Showing 26 - 50 of 264 comments
Great photos Ed Thanks I always loved Brenkart Projectors, and Ashcraft Lamps were the best…. My Dad had Ashcraft, Super Core Lites, behind Simplex XLs
I lived in Penn Hills, right off of Rodi Rd.. I never had any trouble and used to walk all night everywhere,,I love Penn Hills, Met the love of my life at that theatre…There is not a day goes by I don’t think about her, even after all these years…..
Your a little late…This story was posted last week….
Any projector can be used as a carbon lamp projector, even the ones built today…
Susan,,,,, Very sad indeed,,, I was telling my daughter about all the Theatres I worked and looks like they are all gone now.There is no secret The Warner was my all time favorite and my regular job. Then the Fulton, Chatham , Stanley, Nixon, and even Heinz Hall…The North Hills was also a very nice Theatre…Then in the Summer I would work The Fairgrounds Drive-In 5 nights a week, South Hills Drive-In once in awhile and the South Hills Theatre, also a very nice theatre, But that was then….. No more…
They do they are the Kerrigan brothers,, a nice bunch of people.. I was a projectionist when thier father ran the theatre, then they leased it to UA, until the sons took it back Great booth XLs and Strong Futura II lamps RCA sound and a huge generator that sounded like a plane taking off when you started it….
Susan,, You are right,, what a shame..I worked this theatre many times in the 70s and 80s before I left Pgh. in 84. I really hate to read about this another one gone..
Paul was a great guy, He and I worked alot of theatres together, he always liked me because even though I was young I had a vast knowledge of projectors and lamps, sound was always my one weak point..Paul and I spent many many hours in booths together and we always got along great.. I went to his funeral was so sad, I don’t remember what year it was, but yes was quite awhile ago… Nobody knows for sure, but I think they just wanted to get rid of the union projectionist no matter how good we were, or how much we saved them money.
The Trans Lux was a wonderful theatre, 4 projectors Cinemacannica V8s reel to reel automation changeovers, just a great job… I remewmber we ran Saturday Night Fever in the gold theatre and Heaven can wait in the blue theatre…We were so busy with fever that we cancelled the shows of heaven can wait and ran both sides with fever.. We had 40 minute reels so we just started them an hour apart,, worked out great and what a business they had them days, was nice to see both sides completely filled up….
John,, The boxes of carbon rods was eventually used up by Paul,, He bvought a tool set and joined them together, and burned them down to nothing. He saved that Company a ton of money by doing that.. He and I used to send ideas to projector companies on how to build better projectors, but was always turned down.. Thhe old projector was a Simplex Standard.. They took out the Norelcos towardsa the end and put in a Simplex XL on one side and one of the Cinnemacannicas from the Trans Lux on the big side.Sad thing is after Paul burned all the carbons for them they fired him, so he could'nt collect his pension…
The Eric was my first intro into 70mm and Norelco projectors, was like going to heaven, than they ruined it by twinning it and putting in a stupid air driven platter system in theatre 1 and simplex XLs in theatre 2 The Trans Lux had Cinnemacannica V8s on both sides and had them when they opened with a pair of Strong Futura II lamps.
Brenkart BX 80’s Ashcraft high intensity lamps, that burned 150 amps, and 2 RCA amps, no dolby and I remember very clearly the amps both were just mono.The scope lenses weighed in at 15 pounds each and were very long, Monsters they were, but they were great.
I don’t know what you mean by upstairs???? Had a huge mezanine area outside the balcony doors where they put some tables so you could sit there and wait or eat. I always wondered later on as I went back to PGH. in 74, and was back at the Warner wich had Dolby sound, What the State would have been like with a great Dolby system?? Had a very small booth, we used to call it hell house, got so hot. a very large balcony that seemed to go up forever then when you got to the top you had to go up more steps to the booth.
People were not coming downtown anymore for movies so why would they come downtown for stupid performing arts?? They did the right,, If your not going to run movies in this beauty, then TEAR IT DOWN. I ran M.A.S.H. there for 23 weeks, not seventeen, The uptown in DC had the largest screen I ever saw on the East Coast. Besides people now adays would not knoe cuylture or performing arts if it jumped up andd bit them in the ass, I remeember running M.A.S.H. to empty seats, and they sent an usher up to tell me to shut it off towards the end, was one beautiful theatre but it’s time was done and so they mover on.. They have the Hershey Comunnity Theatre wich would be an excellent arts Theatre if they chose to use it, and they have parking….
I remember coming downstairs one day and dad was sitting at the table actually crying because he had to spend money to get new lenses, and add on to his drive-in screen for this new thing called Cinemascope, 70MM damn near gavee him heart failure, but we dealt with it and all was good..
Damn shame typical theatre owners get all the money you can make and don’t pay out one dime for anything. My dad was the same way, never wanted to pay out one penny.
It was alot bigger than you think it was. I recall all the steps I had to go up yo get to the booth. The balcony itself stretched out pretty far from the booth.I will say it had over a thousand seats.
We all miss Jim,,, Chuck my e-mailk is
I can help you to Chuck, I was a projectionist at every one of them, one more thing the Valle and the Penway were pretty much laid out the exact same way, lobbys auditoriums, seats and projectors were identical, Standard Simplex and Peerless Magnarc lamps RCA Mono sound. When we took over the Grand there was a standard Simplex head in the booth, nothing else just the head… And that was also set up the same as the other 2 lobbies, and auditoriums…
Chuck I will help you anyway I can, I just remember alot of the booths if that will help you plus I know alot of the history to some of these…. Norelco
The store was the music box and later moved down to the 13 hundred block on the oppisite side of the street from the Grand. My Uncle took over the Grand and we had a company put steel beams at the corners by the stage.. We took the steel frame work from the Shamokin Drive-In screen and the screen itself to level the floor. Then they put large sheets of plywood down and sealed them and we coated it with a special glossy mixture and let it dry for a week.. Then it was the Grand Roller Rink.
Had alot of good memories about this place, my Cousin has a body shop on Thompson Street right behind it. I was there one year and it was run down bad, the next time I came to visit it was gone..The Grand will live on in memory.. I always said I was the last one to ever run movies at the Star Art, Harrisburg, Drive-In, Silver Springs Drive-In, Colonial, and a few in Pittsburgh, I was next to last at the Senate, I was hoping in each one the last reel would never end.They did and we went away sadly knowing that was it..
I only ever worked 2 of them,,,One is in Millersburg,Pa. and the other is a long gone theatre in Pgh, I can’t remember name to save my life.. The Grand was not reversed.. I know this for a fact, I helped gut the Grand and level the floor with the old screen from Shamokin Drive-In .. We turned the grand into a roller rink, and later it becane a church, was torn down a few years back.
The Grand, Valle, and Penway all had apartments above them,, The Grand and Valle had seperate doors to the apartments, The Penway booth ws part of one. Was very strange, Upstairs of the Roxy was all office space and a large booth,
Thanks pal the Roxy was the one I could'nt remember, Hershey still is nice, and I really miss Harrisburg, Drive-In. I also worked the Paxtang that was a nice theatre,I always loved the State, the old fountain is still in the new building on Locust Street. I also worked the Valle in Mechanicsburg. Mr Yost owned that and the Penway.. The Penway was a strange place to work,, The booth was right in the middle of the apartment kitchen, So if they had a nasty tennan t you had to walk on egg shells, Finally Mr. Yost put up a wall of sorts to help cut some of the noise…Most people were friendly..