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Once upon a time, New York City had cable cars, like San Francisco still has. The building housing the Angelika was originally the headquarters for the cable car company and the basement that is now occupied by the 6 theatres was originally where the motors pulling the cables were located. The building, now known as the Cable Building, was built in 1894 to the designs of McKim, Mead & White.
A former doorman at City Cinemas, who had previously worked at the Selwyn in the late 80s-early 90s, told me that at some point while he worked there they closed the orchestra and made all the customers sit upstairs in the balcony. This was because the rats in the orchestra section were chasing the customers away.
Wasn’t the Cine 42 group of theatres run by Norman Adee?
The Continental, along with the Heights and Westwood were part of a chain of “art” theatres with other theatres in Columbus. I think it was called Bexley Theatres.
I remember taking a shortcut through the alley btwn Euclid and Prospect where the Hipp’s stage doors were – and that windowless auditorium structure was towering above the street, and was nearly as tall as the Hippodrome office building. It had stage doors that they could (and I’m sure at some point did) march elephants through.
I believe one of the last times that the Hipp was doing capacity business was in the 60s during Beatlemania and “A Hard Days Night” played there. It was packed to the rafters with screaming teenage girls.
I think the THSA figure may be incorrect. The 4500 seat figure is the ‘as-built’ capacity and came from the list in the back of ‘American Picture Palaces’. The Palace in Cleveland had 3600+ seats and the Hippodrome was way bigger, and always acknowledged locally as the biggest movie theatre in town with over four-thousand seats. Perhaps as the years went by it was re-seated with bigger seats, or official capacity reduced when they closed the upper balconies. Roger Stewart – how many seats in the Hipp when you worked there?
That figure is probably correct – there were several large theatres in this neighborhood, comparable to the big downtown theatres. A couple of blocks over was the Loew’s Park and Keith’s 105, and each of those had over 3000 seats.
City Cinemas only had a booking arrangement here, it was operated as a normal theatre by the porno people who owned it. It was called the West Side Cinema 1 & 2. The name Cine 1 & 2 was put on the Hollywood Twin on 8th Ave. for a while. When this theatre went back to porno the Cine 1 & 2 name came back here and West Side Cinema 1 & 2 name went out the window.
The Mayland had the World Premiere of the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” in about 1971. The boy who played Charley (I think that was the characters name) lived there in the neighborhood.
Where did the name ‘Ezella’ come from?
Modern Theatres sold this theatre, and also the Mercury on the west side, and the Northland, Eastland & University Flick in Columbus, to General Cinema in the early 1970s.
The address in the heading should be changed to 5900 Mayfield Road.
The Mayland was fairly run down when General Cinema bought it in 1970 or 71. We were all very surprised that they bought it. They did cosmetic work on the interior when they split it – new seats, suspended ceilings, candy stand, carpet, wallpaper. And they hung that big Habitat Dome-Sphere chandelier in the lobby rotunda. They didn’t do any work on the exterior. The water problem was due to the fact that the county (or whoever runs the sewers in the street) reversed the flow under the street and it would back up into the basement. GCC had installed a check valve, but we were expected to climb down in a 15 foot deep manhole out front and turn a big wheel to close it, something that nobody, myself included, would do. The incinerator in the cellar had been sealed by the city when everybody started worrying about air pollution. The haunting symptoms would only occur when the place was closed and there were only a couple of people around – cold spots in the lobby, doors that I knew were closed and locked would be open, crashing noises in the attic. The theatre had a cat, and sometimes i’d see her rubbing on someones leg, although there was nobody there. The porter when I was there had been there for a long time – an old guy named Abe Smart – used to tell us all kinds of stories about the old times, and the way the theatre used to be.
rogers – You mentioned the Ezella – I had forgotten about it until you mentioned it here. I remember seeing the name in the movie directory in the paper, but never knew anything about it. I started a page for it on this site. When the webmaster sets it up could you please tell us something about it? Thanks.
When I worked there in the 1970s, we found those big blacklight lenses for the side walls up in the attic. The sidewalk heating must have been changed because we had steam pipes from the boilers going out there, but they leaked and we didn’t use them anymore. Modern sold the parking lot to the Lincoln-Mercury dealer. GCC only owned the ground the building was sitting on and the small parking area directly in front. The marquee had a lot of flashing neon on it, but the city of Mayfield Heights changed their sign laws and forced us to have it adjusted so it no longer flashed. The mens room had been in the basement, but when it rained the basement would fill up with water as high as 2 steps from the lobby. When GCC renovated they made a new mens room on the first floor. If we were there when it started to rain heavily I had to go downstairs and shut off the gas for the boilers and the electric for the house fan and a/c compressor motors. After the tide went out the HVAC contractor would come and dry out all the equipment and start it up again. Jack Essex’s secretary came there to the movies once and told us about the porter, Rex, who had asked Essex for a raise because he was having trouble supporting his family. Essex wouldn’t give him the raise, and that night after the theatre closed and everyone was gone, Rex hanged himself on the stage. Before we had heard that we thought the place was haunted, because there were always strange things happening there.
I believe the Southgate Cinema theatre is vacant at this time. The owner of the building and property is the Southgate Shopping Center. If you were to contact one of the other stores in the shopping center they could probably provide you with the name and number of the property management company.
I wasn’t in New York in those days – I saw it at the Embassy Theatre in Cleveland, of all places. It was a double feature, though I can’t remember what the second picture was.
RobertR – Up until now I thought I was the only person in the world who admitted to having seen ‘Myra Breckenridge’!
I lived in the apt. bldg. behind this theatre when the Indians were fixing it up and getting ready to open. The unusual art deco light fixtures that had been intact in the lobby were taken down, broken up and thrown in the trash. All they really needed was a good cleaning. They were replaced with glitzy brass-and-glass fixtures from the nearby Home Depot – I guess it was assumed they would make the place look classy…..
Oh, OK, I had been told when it was closing that they were going to rip it out and put Bally’s or NY Sports Club in the space.
According to the book “Skyscraper” by Karl Sabbagh, when the speculative Worldwide Plaza building opened tenants were hard to find since it was considered too far west. The employees of the few tenants who were there initially found it ‘distasteful’ to be working next door to the Adonis (Tivoli) Theatre. Their concerns were brought to the attention of William Zeckendorf, the developer of the Worldwide building. Not wanting to lose the few tenants he had and discourage future tenants from moving in, he bought the theatre and had it demolished. Restoration and conversion back to a regular theatre was out of the question since God’s gift to the theatre business from Toronto was opening another speculative venture, the Worldwide Cinemas, also in Zeckendorf’s development. Ironically, the Worldwide Cinemas was itself closed and demolished in the past few years.
At one point they were (and may still be) booking City Cinemas dwindling empire…
While difficult to see in the photo above, the white carvings at the top of the building on each side are smiling rabbit faces (complete with ears), further symbolizing the original name of the theatre. Are these still there since conversion to a 99 cent store?
Yes – Nick Guadagno and friends…
The intersection of Linden Blvd & 219th Street is in Cambria Heights Queens.