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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.
That address can’t be correct – 22-15 Steinway St. is Astoria, Queens, right across the river from Manhattan – Cambria Heights is out in the vacinity of Kennedy Airport. If that address is from some kind of trade publication, sometimes a theatre would be listed with the address of a management office, since administrative business was done by ‘the office’ and not by the theatre manager.
Mikeoaklandpark – the Battery Park theatre, being across the street from the World Trade Center, may have issues remaining from 9/11. While working at the WTC site with the PD from 9/11 until December ‘01, the only damage to the theatre I saw was broken glass. But keep in mind that the area was closed to the public for months afterward, and the theatre sat there with broken windows and open to the elements – there may be mold or other contamination problems in some areas of the building and may be sealed off.
The heading states this was part of City Cinemas – this is not correct – it was originally owned and operated by Trans-Lux, and later Crown. Since this was Crown’s only New York location they had City Cinemas book the films, because they had a little more clout in the Manhattan film market, but Crown was still operating it up to the end.
I haven’t seen it, but there are a lot of elements of Rockefeller Center that are landmarked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of them. Usually a big retailer wants their own design and wouldn’t retain decor from a previous tenant unless their removal was prohibited by the lease. Landmarking makes the property owner responsible, who in turn must make sure the tenants also comply, so they write it in the lease.
The Paris auditorium is on the street level with the balcony on the 2nd & 3rd floor, restroom and candy stand in the basement. The Tower East is the only other one I can think of with the Gotham’s set-up.
UA had the 8th St Playhouse for a number of years, and true to their reputation let the place run down. around 1988 or 89 they were invited to vacate the premises by the landlord because they also stopped paying the rent. The landlord asked City Cinemas to run it for a while. When we went in there we found UA had taken the projection equipment and the marquee letters, all of which belonged to the landlord, and he had to threaten them with court action to make them bring it back. Since we didn’t have a long-term lease, we fixed it up a little with a good cleaning, new carpet, re-upholstered the old seats and rebuilt the candy stand.
br91975 is correct about the Quad, it was always operated by its owner. Golden (a film booking agency, not a theatre operator) and City Cinemas only booked the films for him.
UA has a habit of getting evicted, even before the bankruptcy – at least in New York – they got evicted from the 8th Street Playhouse, and they got evicted from the Eastside Cinema.
The Lake was built in the late 1940s, and was of similar style and layout (though reversed) as the Mercury Theatre in Middleburg Heights. As with the Mercury, it was built by Modern Theatres as a single-screen movie theatre, no working stage. When they re-opened it in the late 1970s I gave them the original wood and glass horseshoe-shaped candy stand from the Mayland Theatre, which had been taken out of use when GCC renovated that house. It was 1 guy trying to make a go of it and I wanted to help him out. The older Shore Theatre that was next door was built in the 1930s. It sat empty for many years and was in pretty bad shape when it was demolished in the early 1980s.
I believe this was the original ‘Cineplex’ – this was what launched His Arrogance The Grand Pooh-bah on his great crusade to revolutionize the movie theatre business and teach everyone else how to build and run a theatre. It was from here that he took over the Canadian Odeon chain. Unfortunately, nobody put a stake in his heart before he inflicted himself on the business in the United States.
As I recall from the trades at the time, this place was built in a parking garage, and had movable walls so room size could be adjusted (they were all very small) to accommodate the size of the audience. In the beginning it had 21 screens, some were probably combined to make a couple of decent sized screening rooms.
Seats from the late Astor Plaza have now been installed here, replacing the 1981 Griggs pushback chairs.