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United Artists is a strange company… the theatres that everybody hates stay open and are run into the ground, and the ones that are maintained and well-liked by the public get closed – go figure!
I guess the secret is if you happen to find a clean, maintained UA theatre that you like and return to frequently, DO NOT let the UA management find out or they will close it down (apparently it doesn’t fit their image). The UA'a that people complain about and criticize stay open forever.
Kind of an odd name for a movie house… was the owner a Druid?
Wow, you weren’t kidding – check out these house-counts: 120 – 100 – 55 – 150 – 150 – 45 – 67 – 67 – 67 – 75 – 132 – total 1028 seats – according to the Dec. 1999 Loews directory. It’s amusing that the screening room in the home office seats more people than each of the five smallest, dare I say, ‘theatres’ at this location….
The address here should be changed to 49 Westchester Square.
The 3 story glazed white brick building, taking up the whole block btwn Roberts and Ponton Avenues looks to be from the 1920s. The storefront at #49, in the center of the block has an archway above the first-floor level. above that is a white and blue tile facade with a single ‘tragedy’ mask. in the center. The stubs of the severed marquee supports are evident. Inside the storefront (a para-legal office) about the first 15 feet, is an arched white tile ceiling with many empty light sockets and appears to be the area where the box office would have been. This is all that remains to indicate that there was once a theatre there. The lady working there said she thought it had been a theatre. They had tried to put bulbs in the sockets, but the old wiring was no good and they couldn’t get at it without ripping up the tile work, and they are just tenants there. Around the back of the building where the auditorium once was is a parking lot and a circa-1950s Post Office.
Can anybody with one of those old film business books provide the opening and closing dates and number of seats?
BTW, Seth, the smart sharks (Deep Blue Sea) had in it’s audience one Michael Jackson, wearing Red pants, white shirt and a bee-keepers hat complete with netting, with an entourage of 5 very young men. After spending $60 on tickets and $40 at the stand, they left after about 25 minutes…..
Now that the old Griggs seats have been replaced with larger seats from the Astor, the heading for this theatre should be updated to show 524 seats.
Most theatres are referred to as ‘the’ – small t – “I went to the Orpheum”. Proper English, I suppose, would be “I went to the Orpheum Theatre”, except in Brooklyn, where “Yo, I went to ‘da Loweez” would be considered the proper statement. <grin>
The correct address of the former Loews Yorktown theatre is 6208 Brookpark Road, Cleveland 44109 (on the Cleveland side of Brookpark Rd.). This was built by Modern Theatres of Ohio in the 1940s and had about 1500 seats. Loews bought it in the mid-1960s, divided it in half and covered the art-deco interior with soundfold draperies in about 1968. Loews closed it in 1994 and it is being used as a church, whether the church has un-twinned it I don’t know at this time.
According to Superpages.com (Verizon phone directory) there is no listing for 1216 Broadway Brooklyn NY – I did a search for both the specific address, and also churches on Broadway, there are only 7, none at 1216, and none named Prayer Palace.
The Loews Roosevelt Raceway Theatre has 4 screens with 277 seats each, and 1 each with 166, 155, 169, 378, 508, 376 seats – for a total of 10 screens and 2,860 seats.
What is the origin of the name ‘Rivoli’?
When General Cinema was running this it was referred to (at least internally) as Reno-Sparks Cinema.
I think it was the fall of 1993 that he left to start his own booking service. I’m not sure when he retired from that and went to Florida. His wife was another very nice person, and would come to premieres and company events. Mr. D. seemed to know everybody in the business. I don’t recall meeting his children, they were grown up and married during the time I was around there.
This is another basement cinema, built in about 1978 in a 47 story apartment building designed by Gruzan & Partners. This is a true twin theatre, where the two 400+ seat auditoriums and seperate lobbies and entry vestibules are mirror-images of each other. The box office and entrance are set in a low plaza a dozen steps down from the sidewalk. Going inside, you then went down aanother floor on steps to the lobby, and from the lobby down yet another 8 steps to the auditorium. There was an escalator to come back up to the entrance. Instead of a marquee, there is a pylon sign in the middle of the plaza steps that said ‘Loews New York One Two’. New Yorkers are used to finding theatres with a marquee, and we were always getting calls from people on the corner of 65th St. and 2nd Ave. who could not find the place. As with most theatres of the era the auditoriums are unremarkable, with dark carpet on the walls and low black ceilings. The seperate lobbies, while good for preventing cross-overs, are inadequate for holding a crowd. Loews booked it with a mix of arthouse and general release product. Loews operated it from the beginning until the lease ran out in 2002. For the past couple of years Crown has been running it.
Yup, he was (is) a class act. When I met him there I was impressed that the president of the company came in and stopped to chat with the staff – he knew their names, inquired about members of their families (by name) and was very pleasant and personable. It was a surprise because I had come there from General Cinema where the company executives who came around barely acknowledged the manager and the staff was just furniture in the lobby.
Cinema I and II
(now Cinema 1, 2, 3 Third Avenue)
1001 Third Avenue
Date Completed: 1962
Builder: Rugoff Theaters
Architect: Abraham W. Geller Associates
Consulting Theater Architect: Ben Schlanger
This award-winning art film theater was the first duplex, “piggy-back” movie theater built in the United States. The piggy-back idea was developed by Ben Schlanger, who had pioneered a back-to-back duplex theater for the Information Center at Colonial Williamsburg. Cinema I and II was built by Rugoff Theaters to serve as the core of an East Side International Film Center and as a crosstown complement to Lincoln Center, which was being built at the same time but did not include a movie house.
Artwork was an integral part of Abraham Gellerâ€™s International Style design. The interior spaces designed by Geller, James McNair, and Norman Ives include a sloping barrel-vaulted ceiling, Danish copper-leaf chandeliers in the upstairs lounge, and an abstract mural by Ilya Bolotowsky in the ground-floor lobby. In 1983, Geller was again hired to divide the larger upstairs auditorium into two, making the theater a triplex.
Beekman Theater and Block
1242-1258 Second Avenue
Date Completed: 1952
Builder: New York Life Insurance Co.
Architects: Fellheimer & Wagner for the building and for the interior of the Corn Exchange Bank
John J. McNamaraâ€"associate architect for the Beekman Theater
J. M. Berlingerâ€"associate architect for the Excelsior Bank
This Second Avenue blockfront was planned by the New York Life Insurance Company as a modern shopping center to supplement the ground-floor shops in Manhattan House across the avenue. International Style features include the horizontal orientation of the building, the glazed corner on East 66th Street, and the ribbon windows on East 65th Street. The buildingâ€™s design and gray brick cladding relate to and complement Manhattan House.
The Beekman Theater, built as an art-film house, is one of the few such theaters remaining in Manhattan. The International Style design is enlivened with a tilted glass facade and sloping streamlined lounge ceiling that refers stylistically back to the Moderne style of the 1930â€™s. Design features like the continuation of the marble entry frame and terrazzo flooring from the exterior into the interior and the placement of a window between the lounge and theater break down traditional divisions of space.
When Cineplex took over and The Grand Pooh-bah came down from Toronto to tour the theatres that he thought he bought, they went here and he proclaimed that in the lobby he would install a cafe with carrot cake and coffee in fine china cups (similar to what eventually ended up in the Carnegie Hall Cinema). The RKO person who was conducting the tour said ‘You can’t use fine china cups here – in this theatre they steal the toilet seats off the toilets’. – the RKO person was advised not to tell The Grand Pooh-bah what he could or could not do…
I heard he retired to Florida somewhere….
So Schwartz and Landis kept the rights to the projected new theatre and didn’t sell them to Cineplex with the rest of the company?
When it was announced that the Cinerama was going to be demolished and an office building put in its place, it was also stated there would be a new multiplex theatre in the basement, similar to what happened with the Loews State. However, once the old theatre was down, the developer stated that plans changed and there would be no new theatre in the building at all. I doubt there was ever a plan for a new theatre, and it was a BS story on the part of the developer just to get the theatre down without a lot of noise from the public. The old theatres closing came at the same time as RKOs takeover by the Canadians (who were scrambling to get office space set up at 126 E. 56th St 20th flr. The RKO offices had been upstairs of the Cinerama Theatre). When the announcement came that there would be no new theatre, there was no fuss made about it by the Canadians in the trades.
Next door at the Cinema I in the late 60s Martin Sheen was employed as an usher. He was fired when he set up the ticket-holders line across the street in front of Bloomingdales – and held up traffic on Third Ave. for 10 minutes when they brought the line across and into the theatre…..
The Empire was run by General Cinema through at least the early 70s that I’m aware of – it was part of the Buffalo Division.
This should be listed under General Cinema.
This and the West Side Drive-In (and Carousel Lanes, Peter Pan Snack Shop and Amy Joy Donut Shops) were all General Cinema operations in town before they ever built their first indoor theatre here, the Southgate Cinema.
The first occupant of the retail building on the East Side’s site was Giant Tiger – when they went out of business Uncle Bill’s moved in.
There were only a few films made in the Cinerama process, not enough to justify the expense of a new installation.