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Does anybody else remember the ridiculous law suit those Budco people tried to bring against the Philadelphia film critics who publicly decried United Artists' decision to book “Apocalypse Now” into this breath-takingly awful theatre? I’ve spoken to one of those critics since then…it all came to naught…the public stayed away from the Goldman in droves…and the suit was dropped. It would be difficult to find a worse theatre in the Philadelphia area nowadays…I said “difficult,”….not “impossible”
It this is the original D-150-equipped house, then you can be assured of at least one customer flying in regularly from New Jersey! Good Luck.
It seems that the gremlins who remove posts from these pages, especially this one, are at it again!
The CineMiracle production “Windjammer” did have a short 3-week run here. It opened July 1, 1959 with two shows daily at what was advertised as “popular prices,” one week after the roadshow run of “The Diary of Anne Frank” had ended. According to the Asbury Park “Press,” the installation included a wall-to-wall screen measuring 60 feet across by 25 feet tall, somewhat small for a CineMiracle showing, and full-seven-track sound. Nonetheless, it concluded its run July 22, to be followed by “The Nun’s Story.” Installation of the tri-projector equipment took two days; dismantling only one day.
“Arcadia Theatre in Philadelphia was the first movie house in the USA to install an organ”. Quite possible. It was, however, the first movie house in Philadelphia to install Dolby optical stereo..also Dolby’s short-lived “Quintaphonic” sound system for “Tommy” 1975..(I posted this in January 2005 here)…A fairly full view of the marquee, but not the large billboard above the marquee is in the “special features” section of the “Psycho” DVD. The Arcadia was hand-picked by Paramount Pictures to be one of the world premiering houses of “Psycho” in 1960, along with theatres in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston.
A few facts about the Stanley remodeling in 1959.
In December of 1958, Loew’s Theatres took a gamble by announcing a front-to-back remodeling of its Times Square theatres, the State, into something modernistic that would become a “destination” moviehouse. It worked, and was a huge success. It was also said that Loew’s also wanted a state-of-the-art premiere house for the upcoming MGM “Ben-Hur,” and the Capitol was deemed too large for a roadshow. The renewed State reopened in March with “Some Like It Hot” and continued referring to itself as the New Loew’s State until well after “Ben-Hur” had vacated the premises. Stanley-Warner theatres followed suit with the Stanley in Philadelphia. Its remodeled “New” Stanley reopened its doors on the evening of November 10, 1959 with celebrities such as Charlton Heston (who was about to appear two weeks later at the Boyd as Judah Ben-Hur). Opening attraction was the equally-as-modern Ross Hunter production of “Pillow Talk.” The Stanley, too, was a success, after its $500,000 facelift. The seating capacity was reduced to 2200, not 1300, and featured a lobby with “walls of formica and tile and padded doors of bronze and glass. The mezzanine has been transformed into an intimate lounge…six crystal chandeliers have been installed in the ceiling…For the comfort of the patrons the seating capacity has been reduced to 2200, allowing wider space between the rows of longer chairs on the main floor and ‘bodiform’ chairs in the balcony…Following a color scheme of gold and blue, the theatre has been completely recarpeted and redecorated with rich draperies. The stage will boast a traveler curtain, similar to the one that was used at the Boyd for Cinerama productions. It will be illuminated by flood lighting from the balcony. Also newly installed is a sound and projection system performing the showing of every form of medium…except Cinerama. Another innovation is the automatically controlled year round airconditioning unit…The only object remaining from the ‘old’ Stanley is George Harding’s mural, ‘Le Carneval,’ which will still be displayed in the lobby.”
All of the above, further commentary, and an artist’s sketch of the lobby is in the Philadelphia “Inquirer” issue of November 8, 1962.
The statement “every form of medium…except Cinerama,” is not quite true inasmuch as the ‘old’ Stanley was one of only a very few theatres that had installed the original horizontal projection system, VistaVision, which predated IMAX by more than a decade. And about that traveler curtain, and its lighting, which stretched across the entire width of the auditorium, not just the width of the proscenium, DennisZ in May, 2006 described the “pink” effect used for the “My Fair Lady” engagement. At the time, it was rumored that this curtain was the largest used in a motion picture theatre, except for Radio City Music Hall and the Great Northern in Cleveland.
It was, I supposed, a bit typical of the Philadelphia we-don’t-like-to-brag mentality of the time, that whereas Loews’s continued to boast of its “New” State for years, the “New” in Stanley lasted less than two weeks in local publications. It just reverted to the “old” Stanley if you didn’t know any better.
In the list of 70mm attractions, add “Fall of The Roman Empire,” which switched to a 35mm print when the film went off roadshow to continuous performances. And there we no 70mm prints of “Hawaii” distributed anywhere in the U.S.
I just found the following on the c.t. page for the Paramount in Asbury Park (theatre #222) concerning this Paramount in Long Branch.
“The Paramount Long Branch was also used for test exhibition of Cinemiracle and WINDJAMMER. The film was eventually exhibited at the St. James in July 1959. posted by on Dec 7, 2006 at 2:25am”
Does anybody know anything more about this? The film was also scored and tested in late 1957 at the Mt. Edens in the Bronx. Thanks.
Sorry, the above falling-of-the-plaster took place during the “Earthquake” engagement. And, btw, Sensurround was not used for “Towering Inferno.”
Sensurround = Earthquake, Midway, Rollercoaster, Battlestar Galactica, and (mostly in L.A. area) Zootsuit.
Story has it that a net was installed underneath the ceiling at the Hollywood Chinese to catch falling bits of plaster.
Thanks, folks! And the drawing that’s in the link in the topcities site mentioned 7/14 here is the one I was referring to.
A line drawing in the 1953 book “New Screen Techniques” shows what is supposed to be a Cinerama installation in a large theatre in which the three booths were not located on the orchestra floor, but were hung directly below the balcony above the floor. Would this be this Palace? And, also, is this the Palace that had a disastrous roadshow engagement lasting less than a week of “Citizen Kane” in May of 1941 while the film played simultaneously on “grind” at the Woods?
A shame, of course, that no one has photos of the auditorium, where, surprise!, surprise!, “the action was.”
The Rentzler Group presented its proposal to the Haddon Township Mayor and Councilmen Monday, June 23 to an enthusiastic audience. The other two proposals, which would have turned the building into either retail space or condos, were greeted politely. So, now it’s up in the air until the powers-that-be vote at some future date.
Thanks for the photo, Joe.
Could this possibly be the theatre that opened in 1967 with “Hawaii”?
Hi, this is totally off-topic as far as the River Oaks is concerned, but has to deal with Chicago in general and don’t know where to post the question. Here goes: is the RKO Palace which ran “Citizen Kane” in 1941 (once on roadshow, once on grind) the same theatre which was known as Eitel’s Palace where “This Is Cinerama” opened in 1953. The one Chicago “Palace” theatre here on cinematreasures is obviously not the one I’m questioning. Thanks in advance.
Thanks, Warren, for posting that.
Just noticed an error in the introduction here. The world premiere of RKO’s “Kitty Foyle” was not in 1945, but December 27, 1940. Warner Brothers (operator of the theatre) was seriously annoyed that RKO didn’t send out a press “junket” of the film’s stars to Philadelphia for the premiere inasmuch as a great deal of “KF” took place in Philadelphia. Just three weeks later, “The Philadelphia Story” opened at the Boyd. Interesting fact about this is that at the same time the film opened, the stage play starring Katherine Hepburn, who of course was in this classic film, was playing to delighted audiences just a few blocks away at the Forrest.
You won’t probably EVER see any pictures of the Fox or Stanley interiors during their “presentation” days of the 1950s and 1960s. At least, none taken by those people who supposedly loved movies and the buildings in which they were exhibited. Many of these so-called theatre historians HATED any changes made to the interiors of these structures in their misunderstanding of the simple fact that these buildings were erected for the sole purpose of presenting motion pictures…and as motion pictures changed, either in width or in depth, theatres had to evolve with them, and if that necessitated structural changes to these halls, then so be it. If they didn’t change with the times, they either fell dark and unused or had a meeting with the wrecking ball. I actually met one Theatre Hysterical Society “guru” who threw up his Don’t-Change-Anything hands and nearly went apoplectic when discussing the Stanley after its 1959 remodeling. Aww, they covered up the proscenium. Aww, they covered up the walls. Aww, they drilled holes in the Boyd’s proscenium. Tough! If it weren’t for renovations like these to accomodate evolving technologies in the 1950’s and 1960’s, most of these houses wouldn’t have lasted as long as they did.
A photograph of the Stanley auditorium as originally erected is in “The Best Remaining Seats” (Ben Hall) which should be at your larger libraries. I’ve seen the Fox' pictures somewhere online. When I dig up the url, I’ll post it on the Fox pages.
And, btw, “The Sound of Music” opened March 17, 1965 at the Midtown and ran for over a year to an audience that clearly didn’t give a hoot that the theatre didn’t look a thing like its original incarnation as the Karlton.
Thanks, anyhow, Ed. Much appreciated. Vince
Ed, the Nixon presented the 14th installation of the Todd-AO process opening “Oklahoma” in June of 1956, and, as you mentioned, reverted to stage performances after an engagement of “South Pacific.” Would you know if this screen, which would have had to be moved for shows on stage, was on a curved track or flat, if it was “flyable,” or if it was a temporary fixture? Thanks in advance.
Thanks, all. Saved me a trip to the A.C. library.
Thanks, when I’m in AC I’ll check the AC “Press” for the time period I was there and see if the address in the ad matches that of the Stanley. Stay tuned.
Yes, Ed, me, too. Do you have information about the Roxy on the boardwalk? Even Mr. Hauss hasn’t been able to uncover much history of that palace. I saw “The Big Country” there in October of 1958..a luxurious palace with a tremendous screen. All I know is that when I started researching “Windjammer” at the Warren/Warner which ran in the late summer of 1960, the Roxy was already not oprational, but I don’t know if had been demolished by then. I’m going to the A.C. library sometime in the next couple of weeks. Will keep you posted. Vince
Hi, Ed. I was just speaking yesterday with Allen Hauss, author of “Images of America: South Jersey Movie Houses.” In his book there is a little information on the Steel Pier and its theatres.“Steel Pier, Atlantic City, 1941. Built in 1900 at Virginia Avenue and the famous boardwalk, the Steel Pier is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Atlantic City. Movies arrived as an occasional attraction in the early 1900’s. By the 1930s, there were three theatres on the pier; the Music Hall (2,250 seats) with a vaudeville and film format, the Casino (2,000 seats), and the Ocean (1,406) seats.” That’s all that appears for the Pier itself, although the book goes into more detail about other locations in the Shore communities. Hope this helps.