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“The show is fine at 9th and Pine!”
This place is the real deal, the one by which others should be measured. What a rare treat to walk in those doors, through that lobby, up those stairs. To sit in a balcony with a thousand or more seats. To see a Buster Keaton double feature with hundreds of fans — everyone on this site should immediately see “Sherlock Jr.,” a very funny comedy about a movie projectionist — accompanied by a mighty Wurlitzer. All was right with the world on Monday night, and I may never be the same again.
Saw a picture here today and it was an average modern city multiplex, with big screens, bright images, clear sound and lots of coming attractions. Loews does run a decent show, so its mainstream fare is decently presented. I spoke to another patron, and he told me he prefers the nearby AMC, because the bathrooms are on the same floor as as the auditoriums. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. We could do worse.
Took a quick peek inside this house today, and while it does have an Egyptian theme, it is done in a very subtle and low-key way, with a touch of funkiness. There are a few Egyptian-style flourishes here and there, and a lovely proscenium, short and wide rather than tall and grand, also with a few appropriate touches. I was glad to see a curtain in front of the screen, instead of a blank screen or pre-show advertising. There’s a small raised loge or mezzanine, behind the orchestra seats rather than over them. This place reminded me of 1920’s non-palace movie theatre, functional rather than elaborate, like something out of “Paper Moon.” I wouldn’t have been surprised if the wooden seats weren’t cushioned. (They were.) That said, I know the locals love this place and I would recommend a visit if you’re in the area.
Visited the Coliseum today, and while the outside is stunning — the terra cotta seems to gleam a bright white and the name “COLISEVM” is clearly visible at the top of both sides the facade — the interior is not recognizable as a theater. There are about a dozen pieces of ornate plasterwork artfully displayed throughout the store, but since none of them are the traditional masks of comedy/tragedy, they don’t seem especially theatrical. I actually stumbled across this building a couple of days ago was very impressed, not even realizing that it had once been a theater, until I noticed the plaque on Pike Street. It really does stand out, and it’s hard to imagine this ornate monument had once deteriorated into a grindhouse, especially since the neighborhood seems like a real silk stocking district.
I am visiting Seattle this week and had the opportunity to visit this eye-popping gem. The manager let me in for a quick peek and it is breathtaking. There is so much to see and feel…As Lucy Ricardo once said, it’s like a bad dream after eating too much Chinese food, only in this case in a good way. Every surface is covered in something ornate, but I was especially impressed by the auditorium dome, which features a huge golden dragon. Even my 13-month old daughter broke into a big grin when I had her look up at it. I am so jealous that people once paid 25 cents to come see a regular movie show in this dizzy den. In a word, wow.
Katie, I have some bad news about those signs. They are gone as of today. I am staying right around the corner from this site, and this morning they took down the marquees, leaving just the “United Artists” sign atop. As I looked into my bag to grab my camera to take a picture of that sign, and the construction worker next to it BANG it was gone, falling 50 feet to the ground. Jesus! Just like that. And I missed it. It stood there for years yet in the 30 seconds I wanted to capture it….
You’re right, Shoe, a search for Valencia should have turned up this listing. The search feature aropund here is a little rudimentary.
Thanks for the tip, BobT.
Boo-hoo, Shoe, here’s the link to Valencia /theaters/903/
I am in Seattle now and hope to make a report when I return!
I just saw the Joan Crawford picture “Daisy Kenyon” (1947) and her character lived on 12th Street; there was one scene where she looks in the newspaper to see what’s playing at “the Greenwich,” and then there was a long, long look at its lovely wraparound marquee. I couldn’t make out what was supposedly playing, but it was cool to see this theatre so prominently feaured.
Located at 81 Larkfield Road. 500 seats. One screen. Independent theater owned by Stuart and Sarah Baker, and sort of associated with AIT, but not quite. Booked by Lightstone. Closed in the early 1980’s.
It’s still there but has been converted to offices.
I wonder in general how many prints an individual theater with a long booking would use. In this case, The Red Shoes is so lovely in Technicolor I would hate to think of seeing it with scratches, splices, fading, or any of the other wear and tear problems that come with frequent unspooling.
Less easy to skip a reel when it’s all on one platter. But there are times when I wish I had a fast forward button.
How many prints would be used during the course of a two year run?
Forrest, you have selected some of the worst 70mm musicals ever made; it was over-produced, lumbering dinosaurs like these that helped close some of our best picture palaces. Audences didn’t come to see these movies then, and they won’t come now.
That said, I do agree that a well booked and promoted 70mm fesival is a great idea; any well-selected and well-advertised fesival would help fill the seats in this last example of a New York showplace.
Forrest, you’ve picked some of the worst examples of 70mm musicals, or any 70mm films for that matter; it was these over-produced, bloated spectacles that helped close some of our best picture palaces. Nobody came to see these movies on their original release, and no one will come see them now.
But I do agree that a 70mm festival, or any decently booked and promoted festival, would help fill some seats here.
Clearview has booked a string of bombs in this place recently…The Island, The Great Raid, and now The Baxter. Over 1100 empty seats at each performance. Good Lord!
It’s just bats, man.
I see in the ad for the Carrol Baker picture that the Astor was listed as a Walter Reade theatre. I didn’t know Reade booked this house.
“Beyond the Forest” was Bette Davis' last movie under her Warner Bros. contract. She hated everytinbg about the movie; I thnk it got bad reviews, but it has since become a camp classic. It contains the memorable line, “What a dump!” which was memorably quoted in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe.
What happened to the lobby space and all its decor?