Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 15, 2010 at 6:44 pm

As a followup to Bill’s comment,
On September 1, 2001, I enjoyed what was billed as a “Roadshow” presentation at the Ziegfeld of “Funny Girl” in Dolby Digital surround Ex sound. After the usual pre-show slide show, the 2 curtains closed. There was the film music before the movie. There was an intermission slide and then more film music. There was sparse attendance. Two years and five days later, I saw “The Way We Were” at the Ziegfeld.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 15, 2010 at 6:39 pm

You’re welcome, Gary. Natalie had more commemorative coins than anyone else, in a cemetery filled with celebrities. Marilyn Monroe would’ve had as much if not more, but her grave was set into a wall, not far from Natalie’s.

ZiegfeldMan
ZiegfeldMan on February 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Hi Bill:

Thanks for the picture, I watch “Splendor in the Grass,” for me, her greatest role, at least once a year. Takes place in pre-Depression Kansas, but was filmed in Staten Island, in an area, I understand, that has not changed much.

One thing I didn’t mention in my intro was that Elvis Presley was the first choice to play Tony, but his manager, Col.Tom Parker nixed it. We could have a whole discussion about that.

By the way I remember seeing “Funny Girl” in its first run at, I believe, Loew’s State, with a date that has the same last name as the girl I eventually did marry. Now that’s funny!!

Best,

Gary

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Based on what Gary put into his speech, it shows he’s a devoted and knowledgeable fan of “West Side Story”, and that makes him qualified.

I saw “Funny Girl” today, from the 7th row. Having only seen it on a regular size screen from the balcony (Clifton Theatre, Clifton NJ) in 1970 and on video, I never really experienced the full power of that film until today. There were lots of appreciative Barbra fans there who added to the fun with their laughter and applause. The 35mm stereo print was fine. It must have been fairly recent because it had restoration credits at the end. The curtains were not used at all, but there were many opportunities to do so: overture, intermission music and exit music. I guess the person who ran the show today didn’t realize he or she was working at the Ziegfeld. But the movie looked and sounded so good up there, it was easy to pretend I was seeing it roadshow at the Criterion. It was also enjoyable to hear the name “Ziegfeld” spoken so often in the theatre named after him – Florenz Ziegfeld as played by Walter Pidgeon is a major character in that film.

Less than 50 minutes after it ended, “West Side Story” was scheduled to go on, so of course I paid another $10 and saw it again. Couldn’t pass that up.

I agree with Gary that Natalie Wood was underappreciated in “West Side Story”. I’ve been to screenings where the audience was clapping wildly for Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim in the closing credits but when the next name came on, Natalie Wood, they stopped the clapping cold (and picked it up again for Rita Moreno). But not today. Natalie got as big a round of applause as Sondheim, and it was nice to hear.

This is a good place to post this picture I took at her grave in Westwood, LA. The many memorial coins on her grave show that she is still loved and appreciated by her fans:

View link

ZiegfeldMan
ZiegfeldMan on February 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Ian:

I think your best bet is contacting the National Media Museum in Bradford, U.K

http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/

A place that I would love to visit!!!

Best,

Gary

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on February 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm

As Gary pointed out, everything on that post came across as totally negative, I read it as such and so did he.

AGRoura
AGRoura on February 15, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Ian: i am not bitter or sad, I am enjoying my retirement traveling as much as I can (or afford it). As for my post on Gary/WSS, I was just curious. I have the right to be, specially after reading the intro. I am also entitled to an opinion and that does not have anything to do with happiness or anything. Happy people have the right to opine or are you opining because you have a problem. Of course not.

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on February 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Gary, where can I find more info on Cinerama, 70MM and road show presentations that took place in London England.
Many thanks

AGRoura
AGRoura on February 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I have never given an intro to a film nor expect to. I am not qualified.

ZiegfeldMan
ZiegfeldMan on February 15, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Dear AGR:

I always appreciate feedback, and would be happy to answer all your questions. I have been introducing Classics at the Ziegfeld since 2006, and given this a public forum, have posted most, if not all of them, for the benefit of those who are unable to attend the screenings, as I did for WSS.

But before I go farther, since you consider my remarks so unprofessional and, as you described, “childish,” kindly post some of the introductions that you’ve given before an audience such as the Ziegfeld’s, and then we can let everyone decide.

Best,

Gary

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on February 15, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Guys, I would just like to say that all the postings in the last two weeks on here regarding WSS etc have made nothing short of fascinating reading, I wish I could have attended. I will certainly watch out for future screenings. Thanks again.
AGR, I’m sorry but your post reads as a little bit bitter and sad!

AGRoura
AGRoura on February 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I would really like to know how Gary aka Ziegfeld Man, whom I gather is just another paying customer of Clearview, gets to introduce classic films at the Ziegfeld. What is his background, expertise? On WSS, did he work in the film? Did he know Robert Wise? What makes him an expert? Or is he related to someone at Clearview. And telling Vito he will do his best in following his instructions, is he a licensed projectionist? Does he know what switch to throw? And I don’t understand how Vito — who in my opinions posts very intelligent and interesting comments — liked his, in my opinion, childish presentation. “And know let’s hear the whistles”. i can imagine him jumping up and down in front of the screen holding a toy train.

YMike
YMike on February 15, 2010 at 7:36 am

Did anyone go to the screening of “Funny Girl?” How was the print? So far all the posts have been about WSS.

ZiegfeldMan
ZiegfeldMan on February 14, 2010 at 5:18 am

Vito (and everyone):

Thank you for the kind words, they are very much appreciated. A couple, who had never seen the film at all, came over, afterwards, not only to thank me, but also to tell me how much they enjoyed the total experience even more than seeing the show recently in its current Broadway revival. We all know there is a “market” for seeing these Classics at the Ziegfeld. I hope it continues whenever it can continue, and it gives me a thrill to play whatever part I can in the whole experience.

Thanks again

Best,

Gary

Vito
Vito on February 14, 2010 at 3:05 am

Gary that was nothing short of outstanding.
Excellent job which had to have a been appreciated by all in attendance. It sorta gave me some of Bill’s goose bumps to hear a showman in action again.It’s the sort of thing we did in the glorious movie days of old which may be gone but thanks to you not forgotten.

ZiegfeldMan
ZiegfeldMan on February 13, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Nice turnout, the print was good looking and stereo (I asked), enthusiastic group which really got into it. Many approached me asking if the Ziegfeld can do more of this.

Here’s my intro:

GOOD AFTERNOON:

“ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?”

I AM SO HAPPY TO SEE SUCH A GREAT TURNOUT FOR A FIFTY YEAR OLD FILM. ALL I CAN SAY ISâ€"“I FEEL PRETTY.”

IT’S MY PLEASURE TO WELCOME YOU TO THE QUINTESSENTIAL NEW YORK MOVIE, FILMED IN NEW YORK (WELL, PARTLY IN THE REAL NY AND PARTLY IN THE HOLLYWOOD NY), AND NOW SEEING IT, AS IT WAS MEANT TO BE SEEN, IN THE GREATEST NY VENUE TODAY, OUR GLORIOUS ZIEGFELD, ON ITS BIG SCREEN.

FOUR YEARS AGO, I STARTED INTRODUCING THESE CLASSICS HERE WITH “CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.” MY FAVORITE LINE FROM THAT FILM DESERVES TO BE REPEATED TODAY. JUST AS RICHARD DREYFUSS IS ABOUT TO EMBARK ON THE OUTER SPACE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME, THE FRENCH SCIENTIST, FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT, TELLS HIM, “I ENVY YOU.”

IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME SEEING WSS ON THE BIG SCREEN, OR EVEN SEEING IT AT ALL, I TRULY ENVY YOU, THIS IS SOMETHING BEYOND SPECIAL.

WHAT CAN I ADD TO YOUR EXPERIENCE BEYOND THE BRILLIANT CHOREOGRAPHY OF JEROME ROBBINS, THE INTENSE OSCAR-WINNING PERFORMANCES OF BERNARDO AND ANITA, THE PULSING MUSIC OF BERNSTEIN AND SONDHEIM, AND, OF COURSE, THE TRAGIC WONDERFUL STORY OF TONY AND MARIA. EVEN, THE CREDITS, AT THE END, ARE SO IMAGINATIVE, YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY STAY FOR THEM.

WELL, WHAT I CAN ADD IS NATALIE WOOD, WHO ABSOLUTELY NEVER GETS HER RECOGNITION FOR THIS MOVIE. NATALIE WAS NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE, SHE COULD REALLY ACT. SHE WILL ALWAYS BE JUDY WITH JAMES DEAN IN “REBEL,” DEANNIE WITH WARREN BEATTY IN “SPLENDOR,” ANGIE WITH STEVE McQUEEN IN “LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER”—-ALL THREE ROLES WERE OSCAR NOMINATED. AND SHE WILL ALWAYS BE MARIA.

SURE RITA MORENO STEALS THE FILM, BUT NATALIE IS NO SLOUCH…. YOU LOVERS OUT THERE, JUST LOOK AT THAT BALCONY SCENE ON THE FIRE ESCAPE, FOR “TONIGHT, TONIGHT WON’T BE JUST ANY NIGHT”

ENJOY, THANKS FOR COMING, AND HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY.

NOW, LET’S HEAR THOSE WHISTLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to all,
“Shutter Island” looks great
Hopefully more Classics

Best,

Gary

ZiegfeldMan
ZiegfeldMan on February 13, 2010 at 10:49 am

Bill:

Many thanks, I’ll post my remarks later on.

Best,

Gary

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 13, 2010 at 9:49 am

I’m basing what sounded like mono on the opening of “Maria”. The echoing voices saying “Maria” are supposed to come from opposite sides of the screen, and it all seemed to be coming from the center only. But the volume was so loud and the bass notes so pronounced that the presentation still gave me the ol' goosebumps. And it reminded me that the first time I saw “West Side Story” (Rutherford NJ, April 1963), it was a mono print.

Best of luck today, Gary.

Vito
Vito on February 13, 2010 at 7:02 am

Yes Gary I believe that is correct.
However, if a theatre used motorised curtains as most if not all did, the gearing or speed on the curtain motor would have to be adjusted for the WSS run. Secondly and most importantly it would have exposed a white screen which was taboo.
Is there no one that ran this picture in Roadshow besides myself that can chime in here.?

ZiegfeldMan
ZiegfeldMan on February 13, 2010 at 6:49 am

Vito:

I’m a little confused here. Wise’s directions say to start opening the curtains slowly at the first whistle (12 ½ feet) and have them completely open by 28 feet (when the overture design starts). Am I reading this correctly?

Best,

Gary

Vito
Vito on February 13, 2010 at 6:23 am

Thanks Gary, perhaps the curtain issue has become a sore spot for them and wanted to assure you they would be used.
While we are clearing things up I would not want anyone here to think we choose to disrespect instructions with respect to the opening of the curtains during the sounding of the whistles. Those instructions were requests from the film makers and were not demands. The only time I can recall a situation which was in the form of a demand was from Warren Beatty regarding the proper masking and lens selection for “REDS” which was part of the contractual agreement between the theatre owners (first run) and Paramount pictures. There may have been a similar situation with Woody Allen with respect to the showings of “Manhattan” due to the proper presentation of the anamorphic image.
We always tried to respect the film makers wishes but I honestly do not recall the Robert Wise instructions asking for the curtains to be opened displaying a white sheet during the whistles. In any event we would never have agreed to that at the Syosset or Rivoli.

ZiegfeldMan
ZiegfeldMan on February 13, 2010 at 5:42 am

Hi Vito:

Just to clarify, the reason I called the Ziegfeld was just to clarify that they knew I was coming on Saturday instead of the original plan for Friday. This new manager, William, at least new to me, was very cordial and assured me that he knew all about me, although we had never met, and about the change in plans. But he did most of the talking giving me the implicit sense that he was fully aware of presentation issues, and he brought up the curtains, not me. I felt very good about that.

Best,

Gary

Vito
Vito on February 13, 2010 at 4:02 am

Gary, it was instructions like those that we received on most road show presentations. However I Am a bit confused about the opening with regard to the whistles. We did not open the curtains at the Syosset until all three whistles had sounded and I am quite sure it was the same for the Rivoli. Neither the Syosset or the Rivoli would have opened the curtains to a blank sheet (screen). Although it was close to 50 years ago I am sure the rest of the instructions were meet, they sound familiar and correct. Perhaps there were changes or a seperate directive from UA theatres.
Bill, I was very happy to hear that the instructuions were “enthusiastically accepted” and that you experiened “goose bumps”.
I was troubled, almost amused by what Gary wrote about the conversation with a manager who said the “curtains would be used” as if that were an option. My goodness I can only imagine when I ran WSS at the Syosset going to the manager at the beginning of my shift and asking “do you want curtains today” He would have thought I had gone mad.
As to the print, based on what Bill said are we to believe they are showing a 35mm mono print?
Good GOD, it’s the Apocalypse.

ZiegfeldMan
ZiegfeldMan on February 13, 2010 at 2:56 am

Bill:

It’s 5:30 in the morning as I’m reading this—you did Robert Wise proud, and I’m sure you have a great feeling about that. I always believe that one person can make a difference. I copied all of those instructions from the booklet that comes with the “deluxe” DVD set of WSS, which every fan should have, great extras including a fabulous documentary and clips of Natalie during her own singing which was the original intention.

It took a long time to copy those instructions, I’m not a great typist, but now I’m really glad I did it. I saw a new 35 mm print at the Walter Reade last August which was great, maybe they couldn’t get that one, but the flip side is that however nice the Walter Reade is,it ain’t the Ziegfeld, and I’m getting the goosebumps just anticipating this afternoon.

I want to add for everyone, that the Museum of the Moving Image will be reopening this fall. I had the distinct pleasure of being allowed to participate in a behind the scenes “hardhat” tour of the the construction site last Saturday with the Museum director, staff and architects. As the Ziegfeldman, I am telling everybody that this will be the finest and greatest institution of its kind not only in the US, but in the world. And it’s right in our backyard in Queens. It deserves our support-I’ve been a member since it opened in 1988. They run continuous fabulous programs and will reopen with a Renais retrospective that the French government is saving exclusively for them. I can’t say enough, but I’ll stop here.

SOMETHING’S COMING, SOMETHING GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!

Best,

Gary