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LM, Ed Solero was right in the comment he made on another site. So many of the news articles from the early days sound like press releases. “Fitted up with every convenience” indeed.
The commentary says the, at that time, Rialto, was the first theatre to be wired for sound in Queens. There was also a claim that the Arion in Middle Village was. Comments on the Arion site would lead one to believe that neither had that distinction. Inasmuch as “The Jazz Singer” opened at Fox’s Jamaica (later called the Cort and Carlton), it would seem that the Rialto (Savoy) was not even the first in Jamaica. When the renovated, renamed theatre opened in December, 1929 it boasted a new Western Electric sound system. Would that have been done if one had been put in place only a short time before when talkies first came out?
1928 ads describe the Arion as “The Home of Talkies” although, perhaps not the first to be wired for sound as indicated in the overview (see later comments).
Contrary to the overview above the, at that time, Apollo, was advertising in the Brooklyn Eagle in 1928. Further research is needed to determine the actual opening date.
Ragtime did very well early on. I didn’t have a problem with the acoustics (does that really matter in a day when everything is overmiked?) and didn’t really find it cavernous, just unappealing.
Well, the 43rd street side of the Lyric facade is more impressive than that of the Apollo. Of course they could really have come up with some amalgams: Ricollo, Apric, Lyap. As you may recall the ANCO was for Ann Cohen.
Interesting that the opening day was August 28, 1931 when only a couple of weeks before on August 8th the anticipated opening was six weeks away.
The name Plaza was chosen, firstly, because of it bordering on Crescent Park and, secondly, because it was in keeping with the Spanish architectural structure of the building.
Can’t believe they were taking phone reservations in 1920! Seating capacity was greater as the Rialto than the Savoy. Somewhat surprising figuring the former also accommodated a 25 piece orchestra and a “gigantic pipe organ”.
The Rialto opened on December 1, 1920. At a cost of a half million dollars it was hailed as: “one of the largest photoplay houses in New York bearing comparison with any other theatres on Broadway”. The opening film was “Something to Think About” with Gloria Swanson and Elliot Dexter. The house also boasted a twenty five piece orchestra and a gigantic pipe organ (mentioned in a much earlier comment on CT). There was a special exhibition agreement with Famous Players-Lasky and Paramount.
Although other references to this theatre show it as being built by Al Schwartz after the success of his Rialto in Brooklyn, it was purported to be a local project using a local architect and financing. It was to be operated by the Long Island Motion Picture Company, two of whose officers were the Alterman Brothers who are listed as the new owners when the theatre reopened as the Savoy in 1929.
The Queens went porno after it was closed by Century. The Plaza in Corona also continured for a time as Spanish language.
You’re right, Meadows was NY Life. Lynbrook was one of the Calderone theaters that was leased out. Century had the Valley Stream and the Lynbrook. All the rest were Skouras, subsequently UA. I always figured Century didn’t own the Argo. When the whole building went up there was an announcement that the Elmont Theater would be coming. When Century did a project they always had “a new link in the chain of Century Theaters” signage. And it did operate after Century let it drop. I believe the ad said “Goodman’s” or something similar.
I’ll check out the wikipedia site after I finish this.
I’ve heard about that clause. Yet, if what you say is true, when the Community was closed and twinned I don’t remember it still being Century.
But the reality is the way the motion picture business went of all the Century owned or leased theaters the only ones still operating are the Meadows, Roosevelt Field, Franklin, Fantasy and Lynbrook. I’m not including the Shore because that’s a rebuild. As far as commenting, I never complained to Prudential and mentioned it on CT when I first learned about it in 2009.
Love to know the whole Century history, all the theaters that passed through their management and what ever happened to those comedy and tragedy masks that were part of the decor in the Glen Oaks and a couple of others theaters. I think they were also in the Argo.
I made my comment on the projectionist at the Hollis Theater (on the Glen Oaks site) because there was a discussion about projectionists. I actually lived in Bellerose (Nassau) so also did neighboring theaters. Projectionist at the Bellerose was an artist. The film I was attempting to see at Hollis was Tunnel of Love with Doris Day and Richard Widmark.
I think that’s even more sad than the ones which are in tatters.
Tevhmsn I have no idea what you’re talking about. I never said or inferred the Hollis was in a shopping center. My comment had to do with a lousy projectionist at that site, which was on Jamaica Avenue.
Hollis Theater in Hollis, NY on CT. For whatever reason the picture used above is the back of the theater. As I said it was an add on to the shopping center.
See my comments on the Hollis site about the totally incompetent projectionist: didn’t make one transition and was swearing so loud you could hear him in the theater. The usher said, “I don’t understand it; he’s union”. Yes, I said usher.
Too often the pictures I want to see don’t play within a 25 mile area. Theaters are too into the “blockbuster”. Else, they’re only around for a week. Took an act of God to find Her and Philomena. Never got to Dallas Buyers Club, the one about saving art from the Germans and several others.
Glen Oaks shopping center opened in 1951. The Glen Oaks was an add on sometime later.
Somewhere in the comments a contributor wondered about the age of Century founder A. H. Schwartz. I saw an obit for him in 1938. The quality of the microfilm was poor but I think his age was only in the late 50s.
Purely by chance I came upon a notice in the August 11, 1919 Brooklyn Eagle that the Beverly Amusement Corporation was building the 1,600 seat Parkville Theater at the intersection of Gravesend and Church and that there would be stores on the Church Av side. It was going to be outfitted with an organ costing approximately $ 20,000. Obviously not the same Parkville. Was a theater built on that site? Did one replace the other? Was the theater mentioned in the piece opened under another name?
After posting the above reference to the million dollar purchase I came upon another article indicating the Floral had been built at a cost of $ 100,000. The Floral had stage and film capabilities and a balcony. The other theaters in the purchase were strictly for motion pictures, did not have balconies and had smaller seating capacities. So the one million tab for the four seems inflated. Or, perhaps, one or both articles were incorrect.
The former Rialto opened as the Savoy on December 28, 1929 under the ownership of local businessmen, the Alterman Brothers. In addition to a complete renovation there was the installation of a Western Electric sound system.
The Savoy became the first theatre in Queens to serve as a first run house for Warner Brothers films.
In this Oscar season I’ve uploaded a photo of an ad from February 18, 1948 for “A Double Life”. Ronald Coleman won best actor 1947 a month later qualifying because the film played a limited engagement in LA the previous December.
If you ever get to eastern Long Island try to attend a performance or a film at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (Westhampton Theater). It’s not huge but it’s intact and a jewel box. Sag Harbor has a nice interior too (see photos on CT).
In a real estate piece in the April 24, 1927 Brooklyn Eagle there was a discussion about the development of Floral Park. It was anticipated that 300 new homes would be built within the year. It was also noted that the Floral, which actually read Floral Park on the front of the marquee, had just opened the prior Monday, April 18th, and had been built at a cost of $100,000.