Showing 151 - 175 of 436 comments
EdSolero, while I still have a copy of Jay Allen Sanford’s “Intermission” handy, I thought I’d post several generic excerpts here for the Drive-In aficianados and perhaps whet your appetite for the complete timeline:
1932: Richard Milton Hollingshead Jr., a chemical engineer and oil and grease salesman, conducts his first experiment in outdoor viewing by nailing a bedsheet between two trees and putting a 1928 16mm movie projector on the hood of his car. He designs a ramp system to angle parked cars upward and tests the effects of rain on the windshield by using lawn sprinklers. By August, Hollingshead is ready to patent his idea (#1,909,537).
1938: Hollingshead sells his patent to Willis W. Smith, who franchises it and requires drive-ins to pay royalties. However, Loew’s Theaters (owned by MGM pictures) convinces a Boston circuit court that a ramp built into the ground isn’t an invention, it’s landscaping, and Hollingshead’s patent becomes unenforceable. With drive-ins now public domain, the industry now undergoes a growth spurt.
1955: RCA sells a complete drive-in package (with its own financing), including a sound system, projection equipment, and lights to mark the parking-lot pathways.
1957: Concession stands generate important revenue, as do “free for children” admission policies (the latter heavily protested by the film industry, which feels this “cheapens” their prestigious product). Most drive-ins utilize fondly recalled intermission films featuring singing snacks, dancing hot dogs, and countdown clocks, popularized by filmmakers at the Filmack Company.
1958: The U.S. has approximately 4000 drive-ins, while Canada has around 40. Quebec has none because the province has banned them on the advice of the Catholic Church, which calls ozones “pits of iniquity and sinful excess.”
1960: In Texas, a few drive-ins have horseback hitching posts. The Theater Motel in Brattleboro, Vermont, rents rooms facing the screen and wired for sound.
[Lots more through present day. Enjoy! Thx, Jay!]
Kudos, ken mc. Your sharp 1953 photo embodies most of the details – and the exact State marquee – as the 1954 view I’d described back on 7/3. Eventually, I hope to have the technical means to link the one from my book, plus a whole lot more from NY to CA. Thx for providing this pic for us in the meantime!
LM, NYC experienced blizzards in back-to-back Januarys, 1977 & 1978.
In his 8-7-06 post (1:58pm), PKoch sounded pretty specific in his dates – and reasons – for the (former RKO) Madison’s closing. Wally1975 could be accurate for the “RKO” closure, but still off by several months regarding the second and final closing, as recalled by Peter. All the other pieces of the puzzle fit, including yours, RobertR’s and the majority of Wally’s.
A half dozen pix of the Hippodrome and interesting text can be found at the link below:
“Thomas Lamb is the architect.” – NY Times, 2-19-1916, excerpt courtesy of AlAlvarez’s research.
Nice going, Al! Now I’m holding my breath to see if and when anyone will complain about the Times not including Lamb’s middle initial.
You’re most welcome, LM.
In trying to summarize, I didn’t mention my answer to #2: that the Ridgewood’s potential closing, conversion and/or demolition would be just one more link lost to a community. I tried to stress the word “community” as a common-experience gathering place for neighbors, friends, co-workers, kids eager for Saturday morning matinees, couples in love, etc. I noted the loss over time of the RKO Madison, Oasis, Belevedere, Glenwood, Parthenon, Whitney, Arion – and even Niederstein’s and the timeworn, classic Fresh Pond Diner!
In short, if they’ve all been bulldozed or converted, gone forever, what the hell are we ever going to use as examples (in a physical sense) when we tell our stories to our children and grandchildren?
The Theatre Historical Society of America is offering a neat Brooklyn Fox anniversary booklet on Ebay through 9/17. Starting bid is only $8. The link is long. Hope it takes.
If that URL fails for any reason, just search “Brooklyn Fox Theatre” on their internal engine.
Got through to Mr. Hirshon a short while ago, but before I mention some of the points we covered, I just wanted to say BIG thanks to NativeForestHiller for his “Manifesto” above, and to EdSolero, PKoch, Lost Memory, mikemovies, frankie, ‘Tonino and others for their enthusiasm and efforts.
An affable and intelligent young man, Nicholas Hirshon is very aware of this CT website and will be scanning recent comments for additional info. We spoke for about a quarter-hour, (and he was somewhat surprised at receiving a long-distance call). He reaffirmed the uphill landmark task that lies ahead, but would try to assist us in print.
There were two avenues to his questions, and ones you may wish to think over before contacting him:
1) On what basis do we think that the Ridgewood’s immediate future is more in doubt now than when he wrote his article last March? (Run-down theater condition? Rats? Owners expressing interest to sell? Poor attendance?)
2) If the Ridgewood Theater were to be demolished, what kind of value would be lost to the Ridgewood community and surrounding neighborhoods? (Would the Atlas Park Stadium 8 fill a void? How would the current crop of Ridgewoodites react?)
If Mr. Hirshon made one point very clear, it’s that he does encourage you to contact him.
So do I.
Your status has now been elevated to “Hero-of-the-Month,” mikemovies. Great job, sir! Will call Mr. Hirshon from SoCal either today or tomorrow, and will post anything worthwhile right here.
You’d be the “Hero-of-the-Hour” if you gave Mr. Hirshon CT’s website URL, mikemovies! :)
LM, just call the News' main number in Manhattan and ask for Hirschon’s extension. (Used to do stuff like this all the time, but that was more than a few years pre-9/11. Security might have a few additional hoops to jump through these days.) Our local SoCal papers usually list reporters' and columnists' e-addies. Again, one can ask.
Hope you didn’t misunderstand what I’d written, mikemovies. I do encourage support on the Ridgewood Theater project, but tempered with realistic goals, that’s all.
Peter, can I nominate someone for the role of the half-wit sweeper and still keep my CT membership? ;)– And I’m thoroughly enjoying my copy of Melanie Griffith’s “A Stranger Among Us” (WS, ‘92) which cost me all of $6.35 thru DDDVD and arrived today. I’m spotting Ridgewood locations like mad! The old knitting mill on Forest and Putnam even retained the correct street signs! And James (pre-Sopranos) Gandolfini has a Mafia part! Luvit! Thx for the tip, guy!
“Are you trying to tell us that we’re getting in over our head…?”
Well, mikemovies, yes and no. There are lessons to be learned from the “PMS” documentary I referenced, and I’d hate to see everyone connected with the Ridgewood to be reinventing the wheel. One reviewer made a comparison to the Biblical characters David and Goliath, only in these theater preservation cases, he quipped that David barely made it through Round One.
As for historic landmark status, another person who was interviewed claimed that this status has very sharp and effective legal teeth in Europe. Not so here in the U.S. A paper tiger, sans claws.
I do agree with Lost Memory that if this doesn’t pan out, we still have options. Count me in. Good luck!
EdSolero, FYI – I left you some info a short time back on the Sunrise Drive-In page. No need to reply – just that it was there. And BTW, you’re not the only one who sees a familiar tone to the newest crank, “Mr. Positivity.” Your comments were direct, level-headed and to the point. I’d add that there’s a theater in Port Jeff with that name. Perhaps he should haunt that one if he’s too above it all here on this one. BOO! LOL!
Bway, I always remove the checkmark so that I won’t be notified about replies, yet I’m inundated with a ton of this stuff daily – even when I haven’t (lately) posted for days on end. Reverse psychology? Go figure.
This Brooklyn-born kid applauds the energetic beginnings of your grassroots historic landmark efforts, whether it be through papers or politicos. However, I’d also like to urge a big, flashing, yellow “CAUTION” sign, despite any contacts with Mendoza, Diaz, Giordano, etc. that you might make in the near future.
Documentary director Jim Fields has been dropping a number of news items on CT regarding his latest effort, “Preserve Me a Seat.” It is about saving and restoring several movie theaters from Omaha to Boston. A friend of mine purchased a DVD copy, and I viewed it last week. Its 104 minutes damn near broke my heart. Without wanting to “plug” anything, I strongly suggest you all to seek out a copy (Apartment 101 Films – plenty of info on CT news or near the top of my profile) to buy, rent or watch before you get in too deeply with the plight of the Ridgewood.
Consider it necessary homework…
For those espousing to begin the lengthy, arduous and frustrating task of pursuing historic landmark status for the Ridgewood:
Has anyone contacted owners Mendoza and Diaz? From what I’ve read, they seem to have lost interest and wish to fold their hands ASAP and sell. This might be a highly important step for interested parties, especially to conserve your own energies for something truly do-able. And I’m wondering if even the neighborhood has lost considerable interest, especially in light of reported crappy attendance figures.
For your convenience, here’s Frankie’s info posted on 8/28:
Orlando Mendoz and Joe Diaz
Queens Circuit Management Corporation
98 Cuttermill Rd. South Ste. 466
Great Neck, NY 11021
(718) 478-9200 ext. 1
Whoever contacts them can also supply info for this website.
From my distant vantage point out here on the sunny West Side, I still see the possibilities of Ridgewood’s converting to foreign and/or art films. This may satisfy a need in Ridgewood’s ever-changing ethnic base.
Does anyone have any contacts with the Ridgewood Times, or even a larger paper, to get a story out on landmark interest – or even for a measure of interest on what people want to see to get them back in attendance before this structure is consigned to be yet one more 99-cents outlet?
Maybe worth a shot, dudes & dudettes…
All Queens movie theaters' “Star Wars” victims, robbie. :(
‘Tonino, go to www.subwaywebnews.com and when the title page appears, click on “Bus Photo of the Day” at left. When that appears, scroll down to the Archives listing and click on “X.” Then scroll down six rows. The photo and summary you want are in the #1 spot at far left.
I haven’t attended either the theater or the restaurant since the mid-‘70s, but I believe they were relatively close, perhaps a few blocks at most. Ciao.
What a stunning shot of the old Warwick under the shadow of the el! Your whole site looks great, tapeshare, and I must explore it further when time permits. (Am also familiar with the books of Brian Merlis.) Many thanks for sharing this magnificent time trip with us!
‘Tonino, if you go to the website’s Archives (under buses), you’ll see that the location was verified in their capsule summary.
“BrooklynJim could use a refresher course in remedial reading. This drivel is enough to cause a true theatre historian to cringe.”
Three days into his CT membership and Art Theatre already displays an all-wise and sarcastic mouth & keyboard. (Sounds as if he could be related to another pedantic, personality-deprived imbecile we know all-too-well. Maybe Lost Memory isn’t the only one who knows how to morph his multiple screen names!)
I wrote that many of us may have eaten at this restaurant “before or after screenings at the Arion, Ridgewood, Oasis…” etc. The place, with a history all its own, is gone forever. Culturally, we tend to mourn theaters no longer there as well as other places associated with those neighborhoods, such as Niederstein’s. But this newbie couldn’t figure that out and went for the cheap shot instead. What did YOU contribute regarding the Arion, Art?
Just more bilge. KMA.
For Middle Villagers, Ridgewoodites and Glendalers who used to grab a meal here before or after screenings at the Arion, Ridgewood, Oasis, RKO Madison, Maspeth, Drake or Elmwood Theaters:
Niederstein’s Restaurant closed 2-8-05. The pic was taken before the wrecking ball struck. It’s a fast food joint now.
The Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) Theater in San Diego’s Balboa Park has the capability to screen film and DVD, though the former is preferred. Whoever visits the Ridgewood next, that’s a great question to ask.
Be highly suspect of Italian films from the late ‘50s/early '60s, mikemovies. To call many of them cheesy or cheap-o stinkers might very well be taken as a compliment. “Hercules Unchained” was filmed in Dialyscope, whatever that is. (First cousin to dialysis? Hope not!) “War Between the Planets” is most likely far below standards set by “La Dolce Vita” and “Cinema Paradiso,” or even Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns.
I checked the link above: “RM” is going for $9.98 (‘way overpriced – obtainable elsewhere for far less) and “KS” is $5.99. “Horrors of the Black Museum” is down to $8.99 with anamorphic 16:9 WS.
“Robot Monster” ($4.99) and “Killer Shrews” (between $7.99-$9.99, depending on which company) are easily available on DVD. The shrews were bulemic dogs whose teeth were elongated with some kind of material. Both are funny in a pathetic sort of way.
CSI:NY/Who’s Yo' Daddy?/LM had a decent germ of an idea, and frankie was quick to pick up on it. Why not approach the current Ridgewood owners/managers with a request to schedule some of these lost treasures (for want of a better phrase) for special midnight screenings? All that’s needed to convince ‘em is the prospect of their making some extra $$$ for virtually little outlay.
I’ve always found it hysterical how Ro-Man’s calcinator death ray eliminated all human life on earth except for this family of six. Was it because they flossed? If I’d have been Director Tucker, l'il Johnny would’ve bitten the dust permanently.
Legend has it that Phil Tucker, the director of “Robot Monster” (‘53), tried to commit suicide after viewing the daily rushes.
American prints have been edited for length: 60-64 minutes, depending on which video/DVD* company released it, but in the 1980s, the tape version released by Sony ran a full 20 minutes longer. I wonder which version Stephen King saw that prompted his comment above about the hernia.
“Minutiae,” Frankie? Cowabonga, dude! That’s an intellectual’s $100 word, further proof that Frankie & LM could NEVER be one and the same. LOL! (But I’m still wondering if “robbie dupree” is the CT pseudonym of Jack Nicholson? Hey, Jack, make yourself feel right at home. Hit someone with a golf club…
[“I must re-calculate…” – Ro-Man]