Comments from HowardBHaas

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HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about AMC Neshaminy 24 Theatres on Aug 20, 2007 at 4:08 pm

That above site also has a photo of the lobby with concessions stand.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about AMC Neshaminy 24 Theatres on Aug 20, 2007 at 4:07 pm

more exterior photos & description here:
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HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about UA Oxford Valley Theatre Stadium 14 on Aug 20, 2007 at 4:05 pm

Exterior photos at
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HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about Ritz 5 Theatres on Aug 20, 2007 at 1:13 pm

March 20, 2007 outside photo of Halle Barry arrival for Perfect Stranger:
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HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about Devon Theater for the Performing Arts on Aug 20, 2007 at 12:56 pm

Exterior photo from this month,
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HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about AMC Neshaminy 24 Theatres on Aug 20, 2007 at 12:51 pm

photo of exterior:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrambojr/145428629/

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about Rialto Theatre on Aug 20, 2007 at 12:37 pm

here’s the text of today’s LA Times article:
Rialto’s last picture show
The last picture show at South Pasadena’s Rialto Theater
By Francisco Vara-Orta
August 20, 2007

Tina Tsoutsas blew a kiss as she said goodbye to the Rialto theater, a longtime South Pasadena fixture that has showcased cinema from silent movies to this summer’s hit, “The Simpsons Movie.”

The beloved jazz-age institution, one of Southern California’s remaining single-screen theaters, closed Sunday evening after 81 years.

“Ask anybody who knows South Pasadena and they’ll know about the Rialto,” said Tsoutsas, 46.

The Arcadia native first came to the Rialto as a teenager in the 1980s to see a movie marathon on the Beatles. She liked the theater so much that she asked for a job there, working from 1984 to 1996 in various roles, including manning the ticket booth, doling out snacks at concession stands and ushering patrons to their seats.

One of her fondest memories, she said, was working the weekly midnight showing of the cult classic “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which had a three-decade run at the theater.

“It really is beautiful and historic,” Tsoutsas said in the lobby after a final tour of the theater with her boyfriend, Gary. “It’s just always been here.”

The Rialto opened its doors to the public Oct. 17, 1925, with organist Ray Metcalfe at the Wurlitzer and the Rialto orchestra accompanying the world premiere of Universal Pictures' “What Happened to Jones?” Trapeze artists performed on a bill shared with vaudeville acts. Admission was 30 cents and searchlights sent from Hollywood shone outside, alerting people to the opening.

With 10 dressing rooms, a loft, a green room, an orchestra pit and a deep stage, the Rialto’s Spanish Baroque architecture and Egyptian-accented interior design bestowed a regal atmosphere that went beyond just catching a flick for those perched in its 1,200 seats.

But on Sunday, about 30 people showed up for the first showing at 12:30 p.m. of “The Simpsons Movie,” with the discounted matinee price of $6 for adults. About 200 people attended the last show. Among them: a group of 15 who graduated from South Pasadena High school in 1960. For them, the theater had been a hangout during their teen years. They had returned to it every few years for periodic reunions and had made a point of being there for the last screening.

“No one is here to see the Simpsons, they’re here to see the Rialto Theater,” said Andrew Noice, a manager. The Rialto’s operator, Landmark Theatres, shifted in recent years from showing more independent art-house films to mainstream movies to boost ticket sales, he said.

Noice reminisced throughout the day with nostalgic Rialto customers. “Business has been up since people found out it was shutting down,” he said.

The low-key closing seemed appropriately somber for the aging beauty’s last day. The seats were squeaky, carpets worn. The balcony was closed for repairs, the theater warmer than the covered lobby outside. It took the camera flashes of patrons — allowed after the movie on Sunday only — to brighten up the dimly lit theater, as many fixtures were broken and had not been replaced in years.

“What I really loved about the Rialto is how it’s all original and has the feeling like you’ve just walked into a place frozen in time,” said Maryam Hosseinzadeh, 29, a South Pasadena native and graduate student studying historical preservation at USC’s School of Architecture. “But it’s a Catch-22 because it’s dilapidated, and I can see where there’s water damage, paint chipping away and how it’s become a faded glory.”

The theater has survived through the death of vaudeville, two fires and threats of being converted into a parking lot or five-screen multiplex, finally succumbing to consistently low ticket sales that Landmark officials said couldn’t sustain its operation.

“I remember my mom bringing me here to see "Romeo and Juliet” in the 1970s,“ said David Wolf, 42, a South Pasadena resident. "South Pasadena is starting to look too generic, and this theater is part of the cultural landscape that I worry is dying here. The Rialto was never mainstream and that’s probably why it’s fading out.”

The theater on Fair Oaks Avenue at Oxley Street may come back to life as part of a proposed development project, but that plan, which would take three years, has not been approved. “It was worth the trip to see it,” said Ralph Ramirez, 56, who traveled from Torrance with his wife, Deborah, to visit and photograph the structure. “This was my first time, and I’m sad that it’ll be the last.”

Landmark controls the theater under a long-term lease, but has said it couldn’t commit the $1 million needed for restoration and ticket sales aren’t enough to keep it open. Landmark has declined to release the Rialto’s ticket sales figures, but Noice said that in the seven years he’s worked there, there have been days with not one person showing up to watch a film.

“It’s a heartbreaking ending for the theater,” Noice said. “I’m more sad that it’s closing down than losing my job. I can find another, but there’s only one Rialto.”

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about Frank Theatres Montgomeryville Stadium 10 on Aug 20, 2007 at 9:24 am

Listed in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer movieclock as Montgomeryville Stadium 12
Corner Rte 309 and Rte 202 Behind Home Depot and Sports Authority
“All New Stadium Theatres with Digital Sound”

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about UA King of Prussia Stadium 16 and IMAX on Aug 20, 2007 at 8:05 am

2007 photo of the lobby:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/psgambat/800724925/

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about Ritz Theatre on Aug 20, 2007 at 7:52 am

Auditorium photo:
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HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about Ritz 5 Theatres on Aug 20, 2007 at 7:47 am

exterior photo showing the Ritz 5 and the Society Hill Towers which were designed by I.M. Pei
http://www.flickr.com/photos/penoppi/437190900/

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about Ritz 5 Theatres on Aug 20, 2007 at 7:43 am

More photos:

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmac/5083846/

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about UA King of Prussia Stadium 16 and IMAX on Aug 20, 2007 at 7:29 am

From the Nov 12, 2006 Philadelphia Weekly article by Andrew Repasky McElhinney,
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Best IMAX out of Town
Well, it’s the only IMAX screen out of the city, but the United Artists' King of Prussia 16/United Artists' IMAX offers mainstream Hollywood event movies distorted on an IMAX screen. Hordes flock for the IMAX experience, not understanding that traditional movies gain nothing from being projected on an IMAX screen. Go to the Franklin Institute instead unless the King of Prussia IMAX is demonstrating its distinction as the region’s only showcase of mainstream movies in 3-D. Then it’s worth the trip, but just barely.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about Regal Plymouth Meeting 10 on Aug 20, 2007 at 7:26 am

The June 1999 Philadelphia magazine gave the lowest rating in the Philadelphia area to the Regal Plymouth Meeting 10, rating it only a 2.8, with Comment stating “Regal Disappointment” The same magazine rated the AMC Plymouth Meeting 12 with a perfect 5.0.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about Regal Plymouth Meeting 10 on Aug 20, 2007 at 7:20 am

The AMC Plymouth Meeting 12 is here. /theaters/20914/

As to the Regal-
From the Nov 12, 2006 Philadelphia Weekly article by Andrew Repasky McElhinney,
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Worst Theater
Worn, boxy theaters, bad projection and a disinterested, aggressively evasive and rude staff make the Regal Plymouth Meeting 10 the bottom of the barrel. Movies start early or late but not on time, the sound is uncomfortably loud, focus issues persist from projectors that are unmonitored and automated (and tend to shut off at random, unfortunate places), and wall-to-wall advertising assaults viewers whenever the feature’s not on. It’s the pits.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about AMC Plymouth Meeting Mall 12 on Aug 20, 2007 at 6:29 am

From the Nov 12, 2006 Philadelphia Weekly article by Andrew Repasky McElhinney,
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Best Overall Theatergoing Experience
From its first-rate presentation, generous-sized screens and hardworking, quick-thinking and courteous staff, the all-stadium-seating AMC Plymouth Meeting 12 is the best megaplex in the area. Clean, adjacent to the Plymouth Meeting Mall, featuring two awesomely large THX-certified screens, reasonably reliable projection and a powerful sound systemâ€"this is as good as a multiplex gets.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about AMC Plymouth Meeting Mall 12 on Aug 20, 2007 at 6:27 am

The June 1999 Philadelphia magazine gave a perfect 5.0 rating to what was then the GCC Plymouth Meeting 12, with the highest possible rankings in each category of Cleanliness, Service, Screen & Sound, and Seating, and in the Comment section: “Worth the $8” This was the best rating of any movie theater in the Philadelphia area other than the Ritz 12 Voorhees (which had most of its screens devoted to arthouse fare then).

The 1999 Philadelphia magazine gave the lowest rating in the Philadelphia area to the Regal Plymouth Meeting 10 rating it only a 2.8, with Comment stating “Regal Disappointment”

Also in Montgomery County, and not too far away, is the Regal Marketplace 24 @ Oaks which was rated 4.8 which was the next highest rated of all Philadelphia area theaters. Some notable theaters built since these ratings include the United Artists King of Prussia 16 and the Bridge /theaters/10911/

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about UGC-de Brouckere on Aug 19, 2007 at 7:56 pm

Exterior photos:
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caption to this exterior photo states apparently where former Scala cinema was:
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Main auditorium photos:
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/otagi/192059760/

In 2001, I saw a movie in the main historic auditorium, noting that it had 650 seats. If the original auditorium was 3000 seats, then is something missing? The original orchestra level or a balcony level?

And, what did the original lobby look like?

The theater was built 1933.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about Ritz East Theater on Aug 19, 2007 at 2:47 pm

The auditorium to the right is larger. Irvin Glazer’s hardback book “Philadelphia Theatres A-Z” states each auditorium had 450 seats each. That might have been then true for the auditorium to the right.

I began attending in April 1988, and my notes indicate 421 seats for the larger auditorium, the one on the right.

An article on 12-14-1998 stated that the AMC Old City 2 had closed, one year ahead of its lease term, but would reopen in the spring as
the Ritz East, and had a total of 750 seats.

In 2001, I estimated 300 seats for the Ritz East auditorium on the right, which was then stadium seated, and a 30 to 35 feet wide scope screen.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about AMC Neshaminy 24 Theatres on Aug 19, 2007 at 2:23 pm

You are trying to provoke Philadelphians by stating NYC is the best? Why not suggest the Ziegfeld, which you have included among your Favorites on this website? Instead, you’ve got a theater with tiny screens, Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, which I went to once and will never return to.

The Avalon and Uptown in D.C. and the Baltimore Senator also are among the best East Coast treasures.

If we are going to talk multiplexes, this one- Neshaminy, is one of the most profitable in the nation. I added today the AMC Plymouth Meeting Mall 12, which is also an exceptional Philadelphia area
movie theater. In Philadelphia, the Bridge is a great movie theater and featured in the book Cinema Treasures.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about Drake Odeon on Aug 19, 2007 at 11:06 am

A comment says the model ship in front was retrieved for use in the replacement building. Was it reused? on the exterior? photo anybody?

Was the main original screen still used after the theater was divided up?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about AMC Philadelphia Mills 14 on Aug 19, 2007 at 8:03 am

It is rather far from downtown. There are more convenient movie theaters to get to from downtown. If on the other hand, you’d like a shopping expedition at Franklin Mills, it is perfectly doable.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about AMC Philadelphia Mills 14 on Aug 19, 2007 at 6:13 am

12-21-1997 Philadelphia Inquirer article stated that on 12-19-97 the GCC Franklin Mills theater “moved” to the mall, with THX, digital sound, stadium seats (the 1st in Philadelphia, love seats, for total of 3636 seats.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas commented about AMC Loews Cherry Hill 24 on Aug 19, 2007 at 6:09 am

12-18-1998 article (probably Philadelphia Inquirer) stated that Cherry Hill would have 4400 seats and take up 95,000 square feet and be Art Deco in style.