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In Pittsburgh, as in Manhattan, “The Trouble With Harry” played its first-run engagement in the city’s most prominent art house, the Squirrel Hill. Being a Hitchcock film, “Harry” did move on to neighborhood engagements, most often shoring up a different, but also same-time, Paramount release, “Anything Goes.”
Does anyone have any idea how the Castle festival performed at the b.o., taking into account the fact that double bills in shoebox auditoriums limit the turnover? By chance the featival included all of my favorites – three in the “Whistler” series, “Homicidal” (Is it even possible to be fooled by that one?) and “The Night Walker,” especially for Vic Mizzy’s spooky and imperishable score.
Gimmicks notwithstanding, Castle’s mysteries and thrillers are hopelessly contrived and often plain terrible (“13 Ghosts”), but he was such a consummate ham that he kept me returning as a kid. Anyway, I hope “Night Walker” did well and that Film Forum is encouraged to book more of such Americana festivals.
I, too, collected and devoured the rep schedules from several Manhattan sites – Thalia, Elgin, Bleecker Street (as I recall), Gramercy (briefly), Carnegie Hall Cinema, Hollywood Twin, 80 St. Marks (where fixed combinations tended to play together whenever they returned) and, by far the best, the Regency (and later Frank Rawley’s scheduled for the Lincoln Art, or whatever it was called when he moved there from the Regency).
I loved reading the descriptions, scrutinizing the feature times, spotting the occasional error in show times and keeping them all handy so that at any hour of the afternoon or evening back here in Pittsburgh, I could envision what was going on on every screen.
When my semi-annual two-week trips to NYC were on the horizon, I especially looked forward to the schedules, knowing I’d soon get to partake in the rep house banquet.
Now the only schedules are from Film Forum, and I pay $25 every three (or two?) years to receive those.
It’s great having a home video collection, but it’s somehow not the same as knowing that when I got to NYC I’d see the long-available “Sudden Fear” at the 80 St. Marks, the long-unavailable “Call Me Madam” at Lincoln Art, “The Whisperers” at the Regency or “Burmese Harp” at the Thalia.
And then to pick them off in double bills all day every day while scurring around Manhattan on subways and awaiting a Broadway show in the evening.
“Love Story” definitely premiered at Loew’s State, where I first saw it. Not at RCMH.
I do clean house daily. That’s not the issue. The apparatus you’re using to post some videos is triggering a “sign up or get lost” message. No way around it. Never ran into this on Cinema Treasures before. I believe that in all cases (wasn’t kleeping track at first), short video clips are involved. It’s OK, though. If I’m missing only video clips, it won’t impair my ability to learn more about the theaters from the texts. I won’t address this issue again because I don’t want to clutter the flow of historical commentary. Thank you, though.
Doesn’t work, Tinseltoes. No amount of clicking on the empty box activates it. It seems to require subscribing to something called eFootage. But thank you.
Just within the past few days I’ve found I cannot access any of the clips being posted on various Manhattan sites without going through some sort of licensing process.
Is this a whole extra step that will be necessary permanently, or does it have something to do with the way the clips are being posted by one or two individuals?
Is the licensing free and safe?
Clearly the folks who post on the National Hills site and other Augusta GA-based sites are friendly people who cherish the years they spent working in Augusta theaters and making life-long friends of their moviehouse colleagues. They mean no harm here.
That said, I must concur with Chuck 1231’s observation. Nearly 100 percent of the postings on all of the Augusta sites are of minimal historical significance. They’re more like emails, text messages or blog remarks that feed on each other without any value to the background or significance to the theaters they’re supposedly about.
The notes that matter are lost in a sea of minutiae.
And because those of us who really want to know more about the theaters themselves have no way of knowing which messages are irrelevant, we call them up one by one.
The National Hills, for whatever reason, has become the most abused of the Augusta sites, which is why I finally gave up and removed my checkmark from the box at the bottom of the site. But as many of us have figured out, the checkbox system is imperfect at best. I can’t stop getting the many daily National Hills notifications. It’s kind of like a kid who rings your doorbell and runs several times a day. You gotta trudge to the door each time to be sure it’s not important.
Believe me, Augusta folks, I mean no malice in finally, finally speaking up. And I do have a suggestion for you: Set us a “closed-circuit” email group that you can use every time you want to exchange notes on reunions and your personal comings and goings. It’s very easy to do.
That way, every passing, incidental thought will not go out to a (potential) international audience.
We can see that you’re nice, well-intentioned people. Please give my suggestion some thought. Cinema Treasures truly isn’t the correct forum for what you’re writing. Thank you, one and all.
Any idea of the whereabouts of Adele Bouvy, who seemed to be George Pappas' main assistant during most of the theater’s operating years?
I think Adele might have been Chuck Bouvy’s sister. Very nice lady.
Hi, Bill. Thanks for your very kind comments.
I arrived at The Pittsburgh Press in October 1967, a year before Kap Monahan’s retirement. His departure created a space for me in the Features Department (entertainment and style/women’s/living pages).
His direct successor, though, was Tom Blakely, who had been Kap’s backup on theater and movies for about 20 years. I did TV & radio while Tom was Drama Editor. Then I moved over and succeeded him in January 1972.
I saw Kap at parties and picnics during his retirement years. He and Tom have both been gone for maybe 30 years now.
The razing of the once-revered South Hills Theater (Cinema 4 in its chopped up final days) has begun.
I stand corrected. What a couple of us remembered was the plan to twin it – a plan that never materialized. The same could be said of Showcase West’s goal of installing stadium seating, which never happened.
The second and final Nixon Theatre – this one – was named for the first. Neither had anything to do with the late U.S. President.
Todd-AO was inaugurated with “Oklahoma,” “Around the World in 80 Days,” “South Pacific,” “Porgy and Bess” and “Can-Can,” all of which had their Pittsburgh premiere roadshow engagements at the Nixon.
I concur. The legit theaters east of Broadway sense “off the beaten path” to theatergoers.
A blockbuster booking such as Denzel Washington in “Fences” can override that perception, but I don’t think people like going down the darker side streets where there’s only one playhouse. They feel isolated, vulnerable and removed from the merry hustle-bustle.
Also, if you go to a show at a theater that’s very much in the middle of things – say the Imperial or the Music Box on West 45th, you notice the titles on marquees of the other theaters, which gives those shows a bit of allure.
The other, more isoloated theaters don’t benefit from that visibility and the street-traffic factor.
This is truest of the Nederlander, which is truly a block beyond the perceived border of Broadway. Again, a big enough hit, such as “Rent,” can override the disadvantage. But in that particular case, “Rent” was helped by its funky nature, as “Hair” would be. “Rent” attracted a disproportionately young (teens, 20s) audience that is just naturally less concerned about the amenities of being in the heart of the highly illuminated heart of Broadway.
At “Rent,” more than any show of its era, you’d see early-arriving patrons curled up on the sidewalk. Fancy that at “Morning’s at Seven” or “Fiddler on the Roof.”
I remember that at the packed performance I attended of Lena Horne’s “The Lady and Her Music” at the Nederlander, she remarked candidly – OK, snidely – about the, uh, theater her show had been plunked down in.
The theaters at Lincoln Center are even farther afield than the aforementioned but have the advantage of being in a cluster of upscale artsy activity and seem, if anything, even tonier than Broadway itself.
The Nixon was still operating during the first half of the 1970s although struggling from the time the subscription series collapsed and the theater stopped getting major (true) National Touring companies.
In October 1975 the Nixon had a touring production of an all-black play called “What the Wine-Sellers Buy” with Bill Cobbs and Ron Trice.
The final production opened Nov. 27, 1975. It was conceived, choreographed and directed by Gene Kelly and was called “Gene Kelly’s Salute to Broadway.”
Its cast of 10 was headed by Howard Keel, Ken Berry, Mimi Hines and Lainie Nelson. Kelly did not visit with the production.
Most of the shows the last two to four years were threadbare productions, mainly “bus-and-truck companies.”
I cannot find a newspaper clipping to confirm this, but I believe the darkened theater was intact until after a final fire broke out in 1976.
Regrettably, my computer skills fall very much short of being able to do that.
I am holding the souvenir program for the opening night of the Eastwood Theatre. It was June 26, 1947. The inaugural attraction was Eliz Kazan’s “Sea of Grass” with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. The final attraction was “Krakatoa, East of Java.”
Do I remember correctly that the golf course where the Masters is played every April is on or near the road leading up to the former Daniel Village Theater?
Thank you, Mike Rogers and Bill Barkley.
Joel (Joseph L.) Navari, I very much regret to say, passed away in a hospital near his Peoria AZ home at 12:31 p.m. April 18, 2010, less than 24 hours after he was admitted.
Here is the death notice that appeared in The Arizona Republic:
Navari, Joseph “Joel,” 66, of Peoria made his transition on April 18, 2010.
He was a husband, father, brother, grandfather, educator and patriot who lived life with passion. He is survived by his wife, Tami Conaway, two sons, Jude Navari, Jason (Amy) Navari; two daughters Johanna (John) Welch, Jocelyn (Tom) Messer; a step-daughter Amy (Duane) Cowan and a step-son Chad Conaway. Also surviving are a brother, Rudy (Jane) Navari ; a sister, Elenora (Joe) Buba; nine grandchildren, Zane, Renata, Isabella, Marlee, Brooke, Cody, Ryley, Tanner and Braden.
A celebration of Joel’s life (was) held Saturday, April 24, 2010, at 3 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Chapel, 6830 W. Thunderbird Road, Peoria.
The family requests, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to Indiana University School of Medicine South Bend – Cancer Research, 1234 Notre Dame Avenue, South Bend, IN 46617.
Very interesting grosses, Mike, but are they for the first day only, the first full week, the entire engagement or what?
Thank you very much, Joe. I had forgotten a couple of the details mentioned in that Boxoffice magazine item. On a related front, I’m pleased to report I located Joel (Joseph L.) Navari, the oldest of the Navari offspring and my good friend from college, and we’ve been communicating since.
Showcase West to close April 15,2010
Friday, April 02, 2010
By Barbara Vancheri and Brian David, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
And another one bites the dust — but not for about two weeks.
Showcase Cinemas West, bought by Rave Motion Pictures of Dallas late last year, will close after business April 15. Showcase Cinemas North, however, is in no danger of going dark.
Although it has been a fixture in Robinson for 32 years and boasts a visible perch above the highway, an easily accessible sea of parking and a dozen screens, Showcase West lost customers to the nearby 16-screen Cinemark at Settlers Ridge Center, also in Robinson.
Cinemark opened in October and appeared to deliver a knockout blow to Showcase, which lacked stadium seating and other now-standard amenities. Plans to renovate were announced years ago and then abandoned.
“The theater is just not grossing well. It has been the subject of a lot of competitive builds and it cannot sustain itself economically as a viable modern theater,” Jeremy Devine, vice president of marketing for Rave, said Thursday.
Managers and employees will be given “some type of severance package,” Mr. Devine said, and they were offered opportunities at Showcase North, but none apparently accepted. Many pleaded distance or scheduling problems or a reluctance to bump existing workers at the theater in McCandless.
Previous owner National Amusements of Dedham, Mass., which continued to operate Showcase West during this transition, had quit advertising in the Post-Gazette, leading some patrons to mistakenly assume the venue was closed.
Customers can use gift cards at Showcase West through April 15 or at Showcase North until Dec. 17. No money will be refunded.
News about Showcase West comes a month after the closing of the Squirrel Hill Theater, a neighborhood fixture for more than seven decades.
Mr. Devine couldn’t say what Rave will do with the sprawling property in Robinson. “We’ll continue to own that. I have to assume they’re looking at re-purposing that.”
Dan Tallon, chairman of the Robinson commissioners, said it was a shame to see Showcase go. “It’s been in Robinson for many, many years, and many Robinson residents have worked there,” he said Thursday.
But Mr. Tallon also said the closing, coupled with the opening of the Cinemark in the Settlers Ridge commercial development, is part of an ongoing business cycle in the bustling township.
“When they built The Pointe at North Fayette, Robinson Town Centre lost several businesses,” he said. “And when [The Mall at Robinson] opened, the peripheral centers lost several businesses.”
But those spaces have filled back in, he said, and a new tenant is rumored to be coming to the former Giant Eagle building on Steubenville Pike, left vacant after the chain opened a Market District store in nearby Settlers Ridge.
“The shopping district is still expanding,” he said. “I’m sure someone will come along and do something with that space.”
Rave opened its first theater in 1999 and is known for state-of-the-art stadium seating and digital projection. With its buying spree at year’s end, it grew from 30 to about 65 theaters and 989 screens and, at the time, Mr. Devine said Rave would evaluate its new properties.
Moviegoers will see minor upgrades at Showcase North in a few months. A new sign will be installed in June, and plans call for more digital screens, an expansion of 3-D capability and a change in concession offerings.
For more information about the old and new owners or show times, see www.national-amusements.com or www.ravemotionpictures.com
In the first third of 1966, the Imperial brought back two of Columbia’s three 1965 films that were major Oscar contenders (“Ship of Fools” and/or “The Collector” and/or “Cat Ballou”) because they were at that time up for several major Oscars.
Can anyone recall which two of the three were paired and even possibly what week they played?
Anyone have grosses for “West Side Story” and, separately, for “Funny Girl” here recently?