many years. Wow!
‘Tonino, I’d de-subscribed to a number of theater pages last August when my e-mail account had swelled unbelievably high while I was in NYC. The Glenwood was one, along with the RKO Madison, Embassy, Haven, Oasis and a few others. So, wassup?
P.S.: I refuse to own a cell phone myself. Try Stephen King’s “Cell” for a fun (but gruesome) romp into the land of the phoners…
Thx for providing the website URL above, LM, but is there any way to enlarge those postage-size pix of the Arion and the 1949 shot of the Metropolitan Ave station? – Ol' squint-eye Jim
I was on leave from Camp LeJeune July, 1967, and had visited my grandmother one block away. I recall that the 327 building address was still the old A&P grocery store, but I cannot be certain whether it was still doing business at that time.
Today it remains a vest-pocket park, traffic-free (Cumberland St. is no longer a through street to Atlantic Ave.), and is owned by the city. Thx for checking, LM.
[For anyone with a modicum of interest in this tiny nabe, there was some discussion of it on the Ridgewood page prior to its being listed here. Good luck finding it, however…]
Been busy with the latest novel and on another site PKoch invited me to join (BB). Great to read you again, too!
LOL! You did a certificate of occupancy (?) and some organ info, LM. According to my ancient aunt, she had said the theater employed a decent piano player there about 1924-25.
I recall posting about my grandfather’s restaurant at 722 Fulton St. He allowed the theater owners to post a sign weekly in his front window that advertised the current movie(s). For that, he got a free pass each and every week. Not too shabby a deal.
Maybe the posts got lost when the CT brass upgraded? Quien sabe?
Thx to Patrick Crowley for re-supplying this link to me. The theater had vanished from my profile list. Now I have to ask: Wha' happened to the dozen or so posts that were here earlier this year?
GMTA, cypress. I, too, got the movie “The Believers” based on Bway’s comments. Watched it with friends last night and pointed out some of the RKO Bushwick’s past greatness to them. Sad to see the results of neglect over time (late ‘60s – '87 or so), but glad to know the building itself has been restored and is used for offices.
As for the movie itself, lots of jolts from a fine director (the late John “Midnight Cowboy” Schlesinger) and quite a capable cast. We enjoyed it, despite being weirded out quite often!
Have a heart, you guys, and provide a U.S Pony Express snailmail addy for donations, whether they be cash, check, or money order. PayPal is not at all what it’s cracked up to be, plus they take a percentage of what is sent. I’d rather see you get 100% of the donations for the great site you’ve provided us.
The RKO Madison as a nabe? Perhaps it wasn’t as spacious as others in the RKO chain, but I’d still have to regard it as a much classier “nabe” than many varied and sultry second- and third-run dumps that permeated the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. Leaving our local areas for a flick in Ridgewood’s Madison was definitely a treat – especially in summer: AC instead of a couple of three-bladed rotating fans.
Mopella, yes! Your intro post was sandwiched between MVitale’s, and my tired ol' eyes failed the test. Oops, sorry, and welcome!
And thx, Peter, for your Brooklyn talent comments. We’d be here all day if we had to begin enumerating them.
MVitale, thx for confirming what some of us had suspected, that CT contributor robbie dupree was the one and the same of “Steal Away” (1980) and “Brooklyn Girls” (1982) fame. He was on here last year, but I haven’t seen any posts of his in a while. Perhaps he shuns the notoriety of fame or has moved on to other pursuits. As you know, a lot of talent emerged from Brooklyn (as well as the other boroughs) over the years, and Robbie was certainly one of ‘em.
Bway & Peter, the RKO Madison was a great theater in ANY year to see those spookers you mentioned. As cheesy as they could sometimes be, “The House on Haunted Hill,” “Thirteen Ghosts” and other Vincent Price vehicles were almost perfect when viewed within this setting.
What was much more enjoyable on the “Mysterians” DVD, Peter, was the ability to hear the actors using original Japanese dialogue over English subtitles. In 1959, we got stuck with an atrociously dubbed version, probably exacerbating our frustration with the film.
“The Giant Behemoth” is available as a WS DVD Cult Classic from our good friends at www.deepdiscountdvd.com for only $8.23. (Think I saw that one at the Willard.)
Ain’t it great to have wives that cater to our insanity? I mean, uh, hobbies?
Back in ‘59, I and many other young patrons at the RKO Bushwick were ready to revolt after seeing the hyped “Mysterians.” Each one of us lost a precious 60-cents on this dud, with no hope of ever getting our money back. The movie never matched its 30-second TV spot ads.
Almost 50 years later, and having passed the former Bushwick on the train and on foot during my last visit, I decided on a dare to buy the DVD Toho-Scope release just to see if the movie was better than I’d recalled. The color, I think a first for the Japanese sci-fi genre, held up remarkably well. It was also Japan’s first for a widescreen, I’m told. Under Ishiro Honda’s direction, the message of peace vs. resistance did manage to get across now in 2007, after being lost to us all these years.
Honda had his favorite actors: the lead gal and guy had appeared in “Gojira” (‘54) and “Half Human” (also '57 in Japan). Some of the special effects were pretty well done for the time, but like Servo and Crow in MST3K, I had way too much fun this time around with wisecracks. Glad I revisted this one.
Was only able to visit Nagengast’s once last month, but I managed to turn owner Ed onto CT and the Whitney Theater, formerly located where North Fork Bank does business today. Hopefully he’ll sign up and post some of his Ridgewood theater info and memories in the future.
Gonzo did it, I tell ya!
Alberto Gonzales added it, but he doesn’t recall doing so.
We high schoolers (‘59-'63) always saw the Kameo’s marquee as we passed by walking or on the Nostrand Ave. bus. Its design was virtually identical to the RKO Keith’s in Richmond Hill. The theater itself was set back on the sidewalk a considerable distance from the curb of the single outermost local traffic/parking lane. Eastern Parkway utilized 6 major lanes for through vehicles. Perhaps this is how Loew’s circumvented any possible signage restrictions.