Showing 151 - 175 of 232 comments
I know I mentioned it in an earlier post to this thread, but I would like nothing more than see the Boyd Theatre operated as the first class first run roadshow house that Stanley Warner operated. It would be thrilling to once again walk out the walkway from the balcony mezzanine to the balcony seating sections and see the lights shining on the red curtain covering that curved screen. To once again sit down and see the lights dim as the overature to “Ben Hur”, “Doctor Zhivago,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” etc, etc. begins. I would love to travel from Lancaster as in years past. Spend the day in Wanamakers, have a nice dinner at one of the center city restaurants and then take in an evening performance at the Boyd. The last time I was in Center City to see a movie was at the “Sameric” to see the last Indiana Jones adventure. Since the days of 70mm presentations has past, there is no need to travel into Center City because I can see the same presentations at our local multiplexes, unfortunately. Last year my wife and I did make a trip into Center City for the Flower show. While there we checked out the Lord and Taylor store – what a disapointment! I think there are many film fans who would still travel any distance to see a 70mm film presentation in a true movie theatre. However, is that enough to support the theatre 365 days a year? Unfortunately, I do not think so. What got me started traveling to C.C. to the movies. My parents taking us there to see the Cinerama films and other 70mm roadshow presentations at the Boyd – Stanley – Goldman – Randolph -
Midtown and even the Cinema 19! At least some time in the future we will still be able to walk into the Boyd and see a stage show. Instead of walking past a parking lot where the Boyd was, the CVS where the Sam’s place was, and the many office buildings where most of the other palaces were. There could be a lot worse things than a live theatre Boyd. I seriously doubt whether films – especially the wide screen 70mm presentations – will ever again be shown at the Boyd. I hope I am proven wrong. But that is my feeling. Well, I have rattled on long enough. I do think if the Boyd Motion Picture Palace was promoted correctly, it could or might work. Back in the roaring days of the 50’s and 60’s they advertised the roadshow engagements in even the Lancaster papers. I know many people who traveled the Route 30 into C.C! And anyone my wife and I took to the Boyd or Sameric (ugh what a name), was more than willing to make the trip again! I am sure that is at least part of the reason why movie attendance is down now. Give the audience the proper films and the proper surroundings and presentations they will attend!
Jonathan: It is the Penna. Germans who were frugal. The Pa. Dutch call the rest of us residents “English.” The Pa. Dutch do not drive cars, have electric in their houses, or believe in any other “modern conveniences.” So, if the theatres in Lancaster Co. had to depend on the Pa. Dutch as moviegoers, they would have been out of business decades ago!
Jonathan – The population of Central Penna does not all ride around in Amish buggys! Up until the urban renewal of the 60’s Lancaster City and county supported four movie palaces in downtown Lancaster and a newer theatre – the King – that was a few blocks away from downtown that was built in the 50’s. In addition, most smaller towns in the county had their own “main street” theatres. Ephrata, PA in Northern Lancaster Co. had two theatres. The towns of Mt. Joy, Elizabethtown, Manheim, Columbia, Lititz, Marietta all had one theatre. Up until the recent downturn in movie attendance nationwide, the Regal 16 just outside of Lancaster was a box office hit. Many Saturday nights, there was not enough parking spaces in the shopping center for the store patrons and moviegoers. The Regal 16 was built in 1998. Regal purchased a already existing six theatre complex in the shopping center. After a few years, that comlex was demolished along with some empty stores to build the 16 theatre multiplex. The Kendig flourished for the families that could not afford to attend the first run higher priced theatres. In addition, Willow Street, Pa. is not exactly a metropolis. That area caters to mostly rural inhabitants. Of all areas of Lancaster County, that is probably the least populated per square mile.
P.S. Are you a resident of this area?
Galaxy Theatres closed this complex on Monday, Jan. 2, 2006. They sited mounting losses since it began operating the multiplex in Dec. 2002. They said it never reached the potential that they thought it had. Despite keeping prices lower than other area complexes. Their admission was $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children and they showed first run movies. Other complexes are charging $8.50 in this area now for adult admissions. They had two years remaining on their lease, but the property owner left Galaxy out of the remainder. It was hinted that the theatres would be replaced with retail stores. However, the property owner said nothing is definite yet.
The first souvenir programs I purchased for “Ben Hur”, “Spartacus,” “How The West Was Won”, and a few others, were hard bound programs. I think they cost $1 or $5! Then later they changed to glossy paper covers. I have about 20-25 in my collection from various roadshow films back in the 50’s and 60’s.
Hdtv267 – The Mark 1 Theatre opened in December 1970 with the roadshow attraction “Song of Norway” I believe. It was a totally different theatre than the World. The theatre closed in Oct. 1989 as United Artists did not renew the lease after they purchased the Sameric theatre chain.
From 1974 to when the theatre closed in 1978, its film attractions were “Over 21” only. After the Federation of Teachers used the theatre, Budco reopened it on Friday, Nov. 4, 1983 as the Budco Palace Theatre. However, it closed permanently in Nov. 1992.
Management of the Main Theatre has recently been taken over by the gentleman who leased and operated the now closed Columbia Drive In outside of Columbia, PA. It was the last drive operating in Lancaster Co., Pa. Developers purchased the site and there have been many rumors as to its future use both commercial and residential. At one time, Budco operated the Drive In. I believe the drive in is listed on this website.
The Eric Twin Rittenhouse Square opened in 1968. Closed for remodeling on June 12, 1985. Third theatre, which was added at this time, was converted from a furniture store which was located between the two original theatres. The Rittenhouse 3 reopened on June 28, 1985. The theatres were damaged by a neighboring fire on Dec. 14, 1994 and I believe were never reopened. United Artists purchased the Sameric “Eric” chain in 1988 or 1989.
My wife and I recently attended a showing of “Proof” at the Allen Theatre the other Saturday night. What a class evening! No on screen advertisements. Fact is, there was a violinist playing before the showing. It was just so relaxing. And once the movie started, no one continued talking! This is what moviegoing should be like everywhere. A few Saturday nights before that, I told two women to “shut up” as they continued talking long after the film had started at our local multiplex. The look on their faces you would have thought I had asked them to stand up and dance naked in front of the screen in stead of being considerate for other patrons! I will still travel the miles to the Allen from my home if they are showing a movie we want to see! Long may the Allen prosper!
I remember seeing films at the Boyd when they still had the curved screen they installed for the later Cinerama films. The along the wall balcony section seats on either side of the balcony were curtained off and not used. So when Sameric Theatres took over and removed the curved screen which extended past the proscenium, the entire balcony seating was reopened and used.
The Sameric 2 and 3 Theatres opened on July 16, 1982. The Sameric 4 Theatre opened on June 12, 1985. According to what I have in my records theatres 2 and 3 each had 450 seats. And theatre 4 had 225 seats. I believe I would have gotten this information from Variety back then. At one time, Variety listed each theatre in the cities it covered. Of course, back then, movies did not open in 3,000 theatres at one time! When “Fiddler on the Roof” reopened the Boyd Theatre as the Sameric Theatre, the balcony was in use. Our reserved seat tickets for a Saturday night performance were in the balcony. However, most times when we attended other 70mm presentation films at the Sameric – “Star Wars”, “Indy’s Films,” we were seated on the main floor. I know at one of those films, two of us went up to the balcony to see what it was like prior to the film starting. We were asked to leave by some theatre staff that were sitting there drinking beer. That was one of the last times we ever drove from Lancaster to see a film there. Of course, 70mm films eventually become a thing of the past.
Now that someone has brought up “2001”. What do you think it would be like to see it projected in Imax? After seeing “Charlie and the chocolate Factory” and seeing a scene from it in that film, it got me wondering. I know there are people that think regular films presented in Imax is not what it is cracked up to be. However, I must say after seeing “Charlie” and “Harry Potter” previously, I will take an Imax film presentation over the shoebox theatre showings anytime! Even drove 50 miles to see them! Reminds me of my childhood days when we would drive into center city Philadelphia to see the “roadshow 70MM films.” It is like someone else stated elsewhere on this site, you have to give the moviegoer something that is extraordinary to get them off their sofas. In addition to better films, better manners by moviegoers, better presentations would be ideal. I still remember the curtains opening, opening, etc. as the lights dimmed in the movie palaces with 70mm presentations. The overatures ended and the movie logo’s filled those fantastic screen! Oh what memories!
Savage – I am in the process of emailing you three of the pictures – Loew’s State 1 and 2, Criterion, and Rivoli. I have four other pictures of NYC theatres – Capitol, DeMille (Embassy 2-3-4) and the
Cinerama/Penthouse, and RCMH. In addition I have pictures of 7 Center City Philadelphia theatres, all taken in the 1967-1968 time period. Hope you receive the email and its attachments.
Savage: I just emailed you three instamatic camera pictures. The Loew’s State 1 and 2, The Criterion, and the Rivoli. Hope you receive them!
I have a “instamatic” snapshot of the State 1 and 2 with the “Chitty” and “Oliver” films on the marquee. If you would like a copy of it, let me know your email address and I will send it to you. I also have pictures of the Rivoli, Capitol, Warner/Penthouse, DeMille, and Criterion all taken in 1967=1968. Just let me know!
Just submitted a news item about this theatre. According to the Lancaster, PA New Era newspaper, the Marietta Restoration Associates have purchased this theatre recently for $40,000.00. This nonprofit organization helps to restore old buildings in this community. They are planning public meetings to determine what the residents want to use this theatre for. Currently, they are spending $20,000.00 on roof repairs. Unfortunately, the seats, organ, and other furnishings have been removed. The theatre operated from 1914 until 1997. It had 300 seats. It was the oldest operating motion picture theatre in Penna. and was one of the oldest in the U.S. SamuelAcri, an Italian immigrant came to Marietta in 1910. He started showing movies in a rented room in Central Hall, which is now the borough hall. The theatre was built in 1913 and opened in 1914. It was called the Acri theatre until sometime in the 1930’s when the name was changed to the Marietta Theatre. Both his wife and daughter played the organ during the silent movie era. Let’s hope that this association continues its attention to detail and the Marietta Theatre will again become an active part of this small river town community.
“Roadshow” was the terminology used when the studios opened a particular film in one theatre in larger cities. The film was presented at separate performances with reserved seating. Tickets could be purchased in advance. In many instances the films played for months to even a year or longer at this one theatre. In other threads were mentioned the “roadshow houses” of New York City. They were the Loew’s Capitol and State. The Warner, Rivoli, Criterion and DeMille Theatres all located in the Times Square area. On a usual week, there was normally one evening performance and a matinee performance on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Additional shows were added for holiday periods and Summer months. In most instances the roadshow films were presented in 70mm with 6 track magnetic stereo sound. Paper programs were handed out and in many cases “souveneir books” were available for purchase. Ticket prices were higher and there were different prices for the various locations in these theatre palaces – Orchestra, Loge, Balcony, etc.
That was the way to see movies! It was an event and not just a night out at the movies. Living in Lancaster, PA, my parents used to take us to center city Philadelphia to see the “roadshow films.”
Prior to “Chips”, the reissue of “Ben Hur” by MGM played at the Palace on roadshow 6/18/69 to 8/20/69. “Chips” Opened on 11/5/69 and played to 3/15/70.
Hi, I am the friend of Vince Young who has the picture of the Goldman Theatre during the engagement of “Funny Girl.” I had emailed it to him and have given him my okay to send it to you. If I had your email address I would send it directly. Just let me know!
According to my notes, The Ritz 3 Theatre opened in 1976. Each theatre had 450 seats. The Ritz 2 and 3 Theatres closed on Sunday, May 19, 1985 to each be divided into two theatres. They reopened on July 3, 1985 as the Ritz 5 Theatres. Ritz 2 – 250 seats. Ritz 3 – 225 seats, Ritz 4 – 225 seats, and Ritz 5 200 seats.
Vincent – I am the one who emailed the picture to Robert.I just emailed it to you. Hope you receive it. I look at that picture on my screen saver and wish I could walk back into the Rivoli Theatre again to see a 70mm presentation! Of course, it would be nice to walk into any theatre and see a 70mm presentation again!
Robert R – I have a picture I can send you of the Rivoli Theatre marquee during the 70mm engagement of “GWTW.” If you are interested just let me know your email address and I will send it to you.
Dennis – Lancaster, PA
Not being a New Yorker, I have never patronized the Beekman Theatre. I too feel it is a shame for another classic theatre to bite the dust. However, New Yorkers are now only experiencing what most of the country has gone through. We went from the decent sized single screen theatres, to having a wall added down the middle and the theatre “having twins.” Then we went to the triplexes, quads, etc. etc. Then all those bit the dust in favor of the shoebox megaplexes we have today. Add insult to injury, the moviegoing public has gotten this attitude that they are still sitting in their living rooms and have no one else to bother with their behavior! All total, moviegoing today is not what it used to be. Never mind that many of the films are not worth the price of admission! Seems for every good entertaining film, there is at least four turkeys. Well, I just wanted to add my two cents to this thread. New York moviegoers, unfortunately, welcome to the “reel world!”
My first time at this theatre was to see “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines”. That was when it was still the Trans-Lux Theatre. Although I was really disappointed in the size of the theatre especially for a “roadshow” attraction. However, I think it is still a shame to permit the theatre to sit there and rot. Maybe the theatre was not a great “money machine”, but how much income has been generated since it closed in 1993? We have become a totally disposable society, in addition to the desire for the almighty dollar! Well, enough of this. This was certainly no “picture palace” but it deserves a better fate than what it has become!