Comments from edblank

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edblank commented about Airport Theatre on May 20, 2008 at 8:39 pm

The Airport Theater at the now-razed Greater Pittsburgh International Airport was straight ahead as you entered the main entrance. It was the farthest destination inside the building through the main corridor. It was razed when the airport was greatly expanded in – what? – the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Like many drive-in theaters, the Airport Theater distributed weekly playbills, with the present attraction on the front cover and about three forthcoming movies advertised on Pages 2, 3 and 4.
I was always intrigued by the theater and went there once or twice
before it closed, notably for a re-release combination of Hitchcock’s “Marnie” and “The Birds.” (Normally the theater had played late-run single features, so this program was quite unusual.) Two major disadvantages of the Airport Theater: (1) You had to pay airport parking rates just to be on the premises, and (2) The cinema wasn’t nearly well enough insulated from the deafening noise of planes taking off just beyond the walls. – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Eastwood Theatre on May 20, 2008 at 7:45 pm

The Eastwood was an unusually nice, family-operated theater on the border of urban and suburban Pittsburgh. It played early-neighborhood-run movies, usually in double bills (“Charade” and “Lilies of the Field”), usually with two changes the week. It was owned and operated throughout its existence by the Navari family of Penn Hills. Rudy, the patriarch, maintained it very well with the help of his wife, son Rudy, daughter Norina and especially eldest son Joel (Joseph L.). Joel took over more and more of the theater’s operation during his college years in the early 1960s and booked several move-over art films as well as the highest quality commercial releases. No junk at all. Unfortunately, by the late 1960s, it was trapped in a neighborhood that was succumbing to crime, which began to impact on the audience the Eastwood served. Even the nearby East Hills strip mall succumbed. The Eastwood’s final movie before closing in 1969 was “Krakatoa, East of Java.”

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edblank commented about Modjeska Theater on May 20, 2008 at 7:34 pm

Thank you for that photo, Lost Memory. I’d never imagine what building I was looking at. I got to Augusta one time in my post-Army years – 1970, I think – and the town already was changing. – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Imperial Theatre on May 20, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Saw a lot of movies at the Imperial when I was stationed at Fort Gordon in 1965-66. Among them was the national re-release of “Shane” and a double bill of then-recent Columbia hits and awards contenders, “The Collector” and “Ship of Fools.” Most of all I can remember the theater’s localized making a big ndeal of the fact that the new Jimmy Stewart Civil War drama, “Shenandoah,” was filmed in “our own Shenandoah Valley” or words to that effect. I was aware that “Shenandoah” had played to good, slightly better-than-average business in other cities, including my hometown, Pittsburgh. (Stewart was born 50 miles from here in Indiana, PA, 100 years ago this week.) Anyway, at Augusta’s Imperial Theater, “Shenandoah” played to colossal business – lines around the block and advertising that called it the all-time record-breaker, which truly may have been the case. Most movies moved in and out in a week or two, even the bigger ones. But “Shenandoah” played at least four weeks and quite possibly more than a month. It was the first time I was aware of a picture being a regional sensational more than it was a national one. — Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Miller Theatre on May 20, 2008 at 7:06 pm

One of the pictures I caught there while stationed at Fort Gordon in 1965-66 was “The Group.” – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Modjeska Theater on May 20, 2008 at 7:05 pm

I remember this theater being by far the least attractive of Augusta’s four single-screen indoor theaters when I was stationed at Fort Gordon from August 1965 through May 1966. Unlike the Daniel Village, the Imperial and the Miller, the Modjeska was seedy and played late-run double bills. As I recall, the double bills unquestionably accented action to draw male audiences who were not concerned about the theater’s disrepair. I remember going in only once to catch a favorite from several months earlier, “The Train.” – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Angelika 57 on May 20, 2008 at 6:57 pm

I was delighted when the ubiquitous Frank Rowley began programming this theater with classics and disheartened when his era ended here, as it had at the Regency. What a loss!

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edblank commented about Warner Theatre on May 20, 2008 at 6:42 pm

Thank you very much for that start, VEYoung. Every year from 1954 through 1961 or maybe 1962, I spent a week in Atlantic City with my folks. I always went straight to the Steel Pier to get that week’s schedule and to work out a one-day itinerary so we could see the diving horse, the main movie, which was always in the Casino, the secondary movie, which played the larger Music Hall with that week’s name attraction (Guy Mitchell with his leg in a cast one year, a pairing of June Valli and Jean Carroll another year), as well as the water show at the end of the pier featuring the diving horse. For whatever reason, we never bothered with “Tony Grant’s Stars of Tomorrow” show, which was in a third theater. The Grant show might have been in the auditorium you refer to as the Ocean. I sure wish Steel Pier had a Cinema Treasures entry. – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Gramercy Theater on May 20, 2008 at 6:26 pm

As I recall, in 1978 this theater played a festival of Katharine Hepburn movies in double bills. I caught up with a lot that were hard to find at the time, including the lesser RKO Hepburns of the 1930s – the ones that got her labled “box-office poison.” – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Charles Theatre on May 20, 2008 at 6:21 pm

Does anyone remember which distributor fed films to this theater when it was the Surf? – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Warner Theatre on May 20, 2008 at 6:17 pm

Can anyone tell me how to find the Steel Pier’s theaters in Cinema Treasures? As I recall the two moviehouses on the pier were called the Music Hall and the Casino, but neither of them, nor Steel Pier, seems to have an entry here among the Atlantic City cinemas. – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Apollo Theatre on May 20, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Saw “The Five Pennies” there in the summer of 1959. I remember thinking the Apollo was less distinctive than most of the other Atlantic City moviehouses of that era. – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about World Theatre on May 20, 2008 at 4:25 pm

It’s always interesting to find out that a theater, like the World, that had one kind of identity when you frequented it, or at least tracked its programming, had a whole different identity in an earlier era. I hadn’t realized, or had forgotten, that the World at one time was a true “art house.”

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edblank commented about City Cinemas Cinema 1, 2, and 3 on May 20, 2008 at 4:58 am

Around the time “Tom Jones” was playing at Cinema 1 (and possibly concurrently at Cinema II), I recall the star of that film (presumably Albert Finney)appearing as the mystery guest on “What’s My Line?” Panelist Dorothy Kilgallen figured out who it was (as a newspaper columnist she always knew who was in town beating the drums for a movie)and asked in her most chi-chi manner if the mystery guest had a new movie opening at theaters “we” (she and her friends) affectionately refer to as “Chinema 1 and Chinema 2.” She was correct in identifying the mystery guest. But in my dozens of visits to those auditoriums from 1967 on, when I finally started spending all of my vacation time in New York, I could never enter them or even walk past those theaters without recalling how “in” she made them sound with her hoity-toity pronunciation “Chinema.” Among the many films I saw there were “Sophie’s Choice” and “Cries and Whispers.” – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about City Cinemas Village East on May 20, 2008 at 4:18 am

Starting June 17, 1969, when this theater was called the Eden, it hosted a long pre-Broadway-area engagement of “Oh! Calcutta.” – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Loew's Palace Theater on May 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm

The only movie I’ve ever seen in a D.C. theater was “Bad Day at Black Rock” at Loew’s Palace early in 1954. A memorable occasion. – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Daniel Village Theatre on May 14, 2008 at 9:38 pm

It seems to me the theater was new, or nearly so, when I was stationed at Fort Gordon 1965-66. I saw “Help!” there the day I arrived in Augusta, which was the day before I needed to sign in on post and to begin active duty. I sat through “Help!” twice to kill time. Nice theater. Later I saw “Lord Love a Duck” there. I remember that the first Augusta engagement of “My Fair Lady” was a mere two-week engagement, whereas “The Sound of Music” was booked there for an open-ended – and long – engagement. – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Roxy Theatre on May 9, 2008 at 5:11 am

The Roxy played “A Hole in the Head” for several weeks in the summer of 1959. Beautiful theater. I’d rank it second only to the Warner/Warren in Atlantic City in the 1950s. — Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Apollo Theatre on May 9, 2008 at 4:49 am

Among the movies that played the Apollo was “The Five Pennies” in the summer of 1959. – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Strand Theatre on May 9, 2008 at 4:34 am

In the summer of 1961 the Strand had the Deborah Karr-Gary Cooper thriller (his final movie) “The Naked Edge.” The theater participated in a gimmick that United Artists encouraged all first-run theaters to use for “The Naked Edge.” No one was allowed top enter the theater during the final 13 (terrific) minutes. A long queue formed outside during evening performances while a flashing red lightbulb signaled that the climax of the picture inside was in progress. I loved the picture. Still do. Saw it one night at the Strand alone and then dragged my folks along the next night so I could see it again. I made a point of arriving early enough to participate in waiting and watching that red bulb. Fond memories. – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Beach Theatre on May 9, 2008 at 4:25 am

Whenever I visited A.C. in the summers from 1954-61, the Beach always had the biggest Columbia picture available at that time including “Anatomy of a Murder” (summer of 1959) and “The Guns of Navarone” (summer of 1961). — Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Warner Theatre on May 9, 2008 at 4:18 am

I recall the Warner/Warren as being the most beautiful of all Atlantic City theaters when my family was vacationing there annually in the 1950s. I was always eager to see what was playing there when we got to town. An oddity: During the summer of 1956 the theater played “Pardners” (Martin & Lewis) and “Moby Dick” on alternate weeks, apparently to encourage two visits by vacationers regardless of when they arrived. – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Radio City Music Hall on May 8, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Speaking of “Smokey and the Bandit” failing at RCMH after being a blockbuster in other parts of the country, I recall being surprised to find that some (many?) John Wayne movies opened later in Manhattan than in other parts of the country. It was as if they avoided New York reviews on the assumption, probably based on a lot of precedent, that they’d be less favorable in NYC than anywhere else. Wayne was huge almost everywhere. I gather that was relatively less true in NYC. And how weird that “The Cowboys,” of all Wayne movies, should get a RCMH booking. It was, I think, easily the most mean-spirited movie in which he had participated and the only one I outright dislike. – Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Radio City Music Hall on May 8, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Thank you very much for that list, Al Alvarez. Things sure did change at RCMH in the 1970s, didn’t they? In earlier decades, many of those movies would have premiered at the neighborhoods on double bills. — Ed Blank

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edblank commented about Little Carnegie Playhouse on May 7, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Great illustrations, Warren. Just to see the interior brings back vivid memories. On a 1973 visit to Little Carnegie, I caught a small film called “I Love You, Rosa” at a crowded weekend performance and sitting close to the right front exit gawking at wall ornament looming over the exit. At the time I saw “Faces” there, I remember reading a John Cassavetes interview in which he said he wanted to book his pride and joy there because he had worked in Little Carnegie many years earlier. – Ed Blank