Showing 51 - 75 of 252 comments
Thanks John for spearheading this effort. It would mean a l;ot for a neighborhood that is in the process of rebuilding to have a landmark designation for this site.
Although a convenient neighborhood screen, this venue, due to location, did not have the transportation access or pedestrian traffic that generated large crowds. Quadding would not have helped. Occasionally a film like ET would do boffo business, but I suspect that was rare. The film palaces at the western end of Kings Highway had a critical mass of several theatres, in the middle of a major shopping district, served by a major express subway stop and numerous bus routes. Not so the Nostrand which was in a strictly residential area. No doubt the Waldbaums supermarket diagonally across KH had more weekly patrons than the Nostrand. Once the Loews Georgetown Twin and Centur’s Kings Plaza Twin opened, with suburban style parking and other amenities, the days of the Nostrand were numbered.
As much as I’d want the Rainbow to be restored as a movie theatre, I can’t imagine that the economics would prove that feasible. Granted that the enighborhood has now become hip and trendy, that stretch of Graham Ave does not get the pedestrian traffic that you might see on Bedford Ave. or Grand St., or a few blocks closer to the L train station. Unless there is a special exhibition niche, there is always the competition from Netflicks and cable to consider. I would be delighted to be proven wrong, and would plan on showing up for an opening day. Now if I could only get my old high school buddies to join me…..
Neighborhood sub-runs, not affiliated with any of the major chains, would distribute cardboard posters among the local merchants for display in shop windows, announcing the features for the week. The posters were fairly ordinary, just print and no photos with the basic information. I don’t recall any listing of starting times as patrons were more than likely to walk-in in the middle of the feature.
It’s fascinating that the filmgoing economics of 35-40 years ago allowed for the specialized handling of serious films on a roadshow basis. The major studios backing those films must have made reasonably good business to have gone through with such arrangements at a small venue such as the Fine Arts.
Back until the 50’s or 60’s most new releases arrived on Wednesday. The major chains scheduled their program changes weekly on Wednesdays as well. Radio City may have the exception, with new features opening on Thursday.
Among the values of B'way’s photos of 2/4/11 is placing the theatre within the context of its era. Different anfles of different individuals shows how the Grand was very much a part of the neighborhood scene. The downtown Fox or the ornate Republic may have been for weekend & special occasions, but the Grand was the mainstay for mid-week and Satuday matinees. Bring on the remaining shots!
John, I suspect your speculation about the community’s likely disapproval of an entertainment venue on Bushwick Ave to be accurate. Although a narrow thoroughfare, Bushwick Ave. was reknown through the middle of the last century for its distinguished churches. St. Marks Lutheran Church served as an anchor at one end of the avenue, as one steeple followed another going eastward. These churches along with the exlusive residences that lined the avenue would have disapproved of a large permanent theatre structure. Better to relegate the entertainment site to Broadway.
Attempted to see the latest Liam Neeson flick, Unknown at this venue. Having already had dinner at a local restaurant, I was not interested in the Fork & Screen experience. Plain and simple, I just wanted to enjoy a good escapist movie, no frills. The hostess claimed that the movie was sold out for non-dining patrons as it was clear that the theater was holding out for those patrons willing to shell-out big-bucks for the food package. I find waitress service at entertainment events to be a distraction, even when they try crawling on their knees to be less conspicuous. AMC can keep their Fork & Screen concept. Instead I drove to Montclair and enjoyed Cedar Rapids at the Claridge. By dining out, and going for drinks and coffee at a local pub afterwards, I got to support some local merchants and not the corporate coffers of AMC.
Thanks NittyRanks. What a terrific site. I was able to identify that the tracks shown in the 1933 photo belonged to the 5th Ave. elevated line that linked with the Fulton St. line in the north, and connected to the West End & 3rd Ave. lines going south. Had not been aware that these el lines existed.
Hadn’t realized that Modern Times had such an enormous popular appeal to have had such a distinctive world premiere at such a prestigious venue. I may be guilty of having underestimated the tremendous appeal of CC which obviously was not limited to revival festival crowds at the New Yorker in the ‘60s.
Hadn’t realized that there were el tracks running on Flatbush Ave as shown in the 1933 photo listed above. Can anyone shed any light on which line that was and where it ended after going south on Flatbush? Can only make out a portion of those tracks in the 1929 photo as they appear to merge with the Fulton St. line.
Thanks Al. Quite a treasure trove. Will spend hours going through it.
Posting additional photos on site would be appreciated.
The George Mann photo is terrific showing the original marquee, matching blade sign, the Fulton St. El & the Paramount’s electric sign. Even the original IRT subway entrances are distinct. The entire scene gives that portion of Flatbush Ave. a long lost sense of purpose & grace.
Thanks John for the above reference. How available is the Brooklyn Theatre index and where can it be found?
The TransLux East was singular for its intimate sense of luxury with its posh red and gold appointments and classical architectural details. When it reopened as the Gotham this was lost and was replaced with a sleek, yet cold ambiance. Other than Last Tango In Paris, the TLE could never compete with Cinema 1 or the Coronet for the exclusive mainstream bookings. The fourwalling of Caligula, and subsequent distribution patterns probably reuined it as a prime first run venue.
Finally caught the opening scenes of this past Saturday’s Bowery Boys feature on TCM and saw the Ruby marquee. Any idea when that scene was shot? The 2nd Ave. elevated train is in the background. Somethings remain the same.The water tower belonging to University Settlement continues as part of the LES skyline.
It’s been quite a while since distributors opened movies on limited engagements in the hope that good reviews and word of mouth would generate good box office. “Gigi” is a case in point. Now the economics of distribution make this prohibitive. However, in December we have the phenomena where movies open for a one-week engagement to qualify them for awards consideration. Like “Barney’s Version” & “the Company Men” among others, they then re-open in January, hoping for a nomination nod.
The Sutton had the roadshow engagement of the Blue Max.
Can we assume that the DeMille benefitted from the demoliton of the Roxy? Any reason why the Roxy to my knowledge, was never a roadshow house?
Had been to the Murray Hill several times before it was turned into a quad. In its early years as a Rugoff house it showcased foreign filsms – saw a bouble feature of Repulsion & il Bombole (the Dolls). Later it became a Premiere Showcase outlet daydating the Astor & the Trans-Lux East for United Artist product.
Don’t recall the original seating, but never visited th MH after the quadding since I imagined that the theraters would have been too cramped. Makes sense now that the first renovation only occupied half of the theater.
Weird movie for a weird theater. Saw the Hellstrom Chronicles here. You could usuallly count on Cinema 5 releasing quality product. This was a miss. Donald Rugoff must have been out of the office when his company agreed to distribute this one.
Pity that this screen has gone dark. Not my favorite venue; the salle was cramped, and since it was north of the Cinema 5/Walter Reade/Bloomingdale’s nexus and unlike the 59th Street cluster of screens, waiting on line for a sold-out show offered few distractions or alternatives. Blockbuster Paramount product often day dating the Loew’s State brought the lines around the block. This was especially true of “Rosemary"s Baby”. Fortunately for now, we still have the Paris and the Ziegfeld. Does the UES really need another overpriced supermarket?
Very impressive 1932 wraparound marquee and RKO signage. Any idea when the marquee was pared-down?