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It’s primarily a concert venue.
The heading needs to be corrected: the address was 6901 Pearl Road; and as a twin it had 1400 seats, 700 each auditorium.
I remember when the Merc re-opened after twinning that the Cinema II side had seats installed only in the back third because they ran out of time. In fact they were still mopping the dust off the floor when the picture started, a Geo. C. Scott picture I forget the title. They finished the seat install during the night.
$101,365/mo. – that’s pretty high rent for a 4 screen theatre, not doable.
When General Cinema transitioned from drive-ins to indoor theatres in the 1950s, they made a strategic decision to lease when possible rather than own property because it limited their liability for major repairs to the building. Usually the leases were written in a manner that made the landlord responsible for repairing the roof, making any structural repairs, replacement of heating and air conditioning equipment and maintenance of the parking lots and landscaping. The landlord also carried insurance on the building and in a catastrophic situation like a fire or severe storm damage the landlord repaired the building shell and GCC, being self-insured, repaired the interior build-out as an out-of-pocket capital expense.
The policy of leasing rather than owning proved to be a major element in the downfall of General Cinema. Leases prevented them from shedding the obsolete units with high rents and declining attendance numbers while at the same time they were trying to reconfigure the company with modern expensive stadium seating megaplexes.
Originally, the screen surrounds in both Cinema I and Cinema II were white, similar to General Cinema theatres of the era. Cinema I was lit red, Cinema II was lit blue. Prior to the opening of Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick came in to look the place over and DEMANDED the screen surrounds be painted black, or he would open his film elsewhere. Rugoff ordered them painted. In Cinema II it is still black.
So, now that the theatre and flea-bag hotel are gone, I’m sure the neighborhood is a much safer and pleasant place to be for the junkies, dealers, gang-bangers and school children of Passaic. What these pathetic small-minded city officials should have done was restore the theatre as a performing arts center and bulldoze the rest of the town.
In these type of venues the source of the unique ‘aroma’ is the carpeting – a combination of spilled beer, barf and far too frequent applications of carpet shampoo that isn’t allowed to dry before spilling more beer and barf on it.
Thanks for these ads MR – the CT page for the Westgate 6-plex is located here: /theaters/7738/
I don’t know how I missed that – I guess from the names Euclid and Doan I just assumed…well…no excuse…careless reading at 2am.
It’s possible that Loew’s operated the Euclid from 1919 until they built the Park in 1921 across the street and a little bit west. As this theatre was less than half the size of the Loew’s Park it probably became a move-over house and Loew’s eventually lost interest. The subsequent operator probably renamed it. It would be interesting to see if there are any advertisements showing Loew’s operating the Euclid and Park simultaneously.
Yes I’m watching the same show on PBS… :)
Mr. Schlanger’s role in a number of theatres in New York, DC and presumably this one was usually that of a consulting architect, advising the architect-of-record only on the technical aspects unique to a motion picture theatre. Specifically, things like acoustics, sight-lines, seating layout, floor and balcony pitch and arc, projection and audio equipment, electrical and space requirements for the projection booth were his expertise.
That’s why I questioned the photo of the Albee I saw in the book – one theatre was Lamb and the other was the Rapp Bros. I worked at the Palace and am quite familiar with it. So while perusing the book I saw a photo and automatically assumed was the Palace until I read the caption that indicated it was the Albee.
The RKO Albee was long gone by the time I came to NY so I never got to see it. I saw a photo of the lobby and auditorium in the book “American Picture Palaces” by David Naylor, and It looks amazingly similar to the RKO Palace in Cleveland OH. I suspected it was a mistake in the captioning of the photo, but was never quite sure. I would like to ask the Albee Theatre aficionados here to check out the links below that contain photos of the Cleveland Palace, which has been restored and is open and operating as one unit of a performing arts center. After viewing the photos could you please report here if the lobby and auditorium are similar to your recollections of the Albee interiors? Thanks in advance for your opinions.
RKO PALACE – Cleveland Ohio:
Exterior (front and side):
To give proper credit, the photos were taken and links posted on the Palace page on this site by CT member ‘spectrum’ on Jul 9, 2009.
The CT page for the Palace Theatre Cleveland OH is at:
It has indeed closed after the last show tonight. The other theatre this owner has, the Parma, has been up for sale but is still operating. We’ll see how much longer that one lasts.
Wow I never saw that ad. Do you know the date and what paper it was published in? Thanks.
Not quite a gut remodel, Al. They built a smaller auditorium within the old opera house. The first time I was in there was the night the ceiling fell down, I was working at CI&II we got the news and rushed down there. The ceiling over the balcony had come down and a large section of that then slid down the incline into the orchestra. I couldn’t see much at that time due to the heavy cloud of dust and there were no lights operable.
Several months later, I was given the key and sent down there to retrieve a buttermat and some other stuff. I took a big flashlight because nobody knew if Con Edison had shut off the power. By that time the entire ceiling was down in the orchestra. At the top of the side walls there was a vast amount of space between where the ceiling had been and the roof. There was enough space that another auditorium could have been built up there. Also, along the sides were the side sections of old horse shoe balcony of the ancient theatre. Snooping around further, I found that in the projection booth there was an old rickety wooden stairway going up to that balcony. That whole structure up there was made out of wood and there was evidence of past fire damage. There was old fabric wall covering straining to stay on the walls along with the old light fixtures. Below this balcony was another, but it was hidden behind the side wall of the cinema. Below that, on the ground level was the exit alleyway from the cinema. This was all on the west side of the building, the east side was similar, but inaccessible, and the ground level was the men’s room, ushers and porter room.
When they readied the place for temporary operation I drew the short straw and was assigned to be the manager. A new ceiling had been installed but instead of putting it in its original position they put it all the way up near the roof, leaving the old balcony’s exposed. In addition to installing the screen we had Geo. Moulinos mask off all that upper area and walls with drapery.
When that was finally shut down to be made into the quad, THEN they did do a complete gut, I was in there when it was just 4 walls and the roof.
Parmatown was the first twin theatre in the Cleveland area, Chapel Hill in Akron was the first twin theatre in Ohio. Southgate was built as a 12 or 1300 seat single screen. About 1971, at the same time the Westgate Cinema City under construction Southgate Cinema II with about 600 seats was built in the alley between the large cinema and the Cleveland Trust. The alley originally contained the auto-teller for the bank. The original auditorium was not divided until the early 1980s. The regional vp over the Cleveland division mgr. had been the opening manager of the Southgate Cinema, and as long as he was in charge of the area would nix any plans to divide that large theatre. Once he was switched to oversee the west coast instead of the midwest, the Southgate #1 was split.
Is it still sitting vacant? I was sure they would divide it up into ten trashy jewelry stores, or have the finally reached the saturation point with that junk? Every other storefront on 74th St. was that stuff. Even then, when the bar next door to the theatre went out of business, it was divided with 2 jewelry stores on the street level and 2 more in the cellar.
sorry, the Alzheimer’s is setting in… HOW could we have forgotten the Ziegfeld. Thanks Al.
Nice pics btw. Is that graffiti on the front recent, since the closing, or something that WMOTTB neglected while they were open? It looks like they are still removing stuff, I can see the box office sales computer still sitting there, I’d be surprised if they left that sort of thing for the demolition crew.
What about the Cinema Village (12 St)?
I think you mean The Paris, not the Plaza… is the UA East (1 Av-85 St) still open?
Not that it matters to any of us, but as I think about it more, I’m wondering if the condominium owners realize what will be in store for them once a supermarket opens in their building.
First, a supermarket has mice and roaches virtually built into the place, they get delivered with the first shipment of produce. While the theatre has been there, if a blue-haired resident on the 33rd floor has has been traumatized by an unfortunate encounter a roach the size of a Buick in her butlers pantry, the building manager was immediately dispatched to the theatre to inspect my extermination reports and snoop around the place with flashlights looking for actual vermin or evidence thereof, which they never found at least while I worked there.
Second, a supermarket requires a lot of rooftop refrigeration equipment to oprerate their coolers and freezers in the store. The theatre has one small cooling tower on the roof, as far away from the apt. tower as we could get it, yet if the drive belt on our cooling tower started to wear and the unit rattled a little more than usual I would get a barrage of phone calls from surly apartment residents demanding that I shut off my air conditioning until it was repaired.
Also, There is also the matter of deliveries to the market in the overnight hours, seven days a week.
I predict that after a while the residents will regret the day they agreed to install a supermarket, and look back on the halcyon days of the little old Loews Tower East longingly. “Alas,” they will say, “I fear we have erred. Our quest for big bucks per square-foot was misguided.” But it will be too late, too late for them, too late for us. The Loews is gone. Time marches on. And you can never go back. (I’m getting sappy now, I better stop).
If that’s the case, then Gristede’s has to be using basement space under the stores along with the street level. It was always my understanding that the basement under the stores was mechanical space for the condominium building, there is a garage under there somewhere, too. If they just use the street level stores and divide the theatre horizontally and use both levels it will not be much of a supermarket.