Showing 151 - 175 of 324 comments
Thanks for the excellent work, hope you’ll show more in the near future. I’m enjoying
reading your messages too. It’s nice to have an old-timer telling his stories.
I drove by last week and the Westgate Cinema is gone, to be replaced by a Dick’s Sporting Goods.
I checked with Steve Pritzker who keeps in touch with Pike, and they don’t have any copies. Wish someone could find one, maybe a reader here saved some. (Joe DiCarlo would make sure old scratched ones got thrown away, so they wouldn’t get mixed up with new ones.)
hmmm, Gert Trigger, now that’s a name from long ago!! Was she Sy Evan’s secretary?
hoppy, when I click on your Webshots link to see a picture, it says there’s no pictures in the album.
We used to keep a box of old butter pumps that had been dropped, and wouldn’t work anymore, just in case. Sometimes a gear would spin on one, but not another. When we switched from automaticket to computer, we put the old ticket machines and cans in the storage areas, I think just in case the computers went down, or maybe just because they were on the “physical inventory”. I wish I could go back to some of those theatres and search the booths for an old GCC snipe from the 1970’s!
Yes, they used the bowling alley as a warehouse. I was wondering what you used to type your invoice and petty cash reports after throwing away the typewriter? Those were certainly valuable pieces of company property in those days! (I hope Joe Saunders isn’t rolling in his grave after learning of this!)
Exact opening date was May 28, 1963. First Managaer was named Sullivan, followed by Izzy Strier, followed by Ed Frizzel.
The Peabody Cinema was originally slated to be one theatre, a Holiday Lanes, and an attached nightclub. When Phil Smith, owner of Smith Management, passed away, his son Richard took over the operations of General Drive-In, (then the name for General Cinema). Richard Smith was very conservative, unlike his father, and didn’t agree with the concept of a bar with liquor being a part of the business. Thus, the space became a theatre auditorium. The theatre actually opened in 1963.
The Kenmore had a total of 695 seats which included the handful at street level, which might be described as a balcony. After purchasing tickets and entering the lobby, one would go down a flight of stairs to the main auditorium. One would have to visit the site, (now the Mass Pike) to get a feel for how that occurs. It’s near the bridge that goes over the Pike near Fenway Park. The Kenmore was owned by Louis Richmond, who was a friend of Mickey Redstone, Sumner Redstone’s father. Before Louis Richmond died, he suggested Mickey Redstone build Drive In Theatres, on 6 sites. Redstone followed the advice, and this was the beginning of Redstone Theatres, now known as Showcase. So we can credit Louis Richmond for his role in Mickey Redstone and later Sumner’s success.
Thanks to Joe DiCarlo, for the information. He worked for Louis Richmond and managed the Kenmore in the 1950’s. The theatre first became successful with it’s engagement of “Marty”. (he remembers the seat count, as they sold every one of them during successful engagements.)
The original Embassy has it’s own listing,
(Sorry, I didn’t click the link to the photo with the caption, just read the description at the top of this listing.)
The caption “in the same area” is correct. The original was on Moody, where there is now a vacant lot. Behind the vacant lot, is the parking garage for the new Embassy, which is around the corner.
By the late ‘60’s, none of those downtown theatres were high grossers. Probably the best film played the Cheri, Music Hall, Charles, and Sack 57. It’s too bad grossing information is probably impossible to get, as it would show how downtown declined in those years.
Thanks for researching the details on that incident. The combat zone described in the 1968 article from MIT, was certainly a far more dangerous place than those writers described, not quite the chic place to go “slumming”. The Puopolo murder hammered that home to any suburbanites who may have had lingering ideas on the advisability of going downtown for a movie. Of course, as things changed and the combat zone disappeared, the nostalgia for an old movie palace has come back. It’s too bad the buildings couldn’t sustain the years of declining business just a few years longer. Ironically, the porn industry probably helped those theatres stay open a few years longer, once the booking patterns changed in the late ‘60s.
That was a great article, thanks for finding it and posting the link. When the downtown theatres lost their exclusivity to the suburban theatres that sprung up in the shopping malls, it was the beginning of the end for downtown being a destination for moviegoers. Until that time, downtown played exclusive for 3 weeks and the mall Cinemas only played subrun. It was around that same time that a Harvard student who was “slumming” with his fraternity friends one night, got into an altercation with a group of street savvy hoods, and was stabbed to death. It was the beginning of the end for the combat zone being a good-time destination for students. too.
To Paul Fortini: probably the same things that did in GCC in the late 90s. Poor decisions on signing leases, and a film dept that didn’t coordinate with Real Estate in what kind of volume business would be necessary to turn a profit.
Landmark didn’t hire the Waltham local when they opened the Embassy, and their DM is a former GCC anti-union executive. He was instrumental in bumping the union from General Cinema booths about 10 years ago. I’m sure having a floor staff take control of their own destiny must irk him.
Maybe someone with access to microfilm of the local newspaper can find an advertisement. It could be he was playing short sets, like they might at a county fairgrounds.
Was a General Cinema theatre, managed by Henry Cummings.
Congratulations to the employees, I guess the next step will be to negotiate a raise and benefits. Does that mean the staff at their Embassy in Waltham will automatically join the same union, or does each theatre have to make their own decision?
Does anyone know who owned the Old South of 1940-1950?
That’s called a Coop Display ad. The distributor gives a certain amount for a large ad, the cost to be split between those theatres listed underneath who were opening with the film. The local paper probably had a smaller directory, sometimes with paste-up artwork and showtimes for their individual theatre.
Thanks to those who posted some nice photos of the Palm. I hope lvmstar will post the family photos on a web site, or maybe email some to those who want to see them?
When I began working as an usher in 1966, minimum wage was $1.25, local bag boys in the supermarket were making $1.50, and the theatre was paying $1.00 an hour for an usher. I took the usher’s job just because it was the theatre. So did all my friends. And we all had a great time, because it was not only a job, but a social experience. (theater ushers in Massachusetts were classified as sub minimum wage, like golf caddies and waitresses).
Working as a floor staff in a theatre has always been a minimum wage part-time job without benefits. Trying to make it otherwise is probably futile, as the result of allowing the union in will be to cause expenses to increase, which will spiral into higher admission prices. Theatre owners won’t take a lower profit margin. Of course other greater Boston area theatre employees will be encouraged to do the same. One can empathize with the employees, as many theatre employees through the years eventually grew out of the part time job but one can understand the position of management too. The union will succeed, I’m sure, but ultimately, the customer will lose out because Management will schedule fewer staff on a shift in order to make up for the increased payroll. And we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that employees such as those interviewed lasted as long as they did, not because of the money, but because they loved “the business”.
Just a suggestion, and I hope you don’t take offense, but I wonder
if Joel Shepard knew you were going to reveal his interest to the public with his request to you. Sounds like maybe you could have simply suggested he post a message here instead of you doing it for him, and including his name in the post.
There are probably many who would be interested in the details of the architectural history of your Father-In-Law’s firm, and which theatres he designed. I think the Northshore Cinema in Peabody, the South Shore Plaza Cinema in Braintree, and other shopping center theatres owned by General Cinema in the 1960s, were some. I wonder if he designed any of their bowling alleys in the late 1950’s or 60s? I sent you an email and hope you’ll reply. Thanks for posting here.