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The longest running films at the Fine Arts between 1967 and the time I left D.C. in mid-January of 1972 were:
GOODBYE COLUMBUS (28 weeks), ELVIRA MADIGAN (18 weeks), THE STERILE CUKOO (12 weeks), PETULIA (11 weeks), THE GO-BETWEEN (11 weeks), I LOVE YOU ALICE B. TOKLAS, (10 weeks), and THE 12 CHAIRS (10 weeks). THE SUMMER OF ‘42 almost ran for almost 10 weeks.
CACTUS FLOWER had already enjoyed a 9 week run, starting on Christmas Day in 1969, prior to its run at the Fine Arts.
IF originally opened on January 23, 1970 at the Playhouse and played there for one week. LORD OF THE FLIES opened at the Playhouse of December 25, 1963 and played there for a little over 7 weeks. They played on a double bill for one week in September of 1970.
I lived in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Bethesda, but in August of 1964 (probably Aug. 12-14), when I was 17, I came to Towson to see a friend. He set me up with a girl named Michelle, and together with his girl Sandy we all went to the Hillendale to see THE MOON-SPINNERS with Hayley Mills. The film had just opened locally in its first-run engagement.
Sorry, I made a mistake on this. The ABC Drive-In opened on 8/27/53. Its opening attraction was PONY EXPRESS.
The Super Chief Drive-In opened on June 7, 1953, and its opening attraction was HIGH NOON.
On 9/1/52, the Seco began showing films only on Fridays-Saturdays-Sundays-Mondays until 9/21/52, when it closed. Its last attraction was a double-bill of MACAO and WACO. At that time the theater was part of the Stanley Warner theater chain.
The theater re-opened on 7/9/53 as part of the Roth’s theater chain and was re-named Roth’s Silver Spring. Their first attraction was the Italian film THE LITTLE WORLD OF DON CAMILLO. The film opened simultaneously at the Plaza and the Little, both of which were Roth theaters in downtown Washington, D.C. Each theater showed the film in a different language. Roth’s Silver Spring showed a dubbed English print. The Plaza showed the film in French with English subtitles, and the Little showed the film in Italian with English subtitles.
The Dupont opened for business on March 19, 1948. It’s premier attraction was the documentary THE ROOSEVELT STORY.
The longest running films at the Dupont between 1954 and 1972 (when I lived in the D.C. area) were: JULIUS CAESAR (15 weeks), THE HORSE’S MOUTH (14 weeks), NEVER ON SUNDAY (43 weeks!!!) ONE, TWO, THREE (15 weeks), PHAEDRA (15 weeks), THE THRILL OF IT ALL (14 weeks), DR. STRANGELOVE (14 weeks), THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT (11 weeks), ZORBA THE GREEK (22 weeks!), THE LOVED ONE (11 weeks), GEORGY GIRL (27 weeks!), THE FOX (16 weeks), ROMEO AND JULIET (36 weeks!), IF (12 weeks), and THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY (12 weeks).
There were also a great many films that played at the Dupont for almost two months, and I will include the entire list of every picture that played at the theater from January of 1950 to January of 1972 at a later date so you can find your favorites.
Some sidenotes: DR. STRANGELOVE and THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT played back to back at the Dupont between 2/20/64 and 9/1/64. THE THRILL OF IT ALL with Doris Day and James Garner was hardly an art house film, which was the Dupont’s specialty, but it obviously did great business. Undoubtedly a great “date movie”, it ran at the Dupont from 7/24/63 to 10/10/63.
Ironically, the 1954 version of ROMEO AND JULIET with Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall also had its first-run engagement at the Dupont. It played for 7 weeks, starting on Christmas Eve of that year.
After enjoying a healthy run of 10 weeks at the Embassy, JOE (1970) moved over to the Dupont on 10/28/70 and played there for 8 more weeks.
The only films I saw at the Dupont were: PRIVILEGE (1967), THE SWIMMER (1968), the 1968 version of ROMEO AND JULIET, TELL THEM WILLIE BOY IS HERE (a late 1969 release that opened at the Dupont on 1/16/70), THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY (another late 1969 release that opened at the Dupont on 2/18/70), and THE GREAT WHITE HOPE (1970).
The Hyattsville closed on Tuesday 2/16/65. The last program was a double bill of “Your Cheating Heart” (1964) and “Go, Johnny Go” (1959).
I believe that I saw “Tarzan’s Savage Fury” (1952) at a Saturday matinee there on 6/23/56.
Between June 15-June 24 of 1961, the Metropolitan played THE RAT RACE while the Ambassador played BECAUSE THEY’RE YOUNG.
The Metropolitan was closed between September 6 and October 4 of 1961. The Ambassador played COME SEPTEMBER.
Between June 12-July 2 of 1963, the Metropolitan played THE WONDERUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM while the Ambassador played WEST SIDE STORY.
Between May 20-July 7 of 1964, the Metropolitan played the first run of WHAT A WAY TO GO while the Ambassador played a series of second-run features.
Between November 18-December 22 of 1964, the Metropolitan played the first run of GOODBYE CHARLIE while the Ambassador played a series of second-run features.
Between April 14-May 11, the Metropolitan played the first run of CHEYENNE AUTUMN while the Ambassador continued with its first run of JOHN GOLDFARB, PLEASE COME HOME.
While the Ambassador played BECAUSE THEY’RE YOUNG between June 15-June 24 of 1961, the Metropolitan played THE RAT RACE.
While the Ambassador played WEST SIDE STORY between June 12-July 2 of 1963, the Metropolitan played THE WONDERUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM.
While the Ambassador played a series of second-run features between May 20-July 7 of 1964, the Metropolitan played the first run of WHAT A WAY TO GO.
While the Ambassador played a series of second-run features between November 18-December 22 of 1964, the Metropolitan played the first run of GOODBYE CHARLIE.
While the Ambassador played the first run of JOHN GOLDFARB, PLEASE COME HOMEY between April 14-May 11 of 1963, the played the Metropolitan played the first run of CHEYENNE AUTUMN.
The Janus 1&2 opened on July 2, 1965 with the film SYMPATHY FOR A MASSACRE.
The Apex opened on November 20, 1940. Its opening attraction was “Down Argentine Way” starring Betty Grable, Don Ameche, and Carmen Miranda.
The Crystal City opened on 1/14/70 with BARARELLA.
The Springfield opened on 11/1/68 with ROSEMARY’S BABY which had just ended a 17 week run at the Embassy in D.C. one week earlier.
The Tyson’s 1&2 opened on 10/16/68. Number 1 showed DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, and Number 2 showed THE PARENT TRAP (1961), which had just been re-released.
The Rosslyn Plaza was originally a KB theater. It opened on 8/2/67 with the film BLOW UP which had just completed a 27 week run at the Trans-Lux in downtown D.C. in mid-July.
The Americana was a Roth’s theater. It opened on 5/30/67 with firs-run engagement of A POPPY IS ALSO A FLOWER which was based on a story by Ian Fleming, and starred an international cast that featured Stephen Boyd, Trevor Howard, Senta Berger, Yul Brynner, and Rita Hayworth. The film opened at several other local theaterson this date, and did not play in downtown D.C.
Loew’s Fairfax Circle opened on 12/23/65. It’s initial attaction was the first-run engagement of THAT DARN CAT with Hayley Mills. The film also opened at several other D.C. area theaters. Like almost all Disney films released in the mid-to-late 1960’s, it did not play in downtown D.C. The most notable exceptions to that were A TIGER WALKS, MARY POPPINS, and THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE.
The Cinema 7 opened on 12/22/65 with MY FAIR LADY which was just opening locally after playing for almost a year at the Warner in downtown D.C.
The Bradlick opened on 5/1/64, and its first attraction was THE BRASS BOTTLE with Tony Randall, Burl Ives, and Barbara Eden! Ives played the genie in this one. The film opened at several local D.C. theaters on this date. It did not open any of the downtown theaters.
The Biograph opened on 9/30/67 with the films A DAY IN THE COUNTRY (1946) and MASCULINE-FEMINE (1966).
Roth’s Montgomery #2 opened on 6/24/70. Its first attraction was OLIVER.