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Lorcan Otway is a great gentleman, as was his father. I’m sure everyone who cherished visits to Theatre 80 St. Marks, from the theater days of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” to the great classic double bills the Otways ran in the 1970s and 1980s wish him well with his ambitious plans for that homiest of venues.
Were those three Cinerama projection booths still there at the end? I guess I had forgotten. Either they were less obtrusive by then, or we just got used to them being there after 41 years.
Al Martino, who died recently, made an appearance at the Warner during the an early afternoon performance of “The Godfather.” He was in town for something else, probably a week’s engagement at the Holiday House, and agreed to make an unadvertised appearance at the Warner.
The media was notified about what would be happening. Immediately after the scene in which his character Johnny Fontane sang at the wedding, the film was stopped, and the huge audience groaned. Someone – possibly Mike Cardone – walked out on stage and introduced the delighted audience to Martino.
To clarify, the “Flashdance” premiere April 14, 1983, was a week after the martial arts double bill, which was the final regular full-schedule engagement.
I’m aware of the deadlines for Motion Picture Academy voting every year, Mike (and Bill). They are several days before the Oscars and are not reopened because of world events.
As for “Bonnie and Clyde,” I’ve always considered it an excellent movie, as were three of the other four pictures it was up against (“In the Heat of the Night,” “The Graduate,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”). But there’s no question in my mind – then or now – that the Oscar voters got it right that year when they went for “In the Heat of the Night.” Had to be a tight vote among those four nominees, though. It was ludicrous that “Dr. Dolittle” for the fifth nomination that year instead of “In Cole Blood,” “Up the Down Staircase,” “Wait Until Dark,” “Cool Hand Luke,” “Two for the Road” and about 100 other worthier contenders. Fox put a bundle into its inner-industry campaign for “Dr. Dolittle” that year in an attempt to salvage the fortune it has invester in the film.
As for “Bonnie and Clyde’s” box-office performance, the same thing happened everywhere. It played to sluggish returns for roughly two months while the word of mouth built and built. Then it got a very rare two-months-later return to first-run screens and did tremendous business.
I think the only time something like that has happened since (and not on the same scale) was “Billy Jack.”
Well, the theater had its share of flops. But booking for booking, it had the district’s best track record.
I’ll never forget George Pappas, our own Gen. George Patton, with arms folded in his office, overlooking the crowds streaming in on weekend nights and barking the occasional order to a patron to extinguish a cigarette or whatever. That theater was exceptionally well managed and the biggest joy to visit.
Officer Vic Cianca, who has a cameo in “Flashdance,” attended that premiere. Blessedly he is still with us.
The last regular program to play for 6 ½ days at the Warner was an ignominious double bill of “Bruce and Shao Lin Kung Fu” and a holdover of “Bruce vs. Bill.” They did no business at all. Hardly a suitable ending for the theater that introduced Pittsburgh to “The Ten Commandments,” “Gigi,” “Ben-Hur,” “The Nun’s Story” and so many others.
That “Flashdance” premiere was April 14, 1983.
The gutting of the Warner began on or about Aug. 5, 1983. For a few days after that, you could stand on the Forbes Street side and, with that side of the theater ripped open, see from the outside the balcony overhanging the orchestra.
Any idea where the Bouvys are?
No, Mike. The voting deadline was many days before King was killed. Did not affect any voting.
Congratulations, Lorcan. I hope you have great success with your reinvention of Theatre 80 St. Marks. If I ever get back to Manhattan, I’ll stop by. Will you be doing revival double bills as before? First-run wide release? New art/specialty films?
Mike, Please explain the note above. Are Army post theaters on CT? I can’t find anything under Fort Gordon or Army or military.
Ken, Any chance you want to meet me Wednesday in A.C. and do the walking tour of the Boardwalk theaters and the Atlantic Avenue theaters with me? Lunch immediately afterward before I leave town.
Contact me at
Also, any idea of the address of the old 500 Club where Martin & Lewis started?
Can anyone pinpoint for me, please, which side of Virginia the theater was on? North side or south side?
Can anyone pinpoint for me, please, which of the two corners this was on? Did it face the ocean or was it on St. Charles Place?
Can anyone pinpoint for me which of the four corners this theater was on, please?
Thank you, Ken. My walking and note-taking tour on Wednesday may be tougher than I hoped because I haven’t seen any of these locations since my A.C. years (1955-61), and the surrounding buildings will not be familiar. If they were, they’d help orient me.
Was this theater ON Maryland, rather than on Atlantic? Can you help me pinpoint which corner it was on?
Nearer the ocean or farther from the ocean? Nearer Captain Starn’s or nearer the convention center?
Can anyone tell me quickly an approximate street address? I’m heading for Atlantic City tomorrow to examine and report on the sites of the old moviehouses.
At least, can you tell me what streets it was between on Atlantic Avenue? Thank you.
Mike, I was at Fort Gordon when “Thunderball” opened, but I didn’t see it at the Miller. I went to a newer indoor that was just to the east of Augusta – possibly in SC, maybe across a river or bridge. Can you tell me what that was? I think “Boeing-Boeing” was the next attraction.
Mike, I think the changeover to rocking chairs occurred later than May 1966. That’s when I left Augusta. In my memory, the Imperial and the Miller were comparable in comfort but in no way modern back then. The nearby Modjeska was dilapidated by comparison. The only other relatively nearby indoor theater was the Daniel Village, which was new and by far the most comfortable in 1965-(early)66.
Lorcan, I met and spoke with you briefly a couple of times way back when. Talked with your dad almost every one of the many times I visited 80 St. Marks. (As it happens, my first visit was for the live smash, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”) I subscribed to your dad’s film schedules for – whatever – 20-some years.
I appreciate your candid, cogent and articulate explanation of the problems of simply ramping up again. We all remember fondly how it was, not how it could, or couldn’t, be resuscitated today. It was not just chance that all of the many repertory moviehouses in Manhattan died one by one in the video era, including the Regency, Thalia, Hollywood, et al.
Your difficulty getting equipment repaired and maintaining it is something we have all suffered with VCRs, laser disc players, 33 rpm phonographs and so on. It’s annoying and in some respects inexcusable that we’ve become such a disposable culture.
Thank you for your insights. Great success to you.
That had to be an aberration, Mike.
Just a guess on what happened with respect to “Mary Poppins”: When it premiered in August 1964 in LA and opened in other major U.S. markets during the final four months of 1964, it was a roadshow (reserved-seat, two-a-day) attraction. There’s a good chance Augusta did not have an option to get a print until the spring of 1965 by which time it could be the Daniel Village’s inaugural attraction.
Bear in mind that late 1964’s other huge musical release was the roadshow of “My Fair Lady,” which opened later in 1965 for just two weeks at the Daniel Village.
Joe, Have you any idea how to reach Joel Navari, who moved to the Chicago area around 1970? If so, please contact me at
Thanks, Mike and Ray.