Comments from David Wodeyla

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David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Passing of General Cinema Manager Israel (Izzy) Strier on May 25, 2006 at 2:03 am

Izzy was one of the most competitive managers around, and comparing grosses was one of his favorite things. It’s also a part of what made the business fun for everyone in the Boston Division. I think I remember that night. When you told Joe DiCarlo about Izzy’s strategy, I’m sure he nearly had a stroke because he knew that even though Framingham’s boxoffice gross was higher, Braintree’s concession per person would beat him. And the concession commission was where they really made the money.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about AMC Braintree 10 on May 21, 2006 at 1:24 am

Braintree’s finest manager passed away this week, Izzy Strier, who managed the theatre in the South Shore Plaza from 1966 until 1975 was a legend in the town. Here are my comments regarding his career:
Izzy was a legend, admired by everyone, including every theatre manager who worked for GCC. Over the years, whenever a manager came to Boston for a meeting, and whenever managers traveled to other cities, everyone wanted to meet “Izzy”. He began his career working for Ben Sack at several Boston theatres, including the Music Hall during their busiest years, with films like Goldfinger selling thousands of tickets a day. He helped open the Cheri, then was lured over to GCC by Mel Wintman and Richard Smith to help them open their newest theatre, the Northshore Peabody Cinema in 1963. In 1966, General Cinema wanted their best to open the Cinema being planned for the South Shore Plaza in Braintree. Izzy went, and became a legend. When he left Braintree in 1976, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts declared the day “Izzy Strier Day” and a grand dinner was held in his honor at the Jordan Marsh Restaurant in the South Shore Plaza. Many will remember his promotions, and relationships with Town Clerk Bob Brunell, as well as many merchants and government officials. When General Cinema wanted their best manager to open the new Home Office Theatre at Chestnut Hill in 1975, they picked Izzy. He managed that one until 1986, when they wanted him to handle one of their top ten theatres in Framingham. From being their top salesman in VIP tickets, to number one Concessions Manager, to Manager of the Year, Izzy was the manager that everyone wanted to be like. But nobody ever came close.
Hundreds, maybe thousands of kids grew up working for Izzy at those theatres, and will never forget what was usually their first job. Izzy would say “please do me a BIG favor” and everyone wanted to help him do whatever it took. And he made everyone who worked for him, proud of their theatre.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Passing of General Cinema Manager Israel (Izzy) Strier on May 20, 2006 at 8:25 pm

Izzy was a legend, admired by everyone, including every theatre manager who worked for GCC. Over the years, whenever a manager came to Boston for a meeting, and whenever managers traveled to other cities, everyone wanted to meet “Izzy”. He began his career working for Ben Sack at several Boston theatres, including the Music Hall during their busiest years, with films like Goldfinger selling thousands of tickets a day. He helped open the Cheri, then was lured over to GCC by Mel Wintman and Richard Smith to help them open their newest theatre, the Northshore Peabody Cinema in 1963. In 1966, General Cinema wanted their best to open the Cinema being planned for the South Shore Plaza in Braintree. Izzy went, and became a legend. When he left Braintree in 1976, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts declared the day “Izzy Strier Day” and a grand dinner was held in his honor at the Jordan Marsh Restaurant in the South Shore Plaza. Many will remember his promotions, and relationships with Town Clerk Bob Brunell, as well as many merchants and government officials. When General Cinema wanted their best manager to open the new Home Office Theatre at Chestnut Hill in 1975, they picked Izzy. He managed that one until 1986, when they wanted him to handle one of their top ten theatres in Framingham. From being their top salesman in VIP tickets, to number one Concessions Manager, to Manager of the Year, Izzy was the manager that everyone wanted to be like. But nobody ever came close.
Hundreds, maybe thousands of kids grew up working for Izzy at those theatres, and will never forget what was usually their first job. Izzy would say “please do me a BIG favor” and everyone wanted to help him do whatever it took. And he made everyone who worked for him, proud of their theatre.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Tampa Pitcher Show on May 13, 2006 at 12:47 pm

Does this business have a real screen and a projector to run film, or is it just a restaurant running DVDs on a large monitor?

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Randall Park Mall Cinema on Apr 28, 2006 at 12:44 am

I’d love to see these pics too.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Parmatown Mall Cinemas on Apr 28, 2006 at 12:43 am

I’d love to see those ads. My email is

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Circle Cinemas on Apr 25, 2006 at 6:38 pm

The best part of the business was running the floor when the lobby would be packed waiting for the previous show to exit, the lines waiting until the crowd moved in to continue selling, filling most of the auditorium, then packing them into the balcony before continuing to fill the downstairs, then the making of “doubles”, and finally at the end of the day, cashing out and being “even”. Doing it four times a day on one screen and the same on a second was even better.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Circle Cinemas on Apr 25, 2006 at 3:57 pm

Attending a movie at nearly any Boston area theatre, even in the shopping centers, was a grand experience through the 1950’s and even into the ‘60s. In those days, the family “got dressed up” to go, whether it Sound of Music, Doctor Zhivago, or any number of blockbuster features, which people flocked to see in the large auditoriums with big screens. When was the last time you saw a line around the block buying tickets to anything? And the lines moved faster too, with 1000 seat auditoriums filling up in a matter of 20 minutes or so.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Southgate Cinema on Apr 13, 2006 at 8:30 am

The aperture plate was cut to allow the picture to fill out the screen to the edges of the shadowbox.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Looking for theaters to revitalize on Mar 30, 2006 at 9:35 am

Ken, how much would it cost to refinish a concrete floor, removal of the old bolts, and installation of those $89 seats? As for the booth, how much would the delivery and installation of that “good used” equipment cost? What would you estimate the complete outfitting of a new projection booth into an empty old one to cost? Please include the cost of speakers, and installation.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Looking for theaters to revitalize on Mar 29, 2006 at 7:31 pm

There are several thoughts that cross my mind on this subject. First, reseating an old abandoned auditorium would probably cost upwards of $200 per seat. If you thought reusing old Griggs style chairs from a more modern theatre, don’t because you’ll find problems with floor pitch, location of floor bolts, tired and bottomed out cushions, etc.
Second, to restore an average marquee which hovers over the sidewalk at the front entrance would probably cost in excess of $40,000.
Next, to put in a brand new projection booth and sound system for a single auditorium may be in the vicinity of $200,000. Some old theatres may have original carbon arc lamphouses in place, others nothing. You would have to convert to xenon, put in platters, and probably install speakers behind a screen, and likely rewire the entire building to fire codes.
I’m not sure what a new screen would cost, but you may have to install the framework, and put up new curtains and masking too.
Lobby and public areas would look better in wallcoverings, rather than a simple coat of paint. A visit to the Orpheum in downtown Boston shows how cheesy a rehab done on the cheap can look.
Other major expenses to rehabing an old theatre would be a roof, air conditioning, heating, plumbing for restrooms and concession, as well as carpeting, aisle lighting, and so many other things I probably missed. Imagine the utility bills for heating and airconditioning an auditorium with 1200 seats and a balcony, for example. I think a single air conditioning rooftop compressor would cost about $5000 to install, hooked up to existing electric and ductwork. Many old theatres may not even have that.
The way to success, would be a local group of dedicated people with a vision for it’s use, such as amateur stage shows, or musical use, who are willing to spend years raising funds. They would probably want to incorporate as a non profit, and attempt grant writing for some of the costs.
It’s a huge undertaking, as many would probably agree.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Colonial Theatre on Mar 20, 2006 at 4:50 pm

The Colonial ran film for some period during World War II. One would have to look at microfilm ads in the Boston newspapers to come up wit specific films and dates.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Uptown Theatre on Mar 7, 2006 at 5:38 pm

How many ways can I send the same message?

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Uptown Theatre on Mar 7, 2006 at 5:37 pm

It would have been August of ‘68. I don’t remember noticing the Capri at the time. General Cinema had taken over the Uptown before it closed, but I never went inside. Izzy Strier remembers they sold hots dogs at the refreshment stand.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Uptown Theatre on Mar 7, 2006 at 5:33 pm

It was probably August of ‘68. I didn’t notice what was happening to the Capri. Wish I had paid more attention. I think the Uptown had been taken over by General Cinema before it closed. Izzy Strier remembers they sold hot dogs at the refreshment stand.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Tampa Pitcher Show on Mar 4, 2006 at 1:29 pm

Are you charged a flat fee for running film?

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Uptown Theatre on Mar 4, 2006 at 1:25 pm

The Uptown was demolished in 1968. I used to walk past it on my way to my concession job at the Cheri that summer.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Apple Cinemas on Mar 4, 2006 at 12:03 pm

It was already closed down when Cambridge Seven Architects used it as a prototype to display their new design elements to the executives. It was a one-time deal, not an ongoing program. And not used as a prototype while opened. (grey paint replaced white, grey formica and fabric covered wall panels over old white formica and alpro, and black ceilings, with hanging fixtures, to make the theatre darker. Carpets went from red to blue, and concessions got back-lit back bar graphics. After the executives looked at the makeover, the Cambridge Seven went ahead and did over the theatre in Columbia Maryland, Chestnut Hill, Arlington Texas, Parmatown Mall, and probably a few others, to one degree or another. They also begain to use Cambridge Seven Design when building new theatres. I believe this was around 1986.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Colonial Theater on Feb 12, 2006 at 1:45 pm

Does anyone have photos of this theatre, that they’d care to share?

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Regal Fenway Stadium 13 on Feb 10, 2006 at 1:04 am

I agree with you. However, I get that everytime I visit an AMC or Showcase too. Seems like the theatre owner’s just don’t understand what turns off the customer.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Regal Fenway Stadium 13 on Feb 10, 2006 at 12:05 am

Why?

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Regal Fenway Stadium 13 on Feb 9, 2006 at 10:10 pm

I understand Regal is buying Fenway. That would be their first in the Boston area, I believe.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Westgate Cinema Centre on Feb 3, 2006 at 2:01 pm

People who live in the Brockton area go to the Showcase in Randolph.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Art Theatre on Jan 28, 2006 at 1:11 am

I drove past the site today, and there isn’t a theatre there. (wish I had taken a photo, sorry)

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla commented about Apple Cinemas on Jan 24, 2006 at 3:17 pm

That’s correct. The two Framingham booths were seperated, and they did manual changeovers. They also used carbon arcs. I don’t remember exactly when they automated, probably early seventies. They still used two projectionists, as the Cinema II booth was seperated from Cinema I by going down a hall past the popcorn room, up some steps past the balcony Men’s room, then through a door and up some more steps. Not to mention that both projectionists, Walter King and either Herb Kenney or Vin Kane seemed about 70 years old.
I think Henry Cummings briefly ran Worcester Center and Waltham.