Comments from bigjoe59

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bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Jun 19, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Hello to Ed S. –

thanks for your reply. you of course make a valid point about whether the projection/screening set up at the Crescent was permanent in other words constructed along with the rest of the theater or perhaps hastily put up at the last minute and then later made permanent. i guess we will never know since anyone who went to or worked at the theater is long gone.

also after reading your reply an interesting thought occurred to me. if the theater this page is for the Embassy 1,2,3 were still showing films wouldn’t it be the oldest theater building in Manhattan being used as a movie theater? after all it opened in 1910 as the Columbia a burlesque house.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Jun 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Hello Again To My Fellow Posters-

as always i thank my fellow posters for their thoughts/comments on my posts. its nice to have a lively discussion.

now if you read my last two posts i never use the term “movie only theater” just “movie theater”. i admit the Cresent in terms of its size or
ornateness wasn’t in the same class as the Rialto of 1916. but since it did have movies as part of the bill on opening night that would imply i’m sure you’ll agree that the intention of screening movies as well as having vaudeville acts must have been part of the design and construction phase. i can’t imagine they chose to show films on a whim the morning of the opening night. so what are your thoughts on this as a more valid way of describing the Cresent-“the oldest theater i could find in my search that was built from the ground if not as a movie only theater at least as a combo movie/vaudeville house”. i admit that’s a bit much but since is it the oldest purpose built theater i could find that screened movies on its opening night and for some time after i think its distinctive place in the history of movie exhibition in Manhattan should be duly noted.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Hollywood on Jun 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Hello To My Fellow Posters In L.A.–

i live in NYC and enjoy reading this page to see what’s going on in the movie going world of L.A. so i have a question for fellow posters in L.A.. does anyone know what the oldest continually in operation movie theater is in L.A.? my one qualification is that it has been a commercial house the entire time. for instance the Egyptian on Hollywood Blvd. doesn’t count since its been a non-profit film society type house for a number of years.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Jun 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Hello Again to AL A.–

thank you for your quick reply. its always good too read your thoughts on the subject.

as i said i have a rather liberal definition of what constitutes a built from the ground up or to use the proper term purpose built movie theater. now no one can contest that the Cresent was designed to be and was built from the ground up as a theater and opened on the night of Dec. 16, 1909. now i don’t know this to be fact but i’m guessing the technical know how and equipment needed to show movies or photoplays as i believe they were called in the early years was a bit more complicated by 1909 from when they made they debut at Koster and Bial’s Music Hall in April of 1896. my point being since movies were a part of the bill on the opening night of Dec. 16, 1909 the thought to exhibit movies as well as vaudeville must have been a part of the whole design and construction phase. that’s why i am classifying the Cresent as the oldest purpose
built “movie theater” i could find in my search.

whether is was a large theater in terms of seating capacity or whether is was ornate in its exterior or interior design or whether is was considered a major theater in terms of the product or performers it got isn’t important. the important fact is that on the opening night movies were part of the bill.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Jun 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Hello To Al A. & techman707-

as always i enjoy reading my fellow poster replies. to which your comments of May 4.

i guess i have a rather liberal definition of what classifies as a built from the ground up or to use the more proper term purpose built movie theater. my search used the nifty list this site complied of all movie theaters that ever existed in New York State. i of course just looked up the theaters listed under New York, New York which was the list’s notation for Manhattan.

the oldest purpose built “movie theater” i could find was the Cresent at 36 W. 135 St.. it opened on the night of Dec. 16, 1909. true the opening night program as you can imagine was a double bill of movies and vaudeville but the important fact to remember is this- the fact movies were shown as part of the opening night program would seem to be proof that during the design and construction phase it was the intent to exhibit movies as well as vaudeville. to which this fits my definition of a purpose built “movie theater”.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jun 8, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Hello-

i thank my fellow posters for their replies to all of my questions. its been most helpful.

as you know for the past several weeks i have been browsing a neat list this site complied of all the movie theaters that ever existed in New York State. the purpose being to find the oldest built from the ground up or to use the more proper term purpose built built movie theater in Manhattan. to which on the list i just looked up the theaters listed under New York,New York. now for some time the furthest back i could go
using my criteria was the Regent and the Bunny both of 1913. then i found out the late Apollo of 42 St. was built in 1910 to exhibit both movies and vaudeville. well i found an even older theater that was built to exhibit both films and vaudeville. the Cresent later known as the Gem was built at 36 West 135 St. it opened on Dec. 16, 1909 with a program of both movies and vaudeville. now whether in the design and construction stages the builder intended to show films well who knows. it may only have been a thought after the construction was finished. but the important fact remains that on the opening night the program consisted of movies as well vaudeville. the theater ceased operation in 1937 and for many years the building was used by a community organization. the building is now demolished.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Sutton Theater on Jun 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Hello-

does anyone know if the Sutton had any
exclusive roadshow engagements other than
“The Blue Max”?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jun 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Hello Again-

in the last say year and a half of the Roxy’s life i was under the assumption that in the movie industry at the time it was quite clear what was considered an A film or a B film. for instance both the Loew’s Capitol and the Paramount went out playing A films. so it would have been nice if the Roxy’s final film had been a big A film.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jun 4, 2012 at 10:21 am

Hello-

as i said in my previous post in its last days the Roxy was playing many B if not C films. in fact the last film to play the Roxy was what a friend of my parents referred to as a C film. i forget the title but in had “Wind” in it. to which what was the last first run A level film that the Roxy played?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jun 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Hello- thanks for the info. there were many large grand old movie theaters that continued to operate as single screen first run movie theater for several years after the Roxy was torn down. the Criterion, Loew’s State, Loew’s Capitol, the Rivoli, the Warner the Demille and the Paramount. i guess they were able to survive as single screen movie theaters long after the Roxy was torn down because they were manageably large whereas the Roxy which had like twice the seating capacity of the Paramount was just to frigging big for its own good.

also what are your thoughts on the fact that till the day they closed down both the Loew’s Capitol and the Paramount were still playing first run A level movies. respectively PLANET OF THE APES and 2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY for the Capitol and THUNDERBALL for the Paramount. a friend of my parents said that in its last 2 years or so the Roxy at times played B or even C movies. now this was long before mutliplexes when studios opened a film in 2000 to 3000 theaters on the same day. so if the Capitol and the Paramount were able to book first run A level films till the day they closed why wasn’t the Roxy?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jun 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Hello-

i was able to attend many of the great old movie houses in the Times Square area when they were still more or less in their original condition and they before were twined or torn down. the Roxy wasn’t one of them. to which i have what i hope is a simple question. the decision to tear down the Roxy was made i believe in June of 1960. so as well loved as the theater was and had ornate as it was by June 1960 wasn’t a movie theater as HUGE as the Roxy just plain economically unviable?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about AMC Lincoln Square 13 on Jun 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm

when did the price for shows before 12.pm. go up to $7? i saw MEN IN BLACK 3 last weekend and it was still $6.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about National Twin on May 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm

to AL A.–

thanks for your reply. granted no one ever said the National either as a single or twin theater wasn’t successful. if you have a minute read the two previous posts i alluded to in my post of 5/22/12. doesn’t the sentiments expressed in these two posts make it seem certainly to some one you had never been to the National that the theater had gotten as seedy, run down, ill kept etc… as the general area itself? i just wanted to make the point to people who had never been to the National that in all the times i went there in its 26? year history regardless of the quality of the films the theater itself was always well run, well maintained etc….

this is of course the direct opposite of the Embassy 1,2,3. i admit i went to the tri-plexed former Demille a number of times simply because it was convenient. in fact the last film i saw there which was shortly before it closed up shop was “Living Out Loud” with Holly Hunter and Queen Latifah. my point being in the year or two before it closed both the main auditorium and the two upstairs were in run down condition. in fact the men’s room for the main auidtorium downstairs and the men’s room and the two upstairs were in decidedly un-mantained condition. i wonder how the theater was never closed for health code or building violations. the city closes eateries at the drop of a hat for the same reasons.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about National Twin on May 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Hello To My Fellow Posters-

i wish to comment on the replies to my post of 5/22/12. i don’t see why the ethnic or demographic composition of the audience needs be mentioned. all i was commenting on was the fact that even during Time Square’s most “colorful” period the denizens of the area that produced said “colorfulness” never seemed to frequent the National(either as a single screen or twin) as they did the grind houses on 42 St. aside from the quality of the movies being shown i never remember this theater ever being run down, seedy, a shadow of its former self etc… terms which i’m sure could have been applied to the grind houses on 42 St.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Plaza Theatre on May 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Hello-

my original post in which i said that calling the the theater “out of the way” or “hard to find” was a bit much was from my personal experience. the first time i can remember going to the Plaza was to see “Anne of the Thousand Days”. this i believe was the beginning of 1970. until reading my fellow posters replies i had no idea that the theater was first built to be an elegant second run house. so i guess the Plaza must have become a prime first run house shortly before my first visit. i seriously doubt Universal would have
booked a big Oscar bait film like “Anne….” into an exclusive Manhattan run at a theater out of the way or that no one could find.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Loew's American Theatre on May 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Hello Again-

as always i thank my fellow posters for their replies. while “42 Street” is one of my favorite books about Manhattan theater history the opening statement to the chapter on the American has always perplexed me. now the Rialto of 1916 is the movie theater which “replaced” Hammerstein’s Victoria. since i’ve read the Rialto was the first movie “palace” built in the Times Square area i assumed it was a brand new from scratch building but apparently not according to Henderson. so how much of the Victoria existed in the Rialto? for instance was the Rialto simply built within the gutted frame of the Victoria so all that was left were the four walls?

also considering Henderson’s thoughts on the subject how much of a older structure would have to still be present for the “new” theater not to be considered a “new” theater as she does?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Plaza Theatre on May 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Hello- this was one of the most prominent quasi-art houses in Manhattan in that it would occasionally play big films as well. granted it was on 58 St. between Park and Madison but to deem that it was “hard to find” as the intro states it sooooo way off base. it was a favorite theater of mine. i would have loved to have the downstairs lounge as my apartment.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Pilgrim Theatre on May 22, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Hello-

i have lived within walking distance of the building my entire life. now i just turned 61 and never remember the building in operation as a movie theater. the marquee was kept up long after it closed. so when did it close as a movie theater?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about National Twin on May 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Hello-

i have to respond to the comments made by rivoli157 and GaryCohen. while the surrounding area may have gotten “colorful” at one point the theater itself never went down hill or got seedy however you wish to phrase it. it fact “The Towering Inferno” opened on an exclusive Manhattan run Dec. 1974 that lasted till the end of May 1975. in terms of –“then the twinning and
the real decline of Times Square-no one in their right mind went to a movie theater on Broadway”. that is of course simply not true. from the day the it opened as a single screen theater Dec. 1972 thru its closure as a twin in 1996 the theater was a well run operation and always ran 1st run engagements. whether or not the films were any good was a matter of opinion. during the theater’s 24 year existence i went there many times and no matter how “colorful” the area may have gotten at one point the theater(s)were always well run and the patrons were regular well dressed well behaved folk and not the “colorful” denizens of the area as has been implied in the comments.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Movieland on May 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Hello- while the body of the theater(the auditorium)had been converted to the U.S.A. disco and subsequently demolished to build the swanky W hotel the lobby area stills stands as is still operates as the Roxie deli.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Metropolitan Theatre on May 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Hello-

i first became aware of this theater when i was a delivery boy for a local supermarket in the early 70s at which point it was already showing porn. i have always assumed it was a vaudeville house which had seen better days. but from the intro at the top am i to understand it was built from the ground up as a movie theater in 1914 and was not a conversion/renovation of an older structure into a movie theater and that it was strictly a movie theater its entire life?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Loew's American Theatre on May 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Hello- while quite fascinating and beautifully designed Mary C. Henderson’s book “42 Street” contains a big factual error that i’m surprised the proof reader didn’t catch. the book is a biography if you will of the 12 theaters that were built on 42 St. between 7t hand 8th Avenue. the twelve chapters are arranged chronologically by the date the theater was built. therefore the American is the 1st theater discussed and therein lies the factual error. the chapter begins with i believe this statement-“the American has the dubious distinction of being the first theater built on the block and the first theater torn down”. this is not true. while it was the first theater built it was not the first theater torn down. Hammerstein’s Victoria right on the northwest corner of 7th Avenue and 42 St. was torn down at the end of 1915. the American wasn’t torn down till 1931.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Fine Arts Theatre on May 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm

i remember the Walter Reade theaters serving coffee so its nice to know the Rugoff theaters had a similar policy. i’m guessing the primary reason they were able to pull it off was because of the manageable size of the theater’s audience.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Fine Arts Theatre on May 18, 2012 at 7:15 pm

i liked the Fine Arts. one thing that the theater did in the 70s and maybe early 80s was offer free coffee in the downstairs lounge from i think 5p.m till closing. i believe other Walter Reade theaters did so as well. can you imagine that being done today?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Cinema Village on May 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Hello- as always i thank my fellow posters for replying to my inquiries. so Al A. if i understand you reply correctly the 55th St. Playhouse went from being a top art house to a gay porn house in short order? i suppose anything is possible in the big wide world of Manhattan real estate even the fall of 1971. its just i can’t picture the theater going from being a top art house than say two or weeks later becoming the top hard-core gay porn house in Manhattan. i naturally assumed there had to have been a significant closed up period.