Comments from Nick DiMaggio

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Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Studio Movie Grill University Mall 14 on Jan 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Well you never know Mike. If you guys had the funding and permission from the city I bet she’d jump at the chance to reopen Regency 8. Bet the clean-up cost alone would be staggering not to mention other major repairs. Then again just like University 16, the theatre is not located in the best part of town. Is Regency already outfitted w/stadium-seating?

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Studio Movie Grill University Mall 14 on Jan 5, 2012 at 7:38 am

Thanks for the update Chuck! Finally some possible good news for this location. Had no idea that more high-end rennovations are in store for this venue. Evidently (from your description) the mall owners are greatly anticipating that Frank Theatres will eventually be the catalyst for a rebirth of University Mall. Cobb should have installed stadium seating when they did the add-on in the mid-90s so retrofitting is a must (if any theatre hopes to survive these days.) Unfortunately the one big drawback is the surrounding area. University Square Mall was certainly a “Destination Location” when it opened in 1974. I hope they can make it happen again.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Studio Movie Grill University Mall 14 on Jan 3, 2012 at 11:55 am

I’m shocked to see this complex open again. I was certain it would either be gutted and rennovated for other use or demolished. Actually GCC opened this theatre in 1974 with two screens at the front of the mall and two at the rear. Cobb expanded the complex in the mid-90s with a new building housing an additional 14 screens at the rear incorporating the two original screens for a total of 16. The two screens at the front were closed when the new complex opened. I’ve always thought this was a very tacky 14-screen add-on that sits on support beams over a parking garage with cars underneath.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Show Palace Theatre on Dec 14, 2011 at 6:32 am

Mike, Thanks for checking with Bill and solving the mystery! You’d think the lady you spoke with at the Laney Museum (of all people) would surely have known the name. You can always rely on Bill Barkley for answers to just about any question on Augusta’s theatre history. Now hopefully CT’s editors will update the theatre’s real name for this page.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about 4th Street Drive-In on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:04 am

Thanx hispeed54! This is amazing. At first glance I thought this was the Hillsboro D/I in Tampa. The marquee, entrance layout, and screen tower are identical although the width on this screen looks to be just slightly less wide than the Hillsboro. The “Drive-In Theatre” neon target sign is also identical although the target design is more pronounced on this screen.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Hollywood 20 on Nov 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I saw “Titanic” and “Gone With the Wind” here. A friend told me just about the entire community of Lutz was there on opening day. Hard to believe a 20-screen complex with a life span of only 3 years. It’s understandable the theatre was said to be in an “underperforming location.” When Cobb opened Hollywood 20 much of the surrounding area was still underbuilt and underdeveloped. And Regal filing bankruptcy during that time doomed Hollywood 20 to a short life span.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Town 'N' Country Theatre on Nov 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Rivest266: Great nice size photos of this rare theatre! I had posted a link above showing these same shots but they were much smaller. I couldn’t enlarge them without losing a good deal of the focus. Thanx for posting. Not a bad set-up for a 16mm theatre.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Austin Cinema I & II on Nov 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Rivest266: Thanx for posting the nice ad. Is this from the St. Petersburg Times? I have the opening day ad from the Tampa Tribune which is much too large to scan. It’s a huge 2-page spread advertising both Loew’s Theatre and the opening attraction “Candy.”

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Show Palace Theatre on Nov 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Mike, If you haven’t yet searched the theatre listings on microfilm from Augusta’s major newspaper I would start there. If you have some extra time you may be able to find the name providing they advertised in the local papers. If not then this theatre’s name is destined to remain a mystery probably forever. I would began the search around 1935 and advance one year at a time from there. Good luck!

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Floriland Cinema 3 on Nov 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Rivest266, Floriland never became an AMC theatre. It opened under Budco and was later purchased by Cobb who added a third screen. Sometime before closing it again became a Budco theatre although not for very long. When it finally closed as a movie house it became a dinner theatre for a short while and was later absorbed into the Floriland Indoor Flea Market.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Horizon Park 4 on Nov 17, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Horizon Park 4 opened on August 26, 1971 and closed on September 29, 1997. Remember Twin Bays 4 in South Tampa right behind the Britton Theatre? It also opened on the same day as Horizon Park 4 and ironically closed just one month later on September 28, 1997. Both theatres were open for just over 26 years.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Garden Theater on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Thanks for the nice photo Chuck. The house to the left of the theatre still stands today. The theatre was demolished years ago and the property sat vacant for several years. A building was constructed on the site just within the past few years. A friend tells me the Garden Theatre was originally a church. When the church closed the theatre opened with the church pews still in place and were used as seating for theatre patrons. They were eventually removed and replaced with theatre seating.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Hillsboro Eight Cinemas on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Thanx for the photo. The Hillsboro 8 was a beautiful and plush theatre when first opened. Yes, I believe the ad did have the tagline “Return of the Elegant Theatre” or something very similar. Matter of fact I remember copying the opening day ad. Will post it here if I can find it.

Welcome back Mike! Nice to see you on CT once again. Hardly ever see you on the site anymore.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Tower Drive-In on Nov 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Thanks John. The Tower signage was definitely one of the most original in town. Glad I was able to find the ad. The first time I visited the Tower was in 1968 when “Planet of the Apes” was playing. I’ll never forget the line of cars awaiting entrance which went down Bird Street towards Florida Avenue, wrapped around the corner on Florida Avenue, and went over the Hillsborough River bridge. Great times!

Mikeoaklandpark, The Tower’s screen was the standard size found in many drive-ins that didn’t have a Scope screen. But the worst one of all was the original screen at the Dale Mabry D/I. It was not only small but almost squarish and smaller then the Tower’s. Check the photo on the Dale Mabry D/I page and you can see how small it was for a drive-in the size of the Dale Mabry. It was finally replaced in 1964 with a larger & wider curved steel screen.

Mike, I haven’t seen you on CT for some time now…glad you’re back on!

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Hillsboro III Theatres on Nov 4, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Wow! I didn’t think the slope was that extreme but if cars were flooded that bad it was much worse than I thought. I also saw “Superman” here in 1978. It was one of the opening attractions at the Hillsboro after the theatre had been divided into two auditoriums. Do you remember the original large theatre before they sliced it up?

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about 20th Century Drive-In on Nov 4, 2011 at 10:43 pm

I hadn’t noticed it in the aerial before but you’re right. I see the Biff Burger and the playground behind it. On several occasions when I couldn’t convince my parents to go to the drive-in, I had my father drop me off at Biff Burger. From the playground you had a nice view of the screen. Sitting on the swings I watched as the cars lined up at the box-office wishing I was in one of them as they entered the theatre. Although you could barely hear the movie from the playground it was the next best thing to actually being inside the drive-in!

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Tower Drive-In on Nov 3, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Dan, Here are two congratulatory ads including Cinchett Neon Signs that was published on the day of the Tower’s grand opening on October 22, 1952.

Thanks for the TampaPix link above. Sure brings back some great memories!

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Palms Theater on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Just verified that “Star!” opened on December 19, 1968 and ran through March 19, 1969. Interestingly when “The Illustrated Man” played at the Palms, the ads contained a notice stating that no one under 18 will be admitted due to the previews of our next attraction. Since when does a theatre restrict admittance to under 18 because of previews? If the studio that released “The Illustrated Man” was aware of this they probably would have yanked the picture out of the Palms. The previews were for Russ Meyer’s “Vixen.”

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Palms Theater on Oct 31, 2011 at 1:50 pm

It looks like the Park Cinema “n” Drafthouse was a different theatre. I just verified the address for the Palms Theatre which was at 4191 74th Ave. I think this is the site of the current storage facility. The Park Cinema ‘n’ Drafthouse had to have been across the street based on the address of 4110.

I remember driving past the Palms Theatre several times during the 1960s. It was on the right side of the road a short distance after coming down from the Highway 19 overpass into Pinellas Park. The Palms Theatre had the exclusive 70mm roadshow engagement of “STAR!” which opened around February 1969.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Austin Cinema I & II on Oct 31, 2011 at 8:36 am

What happened to the Loew’s marquee photo that was posted on this page?

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Tower Drive-In on Oct 31, 2011 at 7:39 am

Dan, I need to check the Tower ad again. I researched the opening day by going through the Tribune theatre listings on microfilm at the library. When I found the opening day ad there was at least one full page of congratulatory ads as I recall. There may have been a Chichett Neon Sign ad although I didn’t look through all of them. I’ll be heading back to the library this week so I’ll check again. I’ll be able to locate the ad quickly since I have the Tower’s opening date. If I find a Chinchett ad would you like me to add it to the Tower page or do you just need to know they did the signage?

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about 20th Century Drive-In on Oct 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I forgot about the curve but you’re right. The Mustang did have a curved screen. I think if you were to cut about a 4th off the top of the Mustang’s screen it would then be true scope projection.

These drive-ins in Tampa also had a curved steel screen installed that replaced their original screens: Dale Mabry, Skyway, and Hillsboro. The Dale Mabry and Hillsboro were 100-foot wide and the Skyway was 60-foot wide. These screens were also tilted slightly downward at an angle aimed towards the booth for a more direct projection throw and better viewing from ground level.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about 20th Century Drive-In on Oct 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I would say very close to scope although not true CinemaScope. As I understand it original CinemaScope had a ratio of 2 to 1 but the process was later refined to a less wider image, and Panavision eventually replaced CinemaScope. Although the Mustang’s screen was larger it still doesn’t look quite as wide as the 20th Century’s. So I’d say the 20th Century had true scope capability with the Mustang coming close.

Check out the Mustang page on CT under Pinellas Park. Just yesterday someone posted a short YouTube video showing the lot when it was a flea market. The 120-foot wide screen is still standing. It looks massive but not quite as wide as the 20th Century’s screen.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about 20th Century Drive-In on Oct 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

According to an ad in Box-Office magazine from 1964, the screen at the 20th Century Drive-In was in excess of 110 feet wide. Certainly one of the largest at the time until the Mustang D/I opened in St. Petersburg with its 120-foot wide steel screen that they proudly advertised.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio commented about Fun-Lan Drive-In on Oct 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Mike, Screen 4 was the last one put up and is actually built on the side fence if you can believe it. It’s slightly wider than the other three so you’re probably seeing about as much of the picture as you would in a standard indoor theatre with a wide screen. Screens 1 2 & 3 are about the same size (ratio-wise) with screen 4 being the smallest but widest (probably about 20-25 feet wide.)

This newest screen on the fence has to rank as the cheapest/tackiest set-up I’ve ever seen for a drive-in. Projection is from the original booth in the center of lot with the lens aimed at the screen from the top of the booth door. On the other 3 screens you’re probably missing about a 3rd of the image on Scope films since the picture projects off the sides into the darkness.