Comments from bigjoe59

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bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jul 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Hello to Simon S.

thanks for the info about the engagement of “The Robe” at the Roxy. now the film had a souvenir program of which i picked up a almost mint condition copy of in a memorabilia store about ten years ago. which leads to this question-if a film playing at the Roxy had a souvenir program when the film ended its run would the Roxy send all the unsold copies back to the studio in question or did they keep a few? i have always wondered about that.

the reason i ask is simple. in early 1966 i was at my friend’s house after school and noticed a souvenir program for “The Great Race” on the bookshelf. he mentioned his parents had gotten it when the film played its first run engagement at Radio City Music Hall. when TGR had played my local theater they didn’t sell the program. so i said “oh,well”. the next week i had an idea. i wrote a letter to RCMH and inquired as to whether they had any copies left. now this was several months after the film had left the theater. i included a $1 for the program and $1 for s&h. guess what? the next week i received a package from RCMH which contained not only a mint condition copy of the souvenir program but the two $1 bills. :–)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jul 12, 2012 at 11:36 am

Hello-

the first Cinemascope film “The Robe” debuted at the Roxy. but how long did it run on what i assume was an exclusive engagement? the reason i ask is simple. in the approx. 50+ years it was a first run venue even the most successful films ran just so long at Radio City Music Hall.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Ziegfeld Theatre on Jul 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Hello Again-

i always enjoy reading my fellow posters comments. to which i myself do not consider this theater in the-“Out Sight~Out of Mind” category. i mean Radio City Music Hall is within spitting distance and people don’t have trouble finding that theater. so considering we humans have the ability to walk and Manhattan has both great bus and subway lines i don’t see how this theater is anymore “out of the way” than any other movie theater in Manhattan.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Ziegfeld Theatre on Jul 9, 2012 at 11:18 am

Hello To My Fellow Posters-

there’s one statement in the doom and gloom article from this past Sunday’s N Y Post that seems made up simply to give the article bite. it says patrons were shocked when they arrived at the Ziegfeld the Memorial Day weekend an the doors were looked. but why would people have shown up at the theater that weekend if it was temporarily closed and there- fore couldn’t have had any advertised screening times.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jul 2, 2012 at 11:39 am

Hello- the Roxy was torn down if i remember correctly June/July of 1960. which prompts this question-

at that point Hollywood was still operating on the A level and B level movie system. so does anyone know what the last successful long run of an A level film was a the Roxy?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Jun 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Hello To techman707-

as always i thank my fellow posters for replying to my posts but as the saying goes the plot thickens.

in her book “"42 Street” Mary C. Henderson chronicles the life as it were of the 12 theaters that were built on 42 St. between 7th and 8th Avenues. the 12 essays are chronological by the date the theaters were built. the first essay is
for the American which opens with this statement –“the American has the dubious distinction of
being the 1st theater built on the block and the first one torn down.” now Henderson herself acknowledges Hammerstein’s Victoria as one of the 12 theaters.

now several weeks ago i mentioned that the statement that opens the chapter on the American didn’t make sense since the Victoria was torn down at the end of 1915 to build the 1st Rialto which opened in 1916. as a reply a fellow poster said that Henderson didn’t consider the 1st Rialto of 1916 a completely new edifice/ structure implying it encompassed a part or parts of the Victoria. yet in your reply you said the Victoria was completely torn down to build the 1st Rialto. so since Henderson considers the Victoria as one of the 12 theaters built on 42 St. and you said it was completely torn down to build the 1st Rialto doesn’t that make her statement that opens the chapter on the American incorrect?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Chicago Theatre on Jun 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Hello From NYC-

if i am not mistaken the big building period for grand old movie theaters or palaces to use the popular term was 1913-1941? this is where my question comes in.

none of the theaters built in Manhattan to be exclusive first run engagement theaters survive as such. for instance Radio City Music Hall is now a multi-purpose venue and hasn’t been a 1st run theater since 1979. so i was wondering if any of the grand old movie theaters/palaces built in Chicago in the period mentioned above have continued to operate in more or less their original condition as exclusive 1st rum theaters since the day they opened? Washington,D.C has the Uptown and L.A. has Grauman’s Chinese
among a few but Manhattan comes up zippo as does San Francisco.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Jun 26, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Hello To Al A.–

you seem to be quite knowledgeable so i have a good question for you and it pertains to the 1st Rialto on 7th Ave. between 42/43 St. which opened in 1916.

in Mary C. Henderson’s book “42 Street” she states that the American of 1895? was the first theater build on 42 St. between 7th & 8th Avenues and the first to be torn down. but then i said to myself- “wait a second wasn’t Hammerstein’s Victoria torn down at the end of 1915 almost 16 years before the American?”. one of my fellow posters replied that the reason for Henderson’s comment about the American is that she doesn’t consider the Rialto of 1916 a completely new structure. this would imply that the Victoria wasn’t completely razed and some part or parts of it lived on in the Rialto. so if this is true then how much of the Victoria did in fact live on in the Rialto of 1916 that Henderson doesn’t consider it a new structure?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Jun 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Hello to Ed S. –

thanks for your reply. you of course make a valid point about whether the projection/screening set up at the Crescent was permanent in other words constructed along with the rest of the theater or perhaps hastily put up at the last minute and then later made permanent. i guess we will never know since anyone who went to or worked at the theater is long gone.

also after reading your reply an interesting thought occurred to me. if the theater this page is for the Embassy 1,2,3 were still showing films wouldn’t it be the oldest theater building in Manhattan being used as a movie theater? after all it opened in 1910 as the Columbia a burlesque house.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Jun 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Hello Again To My Fellow Posters-

as always i thank my fellow posters for their thoughts/comments on my posts. its nice to have a lively discussion.

now if you read my last two posts i never use the term “movie only theater” just “movie theater”. i admit the Cresent in terms of its size or
ornateness wasn’t in the same class as the Rialto of 1916. but since it did have movies as part of the bill on opening night that would imply i’m sure you’ll agree that the intention of screening movies as well as having vaudeville acts must have been part of the design and construction phase. i can’t imagine they chose to show films on a whim the morning of the opening night. so what are your thoughts on this as a more valid way of describing the Cresent-“the oldest theater i could find in my search that was built from the ground if not as a movie only theater at least as a combo movie/vaudeville house”. i admit that’s a bit much but since is it the oldest purpose built theater i could find that screened movies on its opening night and for some time after i think its distinctive place in the history of movie exhibition in Manhattan should be duly noted.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas on Jun 19, 2012 at 11:09 am

Hello To My Fellow Posters In L.A.–

i live in NYC and enjoy reading this page to see what’s going on in the movie going world of L.A. so i have a question for fellow posters in L.A.. does anyone know what the oldest continually in operation movie theater is in L.A.? my one qualification is that it has been a commercial house the entire time. for instance the Egyptian on Hollywood Blvd. doesn’t count since its been a non-profit film society type house for a number of years.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Jun 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Hello Again to AL A.–

thank you for your quick reply. its always good too read your thoughts on the subject.

as i said i have a rather liberal definition of what constitutes a built from the ground up or to use the proper term purpose built movie theater. now no one can contest that the Cresent was designed to be and was built from the ground up as a theater and opened on the night of Dec. 16, 1909. now i don’t know this to be fact but i’m guessing the technical know how and equipment needed to show movies or photoplays as i believe they were called in the early years was a bit more complicated by 1909 from when they made they debut at Koster and Bial’s Music Hall in April of 1896. my point being since movies were a part of the bill on the opening night of Dec. 16, 1909 the thought to exhibit movies as well as vaudeville must have been a part of the whole design and construction phase. that’s why i am classifying the Cresent as the oldest purpose
built “movie theater” i could find in my search.

whether is was a large theater in terms of seating capacity or whether is was ornate in its exterior or interior design or whether is was considered a major theater in terms of the product or performers it got isn’t important. the important fact is that on the opening night movies were part of the bill.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Jun 18, 2012 at 9:13 am

Hello To Al A. & techman707-

as always i enjoy reading my fellow poster replies. to which your comments of May 4.

i guess i have a rather liberal definition of what classifies as a built from the ground up or to use the more proper term purpose built movie theater. my search used the nifty list this site complied of all movie theaters that ever existed in New York State. i of course just looked up the theaters listed under New York, New York which was the list’s notation for Manhattan.

the oldest purpose built “movie theater” i could find was the Cresent at 36 W. 135 St.. it opened on the night of Dec. 16, 1909. true the opening night program as you can imagine was a double bill of movies and vaudeville but the important fact to remember is this- the fact movies were shown as part of the opening night program would seem to be proof that during the design and construction phase it was the intent to exhibit movies as well as vaudeville. to which this fits my definition of a purpose built “movie theater”.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jun 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Hello-

i thank my fellow posters for their replies to all of my questions. its been most helpful.

as you know for the past several weeks i have been browsing a neat list this site complied of all the movie theaters that ever existed in New York State. the purpose being to find the oldest built from the ground up or to use the more proper term purpose built built movie theater in Manhattan. to which on the list i just looked up the theaters listed under New York,New York. now for some time the furthest back i could go
using my criteria was the Regent and the Bunny both of 1913. then i found out the late Apollo of 42 St. was built in 1910 to exhibit both movies and vaudeville. well i found an even older theater that was built to exhibit both films and vaudeville. the Cresent later known as the Gem was built at 36 West 135 St. it opened on Dec. 16, 1909 with a program of both movies and vaudeville. now whether in the design and construction stages the builder intended to show films well who knows. it may only have been a thought after the construction was finished. but the important fact remains that on the opening night the program consisted of movies as well vaudeville. the theater ceased operation in 1937 and for many years the building was used by a community organization. the building is now demolished.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Sutton Theater on Jun 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Hello-

does anyone know if the Sutton had any
exclusive roadshow engagements other than
“The Blue Max”?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jun 4, 2012 at 11:35 am

Hello Again-

in the last say year and a half of the Roxy’s life i was under the assumption that in the movie industry at the time it was quite clear what was considered an A film or a B film. for instance both the Loew’s Capitol and the Paramount went out playing A films. so it would have been nice if the Roxy’s final film had been a big A film.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jun 4, 2012 at 7:21 am

Hello-

as i said in my previous post in its last days the Roxy was playing many B if not C films. in fact the last film to play the Roxy was what a friend of my parents referred to as a C film. i forget the title but in had “Wind” in it. to which what was the last first run A level film that the Roxy played?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jun 3, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Hello- thanks for the info. there were many large grand old movie theaters that continued to operate as single screen first run movie theater for several years after the Roxy was torn down. the Criterion, Loew’s State, Loew’s Capitol, the Rivoli, the Warner the Demille and the Paramount. i guess they were able to survive as single screen movie theaters long after the Roxy was torn down because they were manageably large whereas the Roxy which had like twice the seating capacity of the Paramount was just to frigging big for its own good.

also what are your thoughts on the fact that till the day they closed down both the Loew’s Capitol and the Paramount were still playing first run A level movies. respectively PLANET OF THE APES and 2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY for the Capitol and THUNDERBALL for the Paramount. a friend of my parents said that in its last 2 years or so the Roxy at times played B or even C movies. now this was long before mutliplexes when studios opened a film in 2000 to 3000 theaters on the same day. so if the Capitol and the Paramount were able to book first run A level films till the day they closed why wasn’t the Roxy?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 with IMAX on Jun 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Hello- while i like the hustle of bustle of such

   a large well attended theater two bits of
                   inaccuracies in the individual theaters 
                   must be mentioned. on the plaque for the
                   Capitol it states the theater was torn in
                   1967. so how to explain how i saw the
                   original Cinerama roadshow engagement of
                   2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY in April of 1968. i
                   can't believe such an inaccuracy wasn't
                   fact checked when the plaques were put up
                   in 1994. 
              
                   also the slight i guess you would call it
                   ornamentation in the individual auditoriums
                   bares no resemblance to the architectural
                   style of the grand old theaters they're
                   named in honor of. for instance the Paradise
                   in the Bronx. so why name the auditoriums in
                   honor of a grand old movie theater if its
                   slight ornamentation bares no relation to
                   the style of the theater its named after?
                
bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Roxy Theatre on Jun 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Hello-

i was able to attend many of the great old movie houses in the Times Square area when they were still more or less in their original condition and they before were twined or torn down. the Roxy wasn’t one of them. to which i have what i hope is a simple question. the decision to tear down the Roxy was made i believe in June of 1960. so as well loved as the theater was and had ornate as it was by June 1960 wasn’t a movie theater as HUGE as the Roxy just plain economically unviable?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 with IMAX on Jun 3, 2012 at 11:58 am

when did the price for shows before 12.pm. go up to $7? i saw MEN IN BLACK 3 last weekend and it was still $6.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about National Twin on May 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

to AL A.–

thanks for your reply. granted no one ever said the National either as a single or twin theater wasn’t successful. if you have a minute read the two previous posts i alluded to in my post of 5/22/12. doesn’t the sentiments expressed in these two posts make it seem certainly to some one you had never been to the National that the theater had gotten as seedy, run down, ill kept etc… as the general area itself? i just wanted to make the point to people who had never been to the National that in all the times i went there in its 26? year history regardless of the quality of the films the theater itself was always well run, well maintained etc….

this is of course the direct opposite of the Embassy 1,2,3. i admit i went to the tri-plexed former Demille a number of times simply because it was convenient. in fact the last film i saw there which was shortly before it closed up shop was “Living Out Loud” with Holly Hunter and Queen Latifah. my point being in the year or two before it closed both the main auditorium and the two upstairs were in run down condition. in fact the men’s room for the main auidtorium downstairs and the men’s room and the two upstairs were in decidedly un-mantained condition. i wonder how the theater was never closed for health code or building violations. the city closes eateries at the drop of a hat for the same reasons.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about National Twin on May 24, 2012 at 10:56 am

Hello To My Fellow Posters-

i wish to comment on the replies to my post of 5/22/12. i don’t see why the ethnic or demographic composition of the audience needs be mentioned. all i was commenting on was the fact that even during Time Square’s most “colorful” period the denizens of the area that produced said “colorfulness” never seemed to frequent the National(either as a single screen or twin) as they did the grind houses on 42 St. aside from the quality of the movies being shown i never remember this theater ever being run down, seedy, a shadow of its former self etc… terms which i’m sure could have been applied to the grind houses on 42 St.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Plaza Theatre on May 24, 2012 at 10:34 am

Hello-

my original post in which i said that calling the the theater “out of the way” or “hard to find” was a bit much was from my personal experience. the first time i can remember going to the Plaza was to see “Anne of the Thousand Days”. this i believe was the beginning of 1970. until reading my fellow posters replies i had no idea that the theater was first built to be an elegant second run house. so i guess the Plaza must have become a prime first run house shortly before my first visit. i seriously doubt Universal would have
booked a big Oscar bait film like “Anne….” into an exclusive Manhattan run at a theater out of the way or that no one could find.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 commented about Loew's American Theatre on May 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Hello Again-

as always i thank my fellow posters for their replies. while “42 Street” is one of my favorite books about Manhattan theater history the opening statement to the chapter on the American has always perplexed me. now the Rialto of 1916 is the movie theater which “replaced” Hammerstein’s Victoria. since i’ve read the Rialto was the first movie “palace” built in the Times Square area i assumed it was a brand new from scratch building but apparently not according to Henderson. so how much of the Victoria existed in the Rialto? for instance was the Rialto simply built within the gutted frame of the Victoria so all that was left were the four walls?

also considering Henderson’s thoughts on the subject how much of a older structure would have to still be present for the “new” theater not to be considered a “new” theater as she does?