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Sorry, I was there again tonight and there ARE six screens, number six being in a former retail space adjacent to the lobby and not part of the former auditorium. And it is a little shoe-boxy, though it’s wide and shallow rather than long and narrow.
And there are five screens, number five on the old stage being the only one that could be called a shoebox, yet even it has a high ceiling and is roomier than you might think.
I was there tonight and was surprised about how not-awful it was. The three auditoriums (I know that’s wrong!) I went in were all clean, no noticable broken seats and the screens were bright and focused. The lobby was also well decorated and pleasant to be in.
I saw a movie upstairs, which seems to be the original balcony divided in two, and it was nice to imagine what the whole thing must have looked like and felt like, and imagining where the original screen was.
I have heard both rumors about this place: That it will be demolished and a new house built, or that it will get the Midway treatment. Either way, I recommend seeing a movie here, especially upstairs, for a little taste of the olden days.
Nice website. I just joined their mailing list and look forward to seeing something here.
Excerpt from the Reuters article:
>>Worth noting, too: In the 1940s, several of today’s legit houses were used exclusively as first-run movie houses, including the Palace with 1,700 seats, the Lunt-Fontanne, then known as the Globe, with 1,500 seats, the Broadway, the Winter Garden and the Ambassador.
Maybe we can convince the Messrs. Shubert and Nederlander (and Jujamcyn) to return one of these houses for exclusive first fun movies and premieres.
I like the 34th Street. Close to transit, big auditorium with big screens and great sound, nice views out the lobby windows. Lots of old-style movie posters and memorabilia.
On Thursdays at 7pm they have a classic film series; tonight 7/29/04 is The Philadelphia Story with Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Gary Grant. It’s always nice to see this on a big screen.
I was there recently, too, at a matinee with about 50 other people. I sat in five different locations to get their different perspectives, including the last row. It was thrilling to see that vast expanse of seats, dozens of rows cascading down to the giant screen, curtained in red. The slow, graceful sweep of that curved curtain closing at the end of the feature brought a lump to my throat, knowing that it will soon be stilled. When the houselights came on, I took one last long look and left through the exit at the opposite side, so I could walk one last time around the back behind the auditorium, passing (and peeking in) the rear balcony exit, going across the lobby, up the escalator and out to the street.
I know it’s not the Roxy or the Capitol but it was the only one I had and I am going to miss it.
Above poster is a true cinephile who doesn’t wish to be disturbed in a porno house. So knock it off already. Please stay out of his comfort zone. Thank you.
I think Minsky’s was the Werba.
Here is a link to an interesting Reuters article 7/26/04 about the closing of Astor Plaza, and others in the area.
And where is the listing for Sunrise Multiplex?
I live nearby and it seems that this theater plays many action and popcorn features day-and-date with Sunrise Multiplex, but also plays many dramas and comedies that don’t appeal to Sunrise’s mostly black audience. And the Sunrise has 14 screens, not 25.
Here’s another still-open twin drive-in, this one just south of Gibson City in beautiful East-Central Illinois. Check out their web site.
Nice article here from New York Times 7/24/04, including a color photograph of the marquee. View link
Please. Be serious. Those 1400 (if they filled up) will be the biggest audience he gets.
Those photos are breathtaking. This is the first I’ve seen of the Capitol’s interior. Wow! And it kills me to know that I was alive when the theater closed (though still a youngster living in the suburbs.) Actually, maybe I should kill my parents instead for not realizing what we were about to lose and taking me to see it.
Will they screen For Pete’s Sake as a farewell, with 1974 prices? The movie is still pretty funny, and it would be a good send off after 30 years of service.
Those pictures listed above seem like that same kind that played to empty houses coast-to-coast, helping kill many old theaters in the process. I think Hollywood forgot how to make movies for a while.
And maybe the Lyric should have its own listing.
“I was amazed to read that the Lyric is still standing(it was playing My Fair Lady when I was a boy in ‘65 at $4.00 a seat!!I know that because my aunt went to see it there as it was the only thing they could get tickets to that evening. No wonder.) It is called the Park and is now a porno house.”
Sorry to report that this too is closed and it looks like demolition is at hand. The neighboring Palace Amusements building is now a pile of rubble, and this theater’s exit doors are boarded up.
I visited this last summer, and many architectural elements and posters advertising old Asbury Park cinemas were still visible inside.
In the above link, reprinted here, http://www.asburyboardwalk.com/pic/mayfair/m1.htm you can see the Lyric in the bottom image, directly to the right of the Mayfair. It still looks the same, but with marquee and signage.
If you want an in-person look you’d better hurry because its days seem numbered.
I was here this past weekend and they present a lovely show. The 7:10 Sunday show was packed, over two-thirds full, and it was great to see a big crowd in an old moviehouse. The words “Palace” are still set in the front sidewalk. There’s a well lit neon and flourescent marquee giving the name of the feature and its star player.
The auditorium is spotless, all on one level, with good seats and sightlines. Curtained walls and lighted sconces on both sides.
There is no stage curtain, but red lights gently bathe the screen while instrumenal verisons of pop hits play. No adverts or slides!
As the music and houselights fade, a slide of the theater’s logo, “BC” in olde english-type font, is shown, while an organ music fanfare is played. Wow!
This is followed by a film strip announcing “Starts Friday.” A nice touch that you don’t see much anymore.
After the one trailer plays, another filmstrip announces “Our Feature Attraction.”
And on with the show. I was especially happy to see that the image on the screen was bright and clear, and the sound system just loud enough.
Kudos to the owner and management, who obviously love running this local but charming showhouse.
I passed by this weekend and this house looks closed. Except that the paint job in front, in an Egyptian style, seems in pristine condition and there is no graffiti on the building.
This theatre was torn down and an apartment building is now in its place.
The two Gaiety’s are the same in name only. The present one, located above Howard Johnson’s restaurant, was never a playhouse or moviehouse, to my knowledge.
Well, 1400 is about the size of the Astor Plaza, so it must have seemed pretty big in a small town like Maplewood. Plus, 1400 seats all on one level is pretty vast, especially with a narrow lobby flowing into a sea of seats.