Showing 101 - 125 of 161 comments
I would say in most situations, that ushers and usherettes were about in equal quantity in most theatres. In later years, when young people became more rowdy and disruptive, males were probably used more to monitor the auditorium. When I managed in the 70’s, I always used 2 males “inside” on Friday and Saturday nights. The young people that attended on those 2 nights could sometimes be a real nightmare. I finally smartened up and monitored the box office, where I could keep out the trouble makers. This was probably the most effective method of keeping the adult patrons happy and coming back.
Monical In answer to your above question whether theatre ushers had a place in pop culture, I would say no. Being a theatre employee in the position of usher was never a big deal. There were times when an usher was moved to doorman, if male. That may have been sort of an advancement to the employee, but no difference in pay. If an usher were to be a female, she may be advanced to candy counter, then possibly to the box office. At one time, females advanced to the box office was probably the most “important” position to the females working in that theatre. I remember a lot o jealous females that did'nt get that “advancement”. Again, no difference in pay.
Monical As an employee for FWC/NGC the policy was to never show any outide ads. The exception for this policy was annual Christmas ads that did advertise local merchants. However, these ads were run from after Thanksgiving thru Christmas Day only. No other ads were ever run, with the exception of previews of coming attractions. Managers were encouraged to sell these merchant Christmas ads. MGR’s received a percentage of what they sold, and we could charge the merchant any price we could get. I remember some of the merchants I had were not even charged, as I knew they were struggling and I gave it to them for free. Others paid that could afford it. Theatre Mgrs did not get rich from this. Some Mgrs refused to participate because of the low percentage given by the company and the footwork required to enlist merchants to participate.
I agree with Previews of coming attractions showing prior to the feature presentation, because it also helps to move patrons into the auditorium with some extra time given in the event of Box Office back up. Patrons coming to the theatre do not always allow for this wait. But outside ads/commercials are totally unacceptable to me. But that is my personal opinion. The above reasons are also valid.
Back in “the days”, all theatre positions were only given to the cream of the crop, and NO KIDS NEED APPLY, was sort of the norm. It was very critical then that Box Office Cashiers be of a very special caliber to sit in that free standing little box. Males were used as ushers and doormen only. You would never see a male in the Box Office or behind the Candy Counter. That all started changing a little at a time in the mid 60’s. Now the theatres will about hire anything that can crawl thru the front door in many instances.
Clarkus….. The “The Big Doom” is sort of common knowledge among the long time employees of Fox West Coast/National General Theatres. I was employed with them since age 15 til Mann bought out the entire chain of nationwide theatres. Within a year after he bought it he started closing or leasing out the majority of theatres. I was in the San Francisco area, where NGC had many theatres between SF and San Jose. By 1977-1978 he had closed every theatre or sold the property to developers. A chain of theatres that exceeded over 600 for many years was widdled down to less than 40 to present. He was not a showman, he was really just a real estate tycoon. After he messed up a wonderful chain of theatres he died. His wife Rhonda Flemming now holds on to the proceeds of the once wonderful company I and so many others once loved.
I’m not for sure on this, but the STATE THEATRE was probably another victim of Ted Mann. He put the big doom on hundreds of theatres in the mid 70’s. He was a great showman.
The Roslyn Theatre was originally a mortuary that went out of business over 20 years ago. It was purchased at that time by Jan Donaldson, who converted the building into a very cozy and intimate movie theatre. It became an instant success to the residents of the very small countryfied town of Roslyn, Washington.(This is the same town that was used for the old TV series of NORTHERN EXPOSURE). Ms. Donaldson and her family members continue to operate this theatre, to this day. It continues to play first run films, as it always has. No sub-runs for this house!!! The seating capacity is just about 100 or less with some love seat seating available. It advertises that it is the only theatre to allow patrons to bring their dogs to the theatre with them. The continued success of this theatre, by far, has to be the wonderful, warm and friendly family, and of course, Jan that make every visit to this theatre the place to go!!
Correction to above history comment. The National General Theatre chain was sold to Mann Theatres in the early 70’s. That’s when The Fox was sold to Cineplex. Previous to Mann buying out the National General chain, it had been operated by Fox East Coast Theatres, then National General.
Looking at recent photos of the Fox Redwood marquee reminds me when that total marquee was covered in animated neon, colors consisted of pink, green, and white. The removal of all that neon leaves just a tired, old worn out sign that probably should just be removed and buried, with the rest of that wonderful history that theatre once had. Even the interior, though recently redone still does not even come close to the real beauty that theatre once had. Very sad.
Terry, Me again. In regards to proper title curtain cues, at the beginning of a film usually the “Trademark” is shown first, curtain should remain closed during this time. There usually a short dark period right after trademark is shown, this is the curtain open cue. If film preludes the trademark the curtain cue would be immediate.NEVER should a curtain open on a blank screen, that’s why there are curtain cues. The end of a film will show the curtain cue with a small “splash” at top right of screen, which is not the same as a changeover cue. Also, curtain should be closed and reopened if previews are shown before feature showing feature trademark on curtain. In the old days this format was followed, if the projectionist was well seasoned. Fox West Coast Theatres, NGC Theatres used to monitor to make sure this curtain procedure was followed.
The problem with Landmark Theatres is that they lease theatres for the most part. Some are owned. They have always “milked” their theatres, rather than “operate with showmanship”. Luxury like an operating title curtain, is not important to them. Nothing worse than going into an auditorium and staring at a blank white screen. I am sure due to downsizing for a twin cinema is the reason there is no Cinemascope screen. A theatre must have plenty of depth to accomodate this type of screen, due to visual comfort of patrons.Fox West Coast/National General Theatres ALWAYS maintained a level of showmanship that was hard to find with any other chain.
I would love to hear what long time ex-manager, Jim Scurlock would have to say about the current operation of this theatre. During the time he was there, it was operated by National General Theatres, later, Mann. It remained a first class house during the NGT days. Mann let it go to pot, does'nt look much better now.
What a thoughtful rememberance of William Hertz. I remember him well during my career with FWC/NGC/MANN THEATRES.
I would really like to know who wrote this article. No author is noted.
I remember that around the corner from the PADRE THEATRE was the RAINBOW BALLROOM which was on the corner of Market St. and San Fernando. As a frequent patron of the Rainbow, Im positive it closed in the very early 70’s.This was the same time that FAIRMONT HOTELS had planned their redevelopment. It seems that these old buildings hung around for a short period of time before being torn down.
This theatre may have been operated by the overseas division of 20th Century Fox Film Corp. But it was never owned or operated by the FOX chain or NATIONAL THEATRES circuit.
There was also a CARLOS THEATRE located in San Carlos Ca. which operated under the FOX/NATIONAL GENERAL banner. It was closed after the wonderful Ted Mann bought the chain. In fact, he sold or closed every single theatre on the entire peninsula.
This theatre was originally owned and operated by Fox West Coast Theatres/National General Theatres. It was later sold when Mann Theatres bought out the circuit.
Ken Mc Just saw your photos dated 9/07, and they are great!! The photo of the candy counter was priceless! The style of that is so similar to the candy counter at the Fox-Redwood City, Ca. The backshelves were identical, along with those classic Pepsi/Bireleys drink machines. Brought back wonderful memories of my old FOX days!
OK guys!!! The colon comments were, I have to admit, very funny.However, did it occur to anyone that there is an ACCENT mark between the L and O to change the pronunciation. The theatre name would be pronounced the same as COLOGNE.
I’m sure the UA REDWOOD 6 THEATRE was not there in the 70’s. It had to have gone up and opened in the MID eighties. My children were about 7 and 8 when they were begging me to take them there. And that would put it at 83 or84 The first movie there I took them to was to see DUTCH. It sure seems the theatre was closed up by 93 or 94 at the latest. It just sat there for so long. Now I understand it was torn down. What’s there now and what about the parking garage that was next to the theatre, is it gone too??
In regard to the Hillsdale Cinema comments made by my self, I should clarify that compared to the theatres I was raised around, IE: Fox Stanford, Palo Alto, Fox, Redwood City, Carlos, San Carlos, Laurel, San Carlos, San Mateo Theatre, San Mateo, Fox, Burlingame, even the Fox Skyline, San Bruno, The Hillsdale Cinema was just a typical 70’s looking building that housed a movie theatre lacking any of the charm of the aformentioned REAL THEATRES.
In regard to the UA Redwood Theatre, I remember it opening in the late 80’s early 90’s. However it was not able to compete with the newly opened Century Theatres near Bayshore (old Redwood Drive-in site.) It was a pretty nice multiplex, 6 screens as I remember. It sure did not last long. It was closed in 94 if my memory serves me right. Also UA THEATRES was in a financial bind during that time period. A lot of UA Cinemas closed.
Now that I think about it, we bought some things at Montgomery Ward and had them sent to our Reno address BEFORE moving here in March if 95. So the mall was still in operation in 95. It must have been 96 0r 97 when it came down. I totally forgot about that. You say Red Robin is still operating? We were regulars at that place when it was at the original Fashion Island. There’s so much more retail going on there, than I realized.
Many thanks for the pictures of downtown Redwood City, the one shows the FOX THEATRE in the background. That was the theatre I worked at (along with other family members before me) that started my 12 year career with National General Theatres. I have so many wonderful memories of my “theatre days” with that company. Too bad Ted Mann had to come into the picture.
I understand there was problems with Syufy and Cinemark Theatres in regard to the continued operation of the original Century Theatre, after the new one opened on Broadway. Syufy must have sole ownership of the original Century, and does not want to let it go. It would seem counterproductive that there would be 2 Century Theatres in operation in the same town, and really not that far apart. Sorry to hear the tore down the UA on Veterans Blvd. That sure didn’t last very long. I think it had already closed in 95 be fore we came here.
I was surprised that the ice rink was still there. After the mall came down, I was under the impression that it was all replaced with condos. You say there is also a Home Depot there now and a Target? That’s more retail than I expected.If Target still refers to itself as Fashion Island it must have been there during that time(or their just trying be clever by holding on to that old name.) We moved to Reno in 95, so you can imagine how out of touch I am now. My hometown is Redwood City and have no clue to what’s happening there! It great to hear from someone who’s somewhat in touch.
Great pics and wonderful memories of Fashion Island when I lived in Redwood City. Thanks Benl!!! Your pics were great.