Showing 51 - 75 of 211 comments
Amazing, not many of S Charles Lee’s california theaters from the 1940’s remain in their original configuration. This must be restored and reopened. A true treasure!
There is part of the Music Box installed in the lobby of the City Centre building in downtown Seattle. It is a large ornamental carved stone arch that once graced the front of the building above the marquee. There were 3 of these arches and they contained windows. Don’t know what happened to the other 2, probably purchased during demolition.
Great picture, brings back many memories of afternoons at the movies when I was a kid.
I was in the Broadway in the 1980’s and saw Beau Gest with Marty Feldman. It was playing in the balcony theatre. I remember that the balcony was quite large and had not been changed at all from the original decorations with the exception of the new wall with the screen located on the front edge of the balcony. The theatre was fairly run down by this time and the lobby and entrances to the differant theatres were very cobbled up to try to keep the crowds from crossing from one auditorium to another. To bad as it looked like it had been nice at one time. Tom Moyer wasn’t known for being very simpathetic with his older properties. He liked to chop them up as cheaply as possible.
Glad to see that the cieling is getting restores. This has been the most visible problem area for the theatre. When finished the theatre should look GREAT!
This all rings true, Great idea to try something different, but will anyone come? Also you might draw an audience at the beginning because of the novelty but I don’t see that it will be self sustaining. Also the above comments are very true with reguards to product, most of the newsreels are not available and costs will be prohibitive. In the really old days the theaters were owned by the studios and they provided all this extra programing to stretch the programs out and provide information ( news ) to their patrons but the need is just no longer there.
Renovations at Lynwood Center are coming along with the sidewalks expanded and the parking is much improved. We have a newly paved lot on the east side and another on the west as well as parking all across the front of the building. The new owners of the building are commited to bringing this place back, and making sure that it will be around for generations to come.
I agree with most of what’s been said here with reguard to screen size and maskings. Screens should be as large as possible for the size of the market they are being built in and maskings should open and close from the sides as there is supposed to be a difference in picture width between flat and scope. Nothing drives me crazier that watching a flat movie and then seeing a scope presentation and they look like the same aspect ratio. With top down maskings the scope picture is actually smaller that flat. This is just cheap lazy theater owners who can’t be bothered to do it right.
I do believe that digital is here to stay and “if” the digital equipment can be ordered with specially ground lenses I see no reason why equipment can’t be bought that will reproduce the image clearity and size of the large curved screens thereby reproducing the image of 70MM. In the best large format houses of the past the lens’s were specially ground to match the curve and dimentions of the screen installed in those houses. It was expensive then and it’s going to be expensive now but if the theater owner cares about the presentaion they will pony up.
I agree with all of that.
First I do not book for myself I use a booking agency who books for our entire circuit, 27 screens, and while there is no push at this time for digital in the art market I do believe that at some point this is going to become an issue. Also the increase in revenue is with distributor cost not theater revenue. Most theaters would have been perfectly happy to stay with film but the distributors are the ones who are going to make a killing and they are pushing the industry forward on digital. And now that the largest circuits have inked deals to convert the big push is turning to the medium sized exhibiters, and once those agree to switch then it will trickle down to smaller operaters. This may take a few years to accomplish but that is the goal of the film distribution companys.
This is really no different than the switch from silent to sound. Everyone said sound film was a fad and it would never last. But the studios prduced sound movies and they were the largest theater owners so they wired for sound and pulled in the audience. Next the medium sized exhibitors followed suit and so on down to the smallest theater owner. If you didn’t convert you closed. Today the format is again changing and the money to convert is about the same as the convertion from silent to sound when you factor in what a dollar was worth in 1927 vs today with inflation. The same can be said when cinemascope came along in 1953 with stereophonic sound. Again a format change and you had to convert or not show some of the most popular films. This is a cyclical thing, technology changes and we must adapt, or fade to black. Everyone is so enamored with 35MM film but this is in use because it was the only practicle way to record images and play them back for the last 100 years or so, but there’s nothing wrong with moving forward. Digital is here to stay and eventurally everyone is going to have to switch. It may take a decade to accomplish but I believe it can not be avoided.
Musicalman, what are you ranting about! This organ should absolutly be restored and re-installed in the theater. The 7th street should present both up to date entertainment but also should embrace the past. I personaly know that a working pipe organ can be a big draw for an historic theater. This instrament can be played before any film as well as for concerts and along with any type of live entertainment that is planned. Also Silent films have a very large audience. This may not seem very apearent but it can be built. There are theaters all over the US and the world that are doing silent film screenings to great success. So my opinion is RESTORE AND INSTALL the organ. It will only be a huge benefit for the theater.
Quasimodo hit the nail on the head, this is what I’ve been experiencing for some time. My theatre is running art, independent, foreign films and we have to wait behind Landmark for virtually all our films. They are the biggest exhibitor for this kind of product in the nation and they have an exclusive lock on everything, so I wait, and as the # of prints reduce I can see the wait getting longer all the time. Digital is only going to make things worse. I firmly believe that the small independent theatre’s are the life blood of many smaller markets but the distributors only see $$$$ and the large chains can play films longer even after the audience has died off. My patrons also say they “love my theatre” but they will go elsewhere to see a movie instead of waiting until I can get a print.
As far as 70MM is concerned I see no return to large format productions. A good 70MM movie is usually filmed in 65MM and then blown up to 70. This gives you a picture that is virtually unsurpassed in visual quality. But this is very expensive and with the cost to make a movie these days the added expence to drag out the large format cameras is prohibitive. Also how many theatre’s have the ability to play 70MM? In the old days people would wait, or go to a major city for a Roadshow Presentation but today with saturation releasing I just don’t see it happening.
Picture quality will be another way the distributors will push Digital as they claim that you get the best picture without expensive large format filming and print production that can only be played at a very limited # of theatre’s.
I agree that is is going to take a while for the film industry as a whole to switch to digital, the problem is going to be that once the majors (Regal AMC etc.) switch over and are 100% digital and they control the majority of the screens in the US the availability of 35MM prints is going to shrink. 35MM will be around but the distributors who now make 1500 to 3000 prints of a major release are going to reduce that number way down. So anyone who plays a first run film in 35MM may have to wait for a print. This has already been stated as to what is going to happen by the major distributors themselves as digital is way cheaper to produce and ship. And they are the ones who will reap the biggest benifit from digital. So anyone who uses 35MM, myself included, may find a time in the near future when we can still get movies but how soon is going to depend on the perticular market we are in and how popular the film is and how many prints were struck by the distributor
Also; when wood was tried it was done because the theater was in financial trouble. The employee who tried the wood could get it for very cheap but because the stoves are so large the theater would burn a cord every other day. So not only was hauling it up to the stoves a problem, storage of a quantity to heat the place for 1 week in the winter required about 4 cord. There was no place to keep that much wood. Also the fire dept. approved the use of wood but only grudgingly. And they did not want it stacked all over the place. The theater was designed for oil or gas and nothing else.
In the opening description it states that the theater was heated by a wood fired boiler. In fact there has never been a boiler in this theater. The Aberdeen Theater’s furnace is located on the third floor over the stage house. The original stoves are still in use, they are now fired by gas but they were originally fired by black oil. In the 1980’s one of the staff members tried wood but it was difficult to haul it up three floors of narrow stairs. The stoves are like a wood stove used today in many peoples homes only much larger. the heat is dry and behind the fire boxes is the fan and ducting to circulate the hot air into the theater. This works very well. But there has never been steam in the Aberdeen.
Scott, what make of equipment was removed? When I left in the 1980’s the projectors were Simplex 35’s with RCA Photophone sound heads, Simplex bases and Brenkert EnArc lamps with a generator and voltage regulating equipment. Also the sound system was an Eprad stereo setup with 1 back stage speaker and surounds in the auditorium. Not a very good system. (a poor man’s dolby) That is what Grays Harbor Theatres installed and sold out to Tom Moyer who I believe then sold to Act 111.
West Side Story is an American film and should always be available while The Lion in Winter was a British production so the rights reverted to them. Making a release print and shipping it to us is costly and then some American distributor would have to agree to pay for the US distribution rights so you see it all ads up to more money spent on something that is going to have a limited return. Everything in this business is dollars and cents. ( I hate that) but it is true.
At this time there is no projection or sound equipment installed. There is no stage equipment either. These things take time and money. Even though John Yonich is financing this himself there are limits to how much one can spend at one time to complete a project. It will all come together soon. You have to give him credit for doing something that no one else was willing to do, invest in the future of Aberdeen! It will be finished and open, and when it is I think everyone will be amazed.
To answer your question about classic films, YES I believe they are going to be available in some digital form that can be projected on the big screen in a real theater. Having a movie on 35mm film is no guarantee that it is available for screenings now. My theater shows a classic once a month and we tried to get “The Lion in Winter” (1968) with Katherine Hepburn, Peter O Toole and Anthony Hopkins. We own the DVD but there are no theatrical rights in the US. There are no prints in the US. It can not be shown in this country. The rights for public viewing are owned by a British company and the only 35mm prints are in Great Britain. So you can buy the movie for home use but many films are no longer open for theatrical showings. Hopefully this will change with digital as the cost of a copy will be much less.
Yes film will be with us for some time to come but the # of prints will be reduced and small theater that don’t pull in big dollars that the big chains can virtually guarentee will suffer the most. Classics are already being digitized. I read a notice somewhere possibly on this site that the Hitchcock library is already being converted to digital with more titles to follow. Good movies will always be available in theaters, both first run and classic it is the format that is changing. I have spoken to several friends who travel abroad and they report that the movie theaters in large European cities are also converting to digital just like here. It will be the big chains first then the medium sized chains and so on with the independent owners last. It is all about money. I love film but I have to admit I watch movies in digital (not my own theater) when I have the chance. There are no scratches or damage and every screening is as good as the first one. Besides the idea is to keep the movie theater experience alive both in historic venues and modern cinemas. The audience does not care how the picture appears on the screen just as long as it does and is sharp and sounds good. Film was a medium that was developed because it was the only way to record moving images and replay them. This has worked for about 100 years, but now their is a new way and there will be more advances as time moves on. How would everyone feel watching a modern picture listening to the old studio standard mono sound that was delveloped in the 1930’s. But better sound has come along first there was the stereophonic 4 & 6 track magnetic developed in the 1950’s, amazing to listen to but expensive and fragile. Then the original dolby and now dolby digital. Formats constantly change, the idea is to give the audience the best picture and sound every time. Yes it is expensive and some solution to that needs to be developed, also a standard needs to be developed so that once the money has been spent the equipment will be in service long enough to make it profitable. For me the projection booth died when automation came into being. I loved the carbon arc lamps and the chang-overs every reel and the curtains and foot lights and general showmanship that went into putting on a show. Because going to the movies was a show. There are almost no profesional people upstairs running todays shows, so digital looks good to me, no scratches and flaws. Also the modern equipment can be programed to use stage lights and curtains if a historic theater has them.
I must agree that Film systems are the cheaper way to go and with a life span longer than most peoples work careers. The quality of film with good digital sound and proper optics is hard to beat, but that’s not the problem here. I work in exhibition and I have been told that as the bulk of the theaters change over to digital cinema the number of film prints available is going to be drastically reduced. Some movies will not be available on film at all. The major chains have all signed agreements to convert and once that is complete in about 3 years, movies on film is going to disapear. The distributors costs to produce a film print vs. a digital copy is huge. This is a numbers game and the studios and distributors are stacking the deck in their favor. They don’t care if the independents go out of business. Just like the advent of sound if you can’t convert you go dark. I don’t like the attitude but when the movie moguls died off and the film industry was taken over by large corporations and accountants started running the business this is what happens.
Stopped by the theater on 7/7 (tuesday) and checked out the Espresso Bar and the Ice Cream shoppe and found both to be wonderful. Also took a tour of the theater from proj. booth to the stage. What a great theater the place is all painted and the new chandeliers are installed, everything looks great! Better than it has in a very long time, (several decades). This place is simply amazing and I can’t wait for all of it to be open.
Received a call today and was informed that the Coffee shop and Ice Cream parlor are now open. Good news for the theater.
Seattle Wa. also had a UA 150 that was constructed as a dome. The same building had a second theater, the UA 70. I remember seeing Star Wars in the 150. The place was packed and the film played for over 1 year. They even had a big celebration when they reached the 1 year screening mark. Today the site is a gravel lot as the theaters were torn down some time ago. They also were well maintained up to the end.