Showing 126 - 150 of 329 comments
That’s a great history! Thank you for remembering so many details and telling the story. Are there any photos published of the Salem theatres?
It would be great if some of those photos mentioned in previous posts were uploaded to a Photobucket or some other site with a link, for all of us readers to see.
To Cineman, have you found the GCC trailer?
I think the Back Bay Theatre was where I saw a Beach Boys Concert in 1967. Lead in acts were the Buckinghams doing “Kind of a Drag” which was their hit, and Tommy James and the Shondells with “I Think We’re Alone Now”.
Nearby, I think next to the Uptown, a few months later, The Doors with lead-in act Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Ponys.
To Tom N., John Norton was Technical Services Director, in the Home Office. Are you his son?
I think he (Francis Rogers) meant the Paramout was demolished then.
The trail of Managers throughout the different divisions in the circuit might be an interesting book in itself. Every Cinema has it’s stories and the trail of Management is another aspect of the history of a theatre usually forgotten.
I think it was. I just can’t remember how extensive it was. I know Parmatown had been given a backlit backbar graphic treatment, and other lobby details such as removal of the chandeliers but I’m not sure about reseating the auditoriums.
Back in the late 1980’s while attending a Northeast Manager’s meeting, a group of us Managers from Boston were given a tour of the Parmatown Cinema. GCC had recently given the lobby a facelift with paint and new formica and the Manager was proud of it. Whenever I think of Parmatown, I think of Don Denevic, who ran the theatre for many years.
Before the split, Cinema I had a large curved screen with curtains that could be opened for the feature presentation. The wheels that the curtain rode on got so squeaky, that Joe DiCarlo arranged for our Projectionist/stagehand, Ralph Nugnes to climb to the top and oil them. That night, while standing in the back of the auditiorium, we noticed long shiny lines that looked like slash marks running down the screen. It was a reflection off the oil, which had run down the screen. The next morning, Ralph was back up on an A ladder brushing talcum powder on the oil. And Joe DiCarlo was on the phone with Joe Saunders. He told him that Mel Wintman had been to the movies the night before and made a derogatory comment on the condition of the screen. “I told Mel you had already ordered a new screen”. Saunders was relieved, and within a couple of days, the new screen was installed. Mel never found out. That was a lesson in how to head off a problem, and also that oil wasn’t a good idea for curtain runners.
Phil, you rescued us many times when Mel Wintman would come to a show and notice an aperture plate misfiled, or a blurry picture, or a buzz in the soundtrack! I think the original Shoppers World screen was curved and may have contributed to touchy focus issues. Joe DiCarlo always relied on you to fix whatever problems we had.
I’ll have to guess that the Duffy Theatre space was a partitioned section from the Gaiety, as it was up the stairs on the right of the HoJos.
I’m confused. The Cinema pictured, called Southtown, opened in 1967. Was it named Westlane until it changed ownership in 1970?
All of us former Managers will be grateful. Next quest, a Timmy the Trash Can snipe, a “Gulp & Crunch” pin, or …remember these…orange usher’s jackets!
When the buildings began to wear out, white seatbacks got scratched, then painted, then scratched again, then painted again, until the top edge resembled an ….old painted seatback. When Timmy the Trash Can got covered with cigarette burns, he got a paint job. When the floors in the auditoriums got too dirty, they got a paint job and a coat of wax. When the wall vinyl got ripped, and scratched, it got a paint job. When a screen got dirty, it got not only a brushing, but a washing, and in some cases a paint job too. We probably kept our local Sherwin Williams in business for a few years in the mid ‘80s.
Somehow, I think the enjoyment is related to the visit to the theatre, and the films we played. GCC stressed the family image, and played every Disney film released. Not only that, but all of our shopping center theatres were new, and clean. Seats were fresh, vinyl walls hadn’t been hacked, and painted, carpets were bright and thick, and concessions weren’t crowded with pretzels, hot dogs, and all the extra junk that came along in the ‘80s. Vending areas had fresh white formica, restrooms were shiny and new, lobbies had art galleries and the blue and orange furniture was new. Of course, the films of that era were memorable too, and that helped make everything memorable too!
I think I remember when we screened the first Candy Band trailer for Jack Leonard, the guy from Pike told Jack the saxophonist was a charicature of him. Maybe someone has a copy of that, and could get it transferred to digital! Feel free to email me if you can.
To Dwayne, if you have a contact with Frank Joines, please let him know a bunch of us would like to have one of those snipes digitized and put on a DVD. We’ll all chip in.
I think I’d describe it as giant magazine ads on canvas, hiding the building fronts. An old fashioned marquee would seem small and get lost.
I’d love to see scans of your slides, I managed the old theatre in the South Shore Plaza from 1975-77 and again 1983-1986. I have a few black and white photos, not much.
It probably was losing money to the Shopping Center theatres that were dominating the market by the late ‘60s. Most downtown theatres had closed by the early 1970’s and if you compare with the surrounding communities, you’ll find that many other were closed, or gone. Being inside the 21 mile perimeter to Boston meant those theatres had to compete with Sack for product, or play subrun. The film distributors wanted to play the Shopping Mall multiplexes, which gave them longer runs. Thus, a one screen downtown theatre playing subrun to Boston couldn’t gross, nor play as many films as the multiplexes. Add to the mix, the buck houses like the Winter St. Waltham twin, and many others, that played after Shoppers World, Burlington Mall, South Shore Plaza, and others, and the writing was on the wall.
As to memorabilia, up until a couple of years ago, if you looked around the vacant lot where the theatre used to stand, you could find an occasional brick. When Landmark built the parking garage in the lot behind the old Embassy site, they may have cleaned up that spot, I don’t know. I wish I knew where there were some interior shots.
It might be a good idea to list the 3 “Braintree theatres” seperately. This listing started as the new theatre on the hill called the Braintree Cinema, before that, the General Cinema in the South Shore Plaza, called South Shore Cinemas, and finally, downtown, the Braintree Theatre.
ChrisB, any chance you’d be willing to email them to me too?
Interstate isn’t well known. I think they owned a theatre in downtown Milford Mass.
I hope you’ll email a few anyway. I’d like to see the place.