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Here’s an ad from a local Jersey City newspaper in July 1960 announcing an upcoming show at the Stanley: Hitchcock’s “Psycho”.
This link might yield a better close-up view of the ad for the Amboys (in the bottom right corner).
Another sister drive-in to the Amboys was the Newark Drive-In, near the Pulaski Skyway on Route 1. They always had side-by-side ads in the Jersey Journal. Here is a copy of one from July 1960. Newark’s show was “Hercules Unchained” and “Terror Is a Man”, with a special midnight showing of “Attack of the Crab Monsters”. The Amboys had “The Last Days of Pompeii” and “Macumba Love” with “Conquest of Space” at midnight. Both theaters had “giant free playgrounds”.
Last night was one of the best revival house experiences I’ve ever had: THE HAUNTING at the Loew’s Jersey. The theater looks a little bit like the house in the movie, what with the huge open spaces, the heavy curtains, the mirrors, the sculpted faces and heads all over the place, etc., and the way the soundtrack echoed and boomed throughout the place – I tell ya, I’ve seen the movie countless times on video and even a few times in 35mm, but nothing compared to how frightening the movie became in a theater like the Loew’s.
They did have one, in the old Film Forum. I think it was 1987 or 1988. They called it “Gimmick-O-Rama” and they showed all the Castle gimmick movies with the gimmicks re-created (including “Mr. Sardonicus” and the Punishment Poll). There were other gimmick movies included too, like “Wicked, Wicked” in Duo-Vision. This festival went on for several weeks!
At the first night’s screening of “13 Ghosts” (in Illusion-O), William Castle’s wife and daughter were sitting in the row behind me.
… and “House on Haunted Hill” with the flying plastic skeleton, “Homicidal” with the Fright Break and the Coward’s Corner, etc. They even had to turn people away from a screening of “Queen of Outer Space” starring Zsa Zsa Gabor.
They’re missing a good bet if they don’t program these movies again someday. It’s been quite a few years since they were last shown.
Hardbop, I also wish FF would bring back the annual summer sci-fi and fantasy films, even if it’s just for one summer. They used to draw huge crowds to the old Film Forum – I remember a line going around the block for “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.”.
One scene from “The Ten Commandments” always bothered me. Before the final plague, Anne Baxter tells Heston, “I saved your son.” Heston says, “I cannot save yours.” But he could have, very easily, just by telling her about the lamb’s blood. I guess he didn’t really want to save him, Pharaoh needed to be taught the ultimate lesson, etc. Still a great movie.
I called first and asked if they were open on Good Friday, and they were. The only times tours aren’t given are on weekends when the Jehovah’s Witnesses hold meetings and Bible studies in the theater.
TC, it’s really worth the road trip. The theater is wonderful and the two tour guides we had were very friendly and knowledgeable. They even gave us free hot chocolate.
This was my dad’s favorite place when he was a kid. He often told me about the time in 1942 when his sister had to almost drag him home from the U.S. – he’d spent the entire day there watching James Cagney in “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.
I and another Cinema Treasures poster, Jeff S, just got back from the Stanley tour. It was so beautiful, words can’t really describe it. Every Cinema Treasures person in the New York/New Jersey area should take the trip to Jersey City and see the Stanley for themselves.
One of my favorites (and one I was hoping the Loew’s would be showing since I’ve never seen it in a theater): “The Diary of Anne Frank”.
Pete: I remember Pauline Kael saying in her review of the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers that it had the best Dolby Stereo sound she’d ever heard. What a disappointment when I saw it at the Gemini Twin in Manhattan, and it sounded scratchy, distorted and turned down way too low. I’m glad you got to hear it right.
Warren, sorry I didn’t give Cary his due. I should’ve known he’d be the all-time Music Hall box-office champ – the first time my family went to see the Christmas show, it was a Cary Grant film (“Father Goose”) and the line was insanely long. We gave up and saw “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” instead.
Vincent, I agree with you about “Charade” as the Christmas show. I like it and all, but some of those murders were pretty gruesome for their time. I’m surprised the Music Hall made that choice, but they did love to show Audrey Hepburn films.
CConnolly: Back in February you were posting on the Capitol Theater page about “The Ten Commandments.” Well, the American Film Institute will be announcing their 100 Greatest Movie Quotes in June, and here is the link to the 400 nominated quotes they’ll be choosing from. Check out #348.
CConnolly: Back in February you were posting here about “The Ten Commandments.” Well, the American Film Institute will be announcing their 100 Greatest Movie Quotes in June, and here is the link to the 400 nominated quotes they’ll be choosing from. Check out #348.
RobertR: The paper I saw had all the movie showtimes listed in a separate column called Movie Clock or something like that, but that was probably set up to be printed before the assassination. I don’t know if the movie theaters actually closed, but I’m sure you’re right about not too many people going to the movies that day.
Vito: I also recently saw a paper from November 23, 1963, the day after JFK was assassinated. I noticed the ads for the two great Cinerama features playing three blocks away from each other, and I wished I was as old as I am now when that paper was new, instead of being only 9 . I would have been going to see them on a regular basis. Another great ad I noticed: Fellini’s “8 ½” playing at the New Embassy 46th St. in Times Square.
BobT: When I think back on the best soundtrack experiences I’ve ever had in a theater, one of the best of them all was “Tommy” at the Ziegfeld.
I sure hope Vincent is right and they show it at the Ziegfeld. If Fox promotes it properly, they should get a really nice turnout. All of us will be there for sure.
Vito: here’s the link to the “King and I” screening info. I hope they bring it back someday!
I asked my friend how big the theater was. He said about 250-300 seats, but the screen was very impressive. So it sure ain’t the Roxy, but I’m still sorry I missed this screening.
A friend of mine went to “The King and I” and said the screen was very large, but he didn’t say how big the theater itself was. But if it’s the Academy’s only theater in New York, I figure it’s got to be a good one!
There is a theater devoted to showing only classic films, but it’s only one day per month. It’s the theater of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Lighthouse International building:
Next up is “The Pride of the Yankees”; last month was “The King and I” in CinemaScope 55. I just found out this theater existed and haven’t actually been there yet, but I hope to be going as often as I can.
Richard: Thanks to two wonderful revival theaters in my area, I’ve been fortunate enough to see both the 1926 “Ben-Hur” (at the Lafayette in Suffern, NY) and the 1959 version (at the Loew’s Jersey, Jersey City, NJ), but seeing them together the way you did must’ve been really wild, like you said.
Another reason why I’m so down on today’s movies: last night I dug out an old New York Times movie section from April 1968, and it was filled with ads for great movies playing all over the city – not just 1967 holdovers like “The Graduate” and “In Cold Blood” but new releases that had already opened in the early months of 1968, films like “2001”, “Planet of the Apes” and “The Odd Couple”. If I look at the movie section in today’s paper, I’ll only get depressed.