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The (Bergen) Mall Theatre was located almost centrally in the building, facing the back roads (I’m not from there, so I don’t know the name of the road), not Route 4. The entrance was on the outside only, facing the parking lot. It was a split design, you entered in the middle of the auditorium and could go up to the left or down to the right. The last show I saw there was a double-feature of Star Trek V and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I was nearly ejected for complaining about the soft focus and trying to get in the booth to fix it myself!
I don’t know what it turned into, but there was a theatre in that mall called, not surprisingly, the Bergen Mall Cinema. It was a single screen with, I would guess, around 500 seats and the entrance was on the outside of the mall. I think that at one time it was run by the B.S. Moss organization, I don’t know who was running it when it closed.
The company I worked for in the early 80s owned the Paramus Drive-In for a time. We were probably the first – if not only – drive-in that used the radio sound system to transmit in FM Dolby Stereo. At that time, most drive-in’s used AM transmitters (because you could control very precisely how far the signal traveled). The FM transmitter we used had no such control (and was probalby illegal), lucky drivers on Routes 17 & 4 could often hear several minutes of the film sound. “American Pop” sounded great in the car while on the road!
This Week’s Big Screen Classics Show:
HOLD THAT GHOST – starring Bud Abbott & Lou Costello – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30 at 11:30 am
Presented in an extraordinary-looking new 35mm print direct from Universal Pictures! Plus selected short subjects: “Scrappy’s Ghost Story”, 1935, a Columbia cartoon; “Tall, Dark and Gruesome”, 1948, starring Hugh Herbert and Dudley Dickerson
In person at the HOLD THAT GHOST show: Chris Costello (Lou’s daughter) and author Bob Furmanek (“Abbott & Costello in Hollywood”). NOTE: Bob will have copies of his Abbott & Costello book for sale in the lobby after the show. Bob’s book, “Abbott & Costello in Hollywood”, lets you join Bud and Lou on the sets of their 36 films. Drawing on studio archives, family scrapbooks and over 75 interviews, each A&C film is described in extraordinary detail, including complete cast and crew credits, script excerpts, production notes, cut scenes and final reviews. Introduction by Jerry Lewis. Foreword by the Abbott and Costello families. 272 pages/150 photos/Index.
“Certainly the best and most exhaustive book about A&C to see print…an impressive piece of scholarship.”—-Filmfax
“More details on the making of their films than any book I’ve ever seen.”—-Leonard Maltin
HOLD THAT GHOST shows on Saturday, October 30 at 11:30 am at the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern, NY. Ticket price: $6.00. Log on to www.bigscreenclassics.com for further information.
There was a giant rectangular opening cut into the ceiling for the lights, see my post of May 3 above for the details. I do hope that if the restoration on this facility continues that it is repaired back to its original condition.
Sure, that could work. It would probably be very expensive to make it not look out of place, but it could work. But some valuable seating capacity would probably be lost. In fact, the limited seating of the whole theatre (fewer than 500 between both houses) is the chief difficulty with the location right now (aside from the dreadful condition) in terms of being able to meet projected operating expenses.
No, the auditorium is far too small for a Cinerama screen installation.
Platters themselves are not inherently damaging to film. But there are many more surfaces that the film must touch and all of them can add up to increased wear on the print if the platter is not well maintained. Also, the make-up and tear-down process on the print is where most of the damage occurs, especially if it’s done rapidly (which is usually the case in most platter operations where they are working 4-18 screens at once).
As of Monday, Peter Elson was simply acting as a consultant to the landlord Albert Bialiek, I do not believe that Elson is going to be operating the Metro.
Sadly, the place is in terrible shape and needs a lot of renovation, at least $100,000 worth to make it look really good again. Even replacing the seats in the upstairs theatre can’t cure the chief problem up there – lack of legroom. And the downstairs auditorium’s screen unfortunately can’t get much larger – the proscenium was designed for 1.37 Academy ratio films – it was never enlarged when the wide screen boom hit in the 1950s. It doesn’t appear that more than another 4 feet in width can be added as the screen frame is recessed – the projection beam would get cut off if the screen was made much wider.
As for revivals on one screen, anything is possible…
Director of Film Programming
Big Screen Classics at the Lafayette Theatre
I think I know what’s in the works for the Metro and its future is looking brighter than ever.
I think I know what’s in the works for the Metro and it’s future is looking brighter than ever.
Jim Rankin wrote:
“…but it would never work for real movie exhibition as open to the general public these days for the reasons given above.”
You should make the trip to see the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern, New York, some day. First-run movies seven-days-a-week, cinema classics on Saturday, Wurlitzer Pipe Organ, silent films and special film weekends throughout the year. Well-maintained, staffed, and with a respectful audience, including the teenagers. And it’s profitable. So it can work, given the right location and the right attitude of the operator.
I do hope the plans for films come through. For an idea of the types of shows you might want to consider running, check out two film classics series that are currently running in the New York/New Jersey area:
Big Screen Classics at the Lafayette Theatre, Suffern, NY – www.bigscreenclassics.com (this is the series that I run)
The Movie Palace Experience – at the Union County Arts Center (Rahway Theatre), Rahway, NJ – www.ucac.org (Bernie Anderson is in charge of this series)
Feel free to contact me if you’d like any assistance.
Keep the weekend of April 8-9-10, 2005, open. “The Sounds of Silents” three-day event has been in the planning stages for several months now and we hope to reveal the entire program soon. Symphony orchestra, organ, piano, and guest accompanists will bring the glory days of the silent film back to life that weekend. The upcoming Phantom showing will give you a taste of what to expect…
Thanks also to you, as well as Jeff and Bob, for the comments about last weekend’s event.
The Science Fiction film festival begins tonight! Hope some of the denizens of Cinema Treaures can make a show or two!
Yes, they would have had to use a mag reader interlocked with the projectors. Actually, it looks they would have used two if the Paramount did not show the intended intermission segment in the WarnerPhonic system prints. Other non-3-D films from the era also used a separate mag track fpr stereo sound – War of the Worlds, From Here to Eternity are two that I know of. This was prior to mag striping the prints when CinemaScope came in, of course.
“House of Wax” was the first film presented in Warnerphonic sound
The WarnerPhonic process for double-system 3-D utilized a separate 35mm magnetic track running on a third machine in sync with the two projectors. This mag track contained the left, center, and right tracks – the surround was carried by the right-eye’s print optical track. The left-eye print’s optical track contained the mono mix and was used as a backup to the mag track.
No, we don’t currently have 70mm capability at the Lafayette, but we do have excellent 35mm with DTS Digital stereo and Dolby SR analog stereo sound. 70mm is something we’re considering, but the costs are rather high for the few prints we could get to run.
Director of Film Programming
Big Screen Classics at the Lafayette Theatre.
I was working as an assistant manager at Cinema 46 the day of the E.T. sneak – we had folks lining up starting around 11:00am for the show. If you remember, you had to see “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” first at 5:15, then “E.T.” at 7:15. We sold the whole place out in about 30 minutes and added an “unofficial” second showing of it at 9:45 that night as well. The place was a zoo and somebody stole the original one-sheet that said “In his First adventure on Earth.”
Yes, both Rocky III (the 70mm prints were cropped from 1.85 to 2.20) and Poltergeist were in 70mm at the Route 17 Twin.
Re: Lawrence in 92 at the Ziegfeld – it looked fantastic to these jaded eyes.
Regarding the Loew’s Jersey, they do not have 70mm gear. I’m hoping they can one day finish their restoration of the theatre and then work on getting 70mm gear up there, it would be a great place for the big epics (if the sound echo can be tamed a little).
Columbia has a number of 70mm titles available, probably more than any other studio. They are available for regular bookings to any theatre that has the 70mm projection equipment.
I don’t know the year it opened – 1967, I think – but it was as a single-screen theatre and it was known as Century Paramus, Stanley Warner and RKO came later. It was twinned just before the release of Diamonds Are Forever (a friend of mine always mentions that his first screening there after the wall went us was DaF and was depressing). The twinning was originally a wall right down the middle, when it was converted to the Triplex format, they removed the wall from the balcony, so that area is the original width of the theatre. It’s one of the better balcony theatres, but the presentation isn’t very good any more.
It, along with the Route 4 complex, will be closing as soon as Loew’s get final approval and builds their new gigaplex on the other side of the parking lot.
I asked my contacts at Warner Classics just the other day about “80 Days” and they told me that there have been no new prints struck, which is a shame. There’s been no definitive information published about this DVD “restoration”, so I don’t know if it was something that was created on film or a digital process for DVD only – if it was done on film, then they should strike a print or two. I would love to play it as part of my series this fall, but I’ve got 14 other shows lined up that should keep film fans happy, including several new prints with one film presented in vintage IB Technicolor! Titles will be announce in about 2 weeks, once everything is confirmed.
Director of Film Programming, Big Screen Classics at the Lafayette Theatre
I’m not sure you’re being fair to Dick May and Warner regarding Around the World in 80 Days, especially since they didn’t produce it and aren’t responsible for the sorry state of the negatives today. If you figure it would cost $10 million to restore and make a couple of 70mm prints, what do you think it could gross? The 1989 re-release of the restored Lawrence of Arabia – a far more acclaimed picture – only grossed $7 million with a ton of publicity, so Columbia got no more than $3.5 million out of it (and probably spent more than $2 million on the restoration and release). If it’s a choice between spending 10 million and restoring one film or using that 10 million to preserve and make new prints of 10-20 other films, they have to go with what makes the most economic sense.
Spartacus grossed under $2 million on its restored re-release, My Fair Lady grossed under $1 million. Both of these probably cost nearly a million to restore and re-release and, again, they are going to be more popular than Around the World in 80 Days.
Now I’m sure that subsequent video and cable tv revenue have made these worth doing, but it would be tough to justify $10 million for Around the World, since there’s no way it’ll gross even half that. They have to weigh costs vs. returns on these projects, that’s why the new prints of Singin' in the Rain and Adventures of Robin Hood were so nice to see. They could have let them be video only, but they took the time to create new negatives and new prints – which I played – and they looked stunning. Neither one cost anywhere close to a million to restore.
Rhett and Bill:
Thank you for your comments – it’s gratifying to know that people are enjoying our work up there.
See you this Saturday for THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD!
Bill is correct – the Bellevue’s presentation of Altered States was incredible. The process was called “MegaSound” and was also used on Outland (which was very nice at the Cinema 46).
The booth I was referring to as removed was the original booth at the top of the upper balcony: there are new walls and passageways up there where the booth used to be, but no room for projection equipment. I even climbed the iron ladder to go over the area in the hopes that maybe they had just put up a false ceiling, but there’s only a catwalk-type area above these little rooms. To put a booth back up there would require the new walls and ceiling to come down. The tenant who started the renovations had no plans to show movies there, he thought he could turn the place into a boxing hall (hence the light coffer in the ceiling) or some sort of concert venue. His problem was that he spent his money on the theatre and not on renovating the storefronts attached to it first – the rents from those stores were going to help pay for the project. Since he never fixed up those stores, he couldn’t keep them rented or get good money for them.
I was in the Paradise last year – we had a meeting with the landlord about the potential of taking on the property (I work for the Galaxy Theatre Corp. as the Director of Film Programming for the Lafayette Theatre’s Big Screen Classics series and other special film events). That “six months” that the security guard mentioned has been the mantra for the past several years, virtually no work has taken place since the last tenant (the guy who was beginning the renovations) defaulted last year. The place is in need of tons of work to get ready for any kind of show. The restoration of the lobby area is magnificent – about the best I’ve ever seen. Equal to it is the work on the underside of the balcony – spectacular hand-craftsmanship. But, and it’s a big but, there are no seats (I understand that they are at Irwin seating awaiting payment!), the projection booth has been removed and replaced by what are either very small private boxes or technical areas, the entire stage rigging is gone, there is no air conditioning (heat is there, however, whether it’s working or not wasn’t answered to our satisfaction), and the walls are only renovated up to a certain point – the rest is still only stabilized and not repaired. The ceiling, however, was repaired and painted a gorgeous azure blue and then, amazingly, a giant coffer for lights was cut right into the center of it, so it’s now useless as an atmospheric element! The owner of the place wants whoever is the next tenant to pay for all the remaining renovations (our best guess: $5 million minimum) and pay a huge rent on top of it. Sadly, I don’t think it will ever open again as a theatre. I believe that only the facade and lobby have been landmarked.