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The theater opened the evening of April 14, 1983, for its final screening – the invitational premiere of the locally made “Flashdance.”
A special guest at the premiere was Pittsburgh Police Officer Victor Cianca Sr., who made a cameo appearance in the picture directing traffic. Vic died Jan. 24, 2010. Vic had either just retired or was about to retire at age 65 when the picture screened.
Please, folks. No guessing. It only garbles clarification despite good intentions.
The January calendar page of the 2010 Pittsburgh calendar, as linked above, is more “artist’s conception” that anything. It is the view one might see of the theater building from Fort Duquesne Boulevard. There is no First Street, and if there were, it would be perpendicular to Fort Duquesne Boulevard and five blocks closer to the Point. (It almost certainly existed a century or more ago, but not near this spot.)
To sort this out: As indicated above, the playhouse known as the Gayety became the Fulton, a moviehouse, for several decades. It is/was on Sixth Avenue, with a major exit onto Fort Duquesne Boulevard. Later in that era, the Fulton Mini (a shoebox of a cinema) was installed on the corner (Sixth Avenue at Fort Duquesne)of the building but also facing on Sixth. The Mini had multiple names that changed with ownership; they included Fulton II and Fulton Annex.
The Boulevard of the Allies is many blocks away.
When the Fulton Theater and the entire lower levels of the Fulton Building were renovated as the Byham Theater (used 99 percent of the time for live stage presentations), the main Fulton auditorium was left essentially intact, but the shorter-lived Fulton Mini became part of the lobby – indeed the box office, still with its entrance on Sixth.
The several stories of offices above the theater(s) were converted into the Renaissance Hotel.
Those former Fulton Building offices above the theater once housed the Associated Theatres chain, which morphed, through circuit sales, into Cinemette and then Cinema World.
There were also screening rooms on the ninth and later 10th floors.
Other film-related offices included what little was left of Paramount’s Pittsburgh presence.
The Miller probably had a deal to play most United Artists product, Mike.
“Help!” had just opened at Daniel Village the day before I got to Augusts. I had about 24 hours to kill before I checked in at Fort Gordon. Having seen everything else in town, I found my way to “Help!” and sat through it twice consecutively.
The second Beatles film, “Help!,” opened at Daniel Village.
71 Dude, Can you suggest a way to enlarge newspaper files such as the one you posted above? I can never read those because they’re too small. Need the key to magnifying them but cannot locate one.
“Woodstock” and “The Wild Bunch” is an odd double bill, all right. No doubt they were packaged for that drive-in engagement because they were both Warner films from the same period. On the other hand,combined they run five hours and 18 minutes. And with a late start the first week of August, plus an intermission between them and possibly one midway through “Woodstock” (three hours and four minutes) I’d be surprised if many cars were still there at about three in the morning.
As for “Midnight Cowboy” and “Alice’s Restaurant,” they played hundred of engagements together. They were both United Artists pictures from the same season. Once they were “played out” individually, UA sent them out as a package because they were perceived as sharing a bit of a counter-culture identity. That was true of “Alice’s Restaurant,” for sure; “Midnight Cowboy” had much greater mainstream appeal, but in this case it could be pressed into service for its underlying counter-culture appeal.
“Dracula Has Risen From the Grave” was rated G in 1968 and never re-rated.
“Taste the Blood of Dracula” was rated GP in 1970 and re-rated R in 2004. Possibly that’s a director’s cut or other footage was added. (Note that it skipped right over the PG-13 rating in between.)
“True Grit” was rated M (the current PG) in 1968, then immediately re-rated G after a slight trim.
Anyone interested in checking the correct ratings can do so at:
Mike, The 1974 film of “Doc Savage” was rated G by the rating standards of the day, and its rating has never been changed by the MPAA (CARA). None of the pre-ratings (November 1968) Christopher Lee movies was rated after the fact. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” has no rating, either.
Whatever movie guide you have is illegally “guessing” at ratings or illegally imposing them. I say illegally because the ratings are copyrighted.
What people (such as film critics) ARE allowed to do with unrated movies is to write, for example, “Unrated but PG-13 in nature for one expletive, some crude language, some violence and sensuality.” But without that clear explication, it’s unlawful to self-impose and publish ratings.
It’s true, Mike, that after the MPAA/CARA ratings system was introduced in November 1968, the only movie Alfred Hitchcock made after that that was rated R when initially released was “Frenzy.”
But for whatever reason, Universal Pictures, which controlled several of Hitchcock’s old Paramount pictures by that point, paid to have the original 1960 “Psycho” rated in 1984, and, to no one’s surprise, it received an R.
Dozens of pre-1968 movies were belatedly rated, including “Gone With the Wind,” “The Outlaw” and the Disney cartoons that were regularly recycled.
Hi, Mike. “The Great Escape” was a year old before that Modjeska engagement. I remember the Modjeska getting some good action pictures, but always as late subruns or reissues. I wonder if in earlier decades it was a bonafide first-run theater that competed at least a little with the Miller and the Imperial.
Excellent, Chuck. Thanks.
Compare the Beekman interior photos to the lobbies and waiting areas of today’s multiplexes, all junked up with video-game decor. Does someone want to make the case we’re more sophisticated today, other than electronically?
Hi, Mike, according to the CT entry on National Hills, the theater did not open until November 1966, which is why I never got there. (I left Augusta in May 1966.) “The Sound of Music” already had begun its long run at Daniel Village, which was the newest and most luxurious theater in the Augusta area at that time.
Can’t access either of those links, T.
Joe, That Boxoffice issue errs on at least one major point. For most of the years of its existence, the Liberty was part of the John P. Harris chain, which included the Harris (Downtown), the South Hills (Dormont), the Denis (Mt. Lebanon) and the Perry (Perrysville).
Interesting that for the RCMH four-week engagement, “Singing' in the Rain” rounded out the quartet of MGM classic epics that included “Gone With the Wind,” “Doctor Zhivago” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Invariably when the MGM package was booked around the country, the fourth epic was “Ben-Hur” or “Ryan’s Daughter,” making it a foursome that originally had been released as roadshow (reserved-seat) attractions. “GWTW” invariably did the biggest business and earned the most additional weeks, followed by “Zhivago.”
Any chances the individual weekly grosses are included?
I have no interest in the 70 mm issue, but I can tell you absolutely for sure that the premiere, open-ended roadshow engagement of “The Sound of Music” in the Augusta area was at the Daniel Village.
It followed a scant two-week engagement of the musical that won the Best Picture Oscar the previous year, “My Fair Lady.” I never did find out if this was a recycled showing of “MFL” (the advertising seemed to indicate it was new to Augusta) or whether the powers that be thought “MFL” could sustain only a two-week run in a medium-size southern market.
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?