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Here is the link directly to the Ellen. Nice marquee!
Yes! Please try to link that photo.
Things are on the move in Darien. Here are excerpts from a New York Times story of 8/18/04, followed by a link to the entire article.
A full-service Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa and an Ann Taylor Loft have leased space in the Darien Playhouse movie theater, a prime spot in the small downtown here.
Arthur Collins Sr., a developer of upscale office and housing complexes along the Eastern Seaboard, and Thomas E. Golden, president of the Thomas E. Golden Realty Company in Darien, are redeveloping the 21,500-square-foot theater building, built in 1926. Closed for seven years in the 1980’s, it was purchased by United Artists and reopened as a two-screen theater, but closed again before the two men took it over. Mr. Collins said, “We had to find a way to save it for the town, but movie rents are barely a break-even, so we had to get other income.”
While Mr. Collins and Mr. Golden have completely gutted the interior, they saved the red-brick colonial facade in compliance with the town’s wish. “We are a charming New England town, and we don’t want to lose that character,” Ms. Klein said.
By halving the two theaters' capacity, to 160 seats each, and adding 1,500 square feet to each side of the building, the developers made room for three new tenants. The third is a high-end linen shop, Sweet Dreams, which took 1,500 square feet on the ground floor facing the street.
The white-pillared theater entrance and lobby will be taken over by Ann Taylor, with a store that covers 6,500 square feet; moviegoers will now enter the theater at the back of the building. The marquee will remain, bearing the name Playhouse Square. The two stores and the theater are expected to open around Thanksgiving, Mr. Collins said.
Peter Vivien, a restorer, owner and operator of vintage theaters in New Jersey, will operate the theater on a 30-year lease. His plans for the interior include a swagged Austrian show curtain and pastel upholstery.
Didn’t they play adult films for a while? I was always intrigued by this theater under the el.
And the Alpine, which I’ve been to many times, is the only one still flying the Loew’s banner.
Wow! Any links to photos?
I love those giant vertical signs. On 42nd Street both Loews and AMC have instlled them and they are pretty impressive.
Bryan K, that is an amazing site you linked us to. Thanks!
Better link: www.historictheatres.org
(Link above has an extra comma!)
Reading these posts here and for other showplaces makes me a litle nauseous over what we’ve lost.
>>The Walker made it to the 90’s and now a store sits inside…
I wonder if the ceilings in the upstairs theaters are still painted dark blue.
I’ve been to this house, and I’m surprised to read there’s not a true balcony. As I recall you have to climb a lot of steps to get upstairs, and then you’re only at the foot of the steeply raked seating. I know that in the Ziegfeld you go up a few steps to the first row of the “balcony” but here it seems like there’s plenty of steps before you reach the first row.
What theater is that on the left with Movies written on a vertical sign?
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?