Comments from dave-bronx™

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dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Loew's 72nd Street East on Aug 4, 2004 at 4:42 pm

It should be noted that the name was Loew’s Tower East, because the name of the condominium building of which it is part is Tower East. The entrance to the Condo is on 72nd Street, where the entrance to the old theatre had been. In the early 90s, when Sony got involved signs were changed to ‘Sony Theatres Tower East’. A resident of the condominium, apparently an executive of Panosonic or JVC (a rival of the Sony Corporation) made an issue of having the name Sony associated with the name of his residence. The landlord prevailed upon Loews/Sony management to either remove ‘Sony’ or ‘Tower East’ from the sign, so they changed it to “Sony Theatres 72nd Street East”. When Sony got un-involved and signs were changed to Loews again, they kept the 72nd St. East name, despite my suggestion that they go back to Tower East. But to everyone who has known that theatre for any amount of time, though, it will always be the Loews Tower East, regardless of what the sign says.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Renton Village Cinemas on Aug 4, 2004 at 11:32 am

This should be Renton Village Cinema I & II (guess I made a BIG typo!)….

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Boston Road Theatre on Aug 4, 2004 at 4:58 am

There were 2 Loews Theatres on Boston Post Road – this one is near Wilkens Avenue, the other one, Loews Post Road, was near Corsa Avenue.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about University Theater on Aug 4, 2004 at 4:47 am

This was purchased by General Cinema from Modern Theatres around 1971 and was part of a package deal that included the Eastland and Northland here in Columbus and the Mercury and Mayland in Cleveland.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Metropolitan Theatre on Aug 1, 2004 at 5:22 am

I’m sure you’re right about the Scrumpy-Dump being at 105th St. at that time and I’m off with the years. I was aware of some odd theatre up there, although I had heard it was set up in the lobby of the Keiths 105, but I wasn’t familiar with that area in ‘72. Maybe it was the mid to late 70s that they knocked down that whole block to build some kind of state facility. It was after that area was cleared that the Scrumpy-Dump went into the WHK auditorium. I used to take the #9 bus from Mayfield Heights to downtown and pass the WHK Bldg. and there was a Scrumpy-Dump sign on it, not a theatre marquee, and I remember thinking “What a cheesey-looking sign for a theatre”. The Scrumpy-Dump only advertised sporadically – they were apparently on a shoestring budget and didn’t always participate in the co-op advertising campaigns. I remember passing there at some later point and noting that the Scrumpy-Dump sign had been replaced with a better New Hippodrome sign, but I can’t pinpoint the year. I came here to New York in the early 80s and kept up with some things through friends and the newspapers.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Parmatown Mall Cinemas on Aug 1, 2004 at 4:04 am

As I sit here in New York City reading this a tear has come to my eye – I started in the business as an usher at “The Cinema” way back in the beginning – back then it seemed like it would be there forever. At that time this was the second highest grossing unit in General Cinema, only the Ford City Cinema in Chicago beat us. The crowds waiting to get in would stretch to ¾ of the way across the mall in front of the theatre, and then a line would snake through the mall and wrap around the fountain by The May Co (Kaufmanns). We were ALWAYS sold out. The ticket price then was $2. adults and $0.60 for kids and bargain matinee, and the bargain matinee was the first show only. We had candy for 5 cents (Carmel Creams) plain popcorn in a box was 15 and 25 cents, popcorn with butter in a cup 30, 50 and 95 cents. Sodas were 25 and 35 cents, and there was a 15 cent soda from the vending machines.

Smoking in the auditorium was allowed in the section between the left aisle and the wall. There was no Dolby stereo, there wasn’t any kind of stereo, just mono coming from a single Altec Voice of the Theatre A-10 speaker that was about 7 feet tall. The screens were 23 feet tall and 50 feet wide, and the picture projected with Century projectors (2 in each theatre running 2000' reels, no platters in those days) and Ashcraft carbon-arc lamphouses – no automation, and there was a projectionist for each auditorium.

There were 75 blue floodlights in a ceiling cove that lit up the screen and surrounding walls and ceiling blue during the intermissions. They used the blue lights like the curtain in a conventional theatre. The rule was never have a white screen – the blue lights or the picture had to be on it at all times. When the show was starting the blue lights would start to dim and a cartoon would come on. as the cartoon was ending the blue lights would come up about half-bright, the GCC logo with ‘Coming Attractions’ would appear on the screen, the “mad drummer” would start playing, the blue lights would dim out again then the trailers would come on. As the last trailer was ending, the blue lights came up to half-bright again, the GCC logo with ‘Feature Presentation’ would appear on the screen, the “mad drummer” would start playing again, the blue lights would dim out and then the movie would start.

We were an army of ushers who could empty and fill a sold out 1050 seat auditorium in 20 minutes, of course in those days we didn’t clean the theatre between shows like we do today. At the end of the day the place would be waist-deep in popcorn boxes. When the last show of the day was over there would be a gang of cleaners come in and work all night and finish about the time that we were getting ready to open the next day.

It’s hard to believe that the Parma Theatre, which was there for 31 years before the Cinema was built will still be running after the now 37 year old Cinema is gone. There are a lot of people on this site who will mourn the closing of the Loews Astor here in New York (I worked there, too), but I’ll mourn the closing of the Parmatown Cinema……..

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Metropolitan Theatre on Jul 31, 2004 at 12:47 pm

Sometime after the real Hippodrome was down and the rubble taken away in 1975, the Scrumpy-Dump name was changed to New Hippodrome.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Metropolitan Theatre on Jul 31, 2004 at 12:29 pm

When WHK was THE radio station in the 60s, they used the auditotium for occassional rock concerts, but after they discovered they could fill larger venues like Public Hall and the stadium, this was not used for regular public events.

In the early 70s, before the real Hippodrome downtown was closed/demolished, this was playing day-and-date with them – I think they were the same management. The name of the place at that time was ‘The Scrumpy-Dump Cinema’ {no, I’m not kidding – check the newspaper movie directories from 1973-74 if you don’t believe me!]. They played what were called at the time black exploitation films. A projectionist who worked at my theatre and also at this one told us that the balcony or some other area was structurally unsound and only the main floor was being used. I’m sure when the Agora took over a lot of money was spent to upgrade the place.

The WHK Building is a very wide building – the lobby of the office building was at the east end with the address of 5000 Euclid Ave, auditorium at the west end of the building was listed as 4900 Euclid Ave on the Scrumpy-Dump ads.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Loew's 72nd Street Theatre on Jul 30, 2004 at 2:54 pm

During the time that Loews was owned by the Tisch family their main concern was land. A projectionists' union contract in Cleveland during those years was written as between “I.A.T.S.E. Local 160 and Loews Theatre and Real Estate Corporation” – I don’t think they were ever interested in the theatres, only the land underneath them. Once they had exploited all the prime owned locations by tearing down the big palace-type theatres and building apartment buildings, office buildings or just selling the property to others for redevelopment, they got rid of the remaining theatre operation which for the most part were leased locations.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Parma Theatre on Jul 30, 2004 at 6:11 am

The Parma Theatre opened October 17, 1936, with the picture “The Gorgeous Hussy” starring Joan Crawford, Robert Tayor and Lionel Barrymore. It looked to be about 1500 seats as a single theatre. It was divided into 3 or 4 screens in the late 70s, and after all these years still doing a bang-up business with bargain price tickets.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Galleria Cinemas on Jul 29, 2004 at 2:38 pm

This was originally named Sunrise Cinema I & II before they changed the name of the Sunrise Shopping Center to the Galleria.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Parmatown Mall Cinemas on Jul 29, 2004 at 4:07 am

The films that opened the theatre 1967 were “Cool Hand Luke” in one theatre and “Tony Rome” in the other theatre.

In the early days, since it was the first 2-screen theatre in the area, people would come to the box office and, because there were two titles on the marquee, would ask “It’s a double-feature?”. The cashier would explain that no, it wasn’t a double feature, there were two theatres. The customer would say “Two theatres?? In the same building?? I’ve never heard of such a thing!”

Times change – recently, while working at a single screen theatre in New York with one title on the marquee, people would come to the box office and ask “What else are you playing?”

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Sutton Theater on Jul 29, 2004 at 3:49 am

According to an anonymous source, the Sutton property was sold, the theatre is a tenant, and the new owner intends to tear it down and build something else. However, someone was trying to get the New York City Landmarks Commission to consider giving it landmark status. The new owner got wind of it and quickly contracted to have the exterior destroyed before it could be landmarked. Hopefully, there will be a fight with the landmarks commission who could file suit to get restoration ordered, or at least get some hefty fines levied.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Erie Commons Cinema on Jul 28, 2004 at 8:13 pm

The Mentor Mall was a small covered shopping center across the street from the huge Great Lakes Mall, and patronage in the Mentor Mall was minimal. Many of the original stores left for the big mall across the street. The Cinema was built as 3 screens, and as stores ajoining the theatre left the mall, GCC gradually added 5 more auditoriums in the vacant space. None of the original 3 auditoriums were divided because they were already pretty narrow.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Hippodrome Theatre on Jul 28, 2004 at 3:56 pm

BTW, the firm of Knox & Elliot is listed as the architect of the Hippodrome.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about University Theater on Jul 27, 2004 at 10:33 pm

There were two General Cinemas near OSU – one they bought and called the University Flick, and one that they built called University City. Is this one the Flick? What happened to the U-City?

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Normandie Theatre on Jul 27, 2004 at 8:09 am

I was not aware of the theatre on 53rd St., thought it was a typo. I had been the manager of the theatre on 57th and in the former coat-check room we had coat hangers and tags engraved with ‘Normandie Theatre’ with the address. I also found photographs of the theatre on the Normandie liner and compared them to my auditorium and many of the architectural elements matched. The painted designs on the walls didn’t match, but that had been just a recent paint job. So I guess NYC had 2 theatres designed after the ship.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about iPIC Westwood on Jul 26, 2004 at 10:15 pm

The Avco was GCC’s west coast flagship in the 70s – when it was mentioned in internal company memoranda in regards to a premiere or other noteworthy events it was always referred to as “Our Prestigious Avco Center Cinema”.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Dearborn Drive-In on Jul 26, 2004 at 9:55 pm

Who is Wisper & Wetsman? I worked for General Cinema in the 60s & 70s and we had Dearborn, East Side and West Side Drive-In theatres in the Detroit area.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Best Buy Theater on Jul 26, 2004 at 9:39 pm

The 72nd St is supposed to be getting re-seated with seats removed from the Astor.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Best Buy Theater on Jul 26, 2004 at 9:38 pm

The 72nd St is supposed to be getting re-seated with seats from the Astor.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Sutton Theater on Jul 26, 2004 at 8:42 pm

The Sutton was originally Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, the only change to the exterior when it was converted to a theatre in the 50s was the addition of the marquee. The Wendy’s on Third Avenue btwn 57 & 58 is part of the Sutton property. The Sutton, The Murray Hill and The Beekman were all similiar in that they had the concession area tucked under the stadium with a large window so you could still watch the movie while getting your candy and popcorn. The Beekman still has this set-up.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Normandie Theatre on Jul 26, 2004 at 8:13 pm

57th Street Playhouse
110 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

Originally called the Normandie, the interior was designed to look like the art-deco theatre aboard the French ocean liner Normandie. It was an orchestra-stadium type auditorium with 586 seats. It had several incarnations over the years, including being 4-walled by Hugh Hefner and called the Playboy Theatre. In recent years it was operated by City Cinemas. The landlord is the Directors Guild of America which owns and occupies the office building upstairs, and it is now used by them as a private screening room and named The Directors Cinema.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about City Cinemas Cinema 1, 2, and 3 on Jul 26, 2004 at 7:59 pm

CINEMA I – CINEMA II
1001 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Opened 1962 – Abraham W. Geller, Architect – Donald Rugoff/Cinema 5 Ltd, owner – considered to be the first commercially viable two-screen cinema built in the US – Cinema I 700 seats, Cinema II 291 seats – technically not a “twin cinema” – Cinema I is a orchestra-stadium type auditorium on the 2nd and 3rd floor levels of the building with the screen on the east wall, Cinema II, a standard orchestra-type auditorium, nestles sideways underneath in the basement and first floor levels, screen on the south wall. Seperate marquee, entrance, box office and lobby for each cinema. It also operated as two seperate theatres – 2 unit numbers, 2 payrolls, 2 concession inventories etc. Lobbies decorated with modern paintings and other artwork. Specialized in art-house product. Renovated 1988 – Abraham W. Geller, Architect – the large upper theatre was divided by removing front 6 rows of seats, moving screen forward and inserting small cinema in the resulting space, screen on the north wall. Marquees, entrances, boxoffices and lobbies combined to operate as a triplex – new seating installed, rest rooms enlarged, original artwork restored – New seating capacities – Cinema I 532 – Cinema II 290 – Cinema III 165 – presently operated by City Cinemas/Reading Entertainment.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ commented about Westgate Cinema City on Jul 26, 2004 at 3:11 pm

WESTGATE CINEMA CITY (GC unit #661)
3221 Westgate Mall
Fairview Park, Ohio 44126

Opened 1971 – William Riseman Associates, Architects – GCC’s first “built-as” 4 screen theatre, not resulting from divisions or additions in a space previously occupied by a Kroger supermarket – Cinema I 350 Seats, Cinema II 300 seats, Cinema III 170 seats, Cinema IV 140 seats – an imaginative although impractical floor plan – closed by GCC 1991 – space now food court – new six-plex built in parking lot away from mall.