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Reserved seat engagements were so common in 1968 that here’s an advance order form for a movie before its theater had even been booked. It wound up being the opening attraction at Loew’s State 2.
April 28, 1968 ad for War and Peace at the DeMille. Loge seats were $7.50, surely a record high price at the time, but it was for a two-part, 6 ½ hour movie.
I think I have an ad for the 1968 roadshow of War and Peace at the DeMille. I’ll look for it tonight and we’ll see how much they charged for the divans.
No box seats, at least not after the remodeling for Cinerama. Cinerama would’ve looked terrible from a box seat anyway.
I’d never heard of it either. In fact, back in 1968 I had no idea what kind of seats we were going to be in. I always thought a divan was a couch or something.
Saps: It was the greatest moviegoing experience of my life, before or since. I don’t think anything will ever come along to top it.
Luis: My dad and I sat in the Divans. As far as I could figure out, it was the front row of the upstairs section, with the front mezzanine right behind. At intermission we both wanted to move down to the front row downstairs, but with all the assigned seating, ushers, etc., we figured we wouldn’t be able to. Maybe we should’ve tried anyway, but it was still an overwhelming show from the Divans.
Here’s proof that I remembered those showtimes correctly!
Now that I think of it, my only New York roadshow was most likely a three-a-day: “2001” at the Capitol, 6/15/1968. We went to the 1:30 PM show. There were probably two more, at 5 and 8:30.
November 11, 1970 ad for Ryan’s Daughter at the Ziegfeld. Three shows a day on Fri-Sat-Sun.
Luis is right about Dreamgirls being a great moviegoing experience, but at my show the audience was a little too over-the-top. They were screaming “Sing it, girl! Sing it!” so loudly during Jennifer Hudson’s big number that it was hard to hear Jennifer Hudson.
The Apocalypse Now tickets were $5 too – a new high price at the time. I may still have that ticket. If I find it, I’ll scan it and post it here.
I remember having to buy advance tickets for Apocalypse Now, which opened at the Ziegfeld in August 1979. Don’t know if that qualifies as a real roadshow, though. There were probably more than two shows a day, too. Ryan’s Daughter played two-a-day there about a year after Marooned, starting in November 1970, but I’m pretty sure that was not a reserved seat engagement. I have an ad for it at home – I’ll check on it tonight.
My first R was Woodstock, but my older sister accompanied me. First R by myself was either Joe or Five Easy Pieces. Don’t remember my first M (the original version of PG). First X was easy to remember: A Clockwork Orange, because I was scared I’d be turned away from the theater for being 17 but looking 14.
To keep this comment on track, I saw Close Encounters at the Ziegfeld on the second day of its run.
I hear ya, Vito! There are so many of those 2 PM/8 PM shows on Broadway I wish I was old enough at the time to have attended. The only one I did get to see was “2001” at the Capitol in 1968, near the end of the roadshow era.
Saps, thanks for noticing that. If Les Miserables had been made 50 years ago, that’s exactly the way it’d be presented in New York, though not at the Ziegfeld. Somewhere on Broadway, most likely – where today, not one movie theater remains.
That’s Michael all right. I was thinking the same thing when he came up on stage, but as soon as he started to speak I knew it had to be him.
My cousin Anthony went with me, and he’d never seen Cabaret. He remarked that all the leading actors in the movie besides Joel Grey, the ones who played Brian, Fritz and Max, all looked very much alike. I’d never noticed that before, but it’s true. I wonder if Bob Fosse did that deliberately?
One scary thing happened on the way out. A big tractor trailer crashed into the left side of the Ziegfeld’s marquee while trying to make a turn. The damage looked minimal, but it sounded really serious.
are pictures from last night’s TCM Road to Hollywood event at the Ziegfeld: the screening of Cabaret, a movie that had a smash exclusive run there 41 years ago. Another memorable night at the Ziegfeld.
Glad you enjoyed it, Bob. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Like going back in time.
I’d like to apply for the job of curtain operator :)
One good thing I noticed: on the front door there were notices for job openings at the Ziegfeld. Guess it won’t be closing anytime soon.
There was no sign of what the next movie might be. The big Les Mis display was still up in the lobby. That’s where the next attraction is usually announced. But it’s drawing good crowds, so long may it play there.
I saw Les Miserables here last night at the new ticket price of $14. Seems to go a little higher every year. Anyway, it was quite a show. I even enjoyed Russell Crowe’s singing. I think he’s being unfairly slammed all over the place – he was just fine. In fact the only thing that could’ve improved it any would be the use of the curtains, but after what Al told us, I fear we may never see them get used again. Even without them, the Ziegfeld is the best place in NYC to see a movie. The big crowd in the center section last night (a Thursday) is proof of that.
Happy New Year, Vito! Great to have you back.
Ryan’s Daughter was one of the finest examples of 70mm filmmaking it has ever been my privilege to see and hear. The sound was especially powerful. Whenever I watch this film at home, I always worry about it being too loud for the people downstairs. What a thrill to hear it blasting away in a theater. On the visual side, easily one of the most beautifully photographed films ever made. Thanks to the Walter Reade and the Film Society of Lincoln Center for showing this too-rarely-screened 70mm masterpiece.