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For the record, that 1970 screening was my first time at the Ziegfeld. It was a double feature: “West Side Story” and “Around the World in 80 Days”. 5 ½ hours. What a great introduction to a great theater.
Several years ago, Vito posted what he thought of the console on this page. At the same time, I related an incident where the console seemed to go out of control during a 1970 screening of “West Side Story”. The soundtrack was filled with ear-splitting popping noises, which only went away when the operator turned the console off and walked away from it. The audience then applauded.
Tom: I live on Shippen St. in Weehawken (the equivalent of 24th St. in Union City) and I’d love to read the story. I didn’t know the City Theater even existed until today.
A 3-strip Cinerama print of Brothers Grimm is supposed to be shown at the Bradford, England Cinerama theater in April 2012. It is supposed to be in excellent condition too. I only hope it’ll get shown in LA or Seattle as well – a perfect way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Cinerama.
Vito: Here it is, the console!
Seeing that should bring back some (bad) memories.
Thanks to DEFG for posting the picture.
Sad to read the recent comments about poor projection at the Clairidge. Even sadder when you consider this theater, 50 years ago, was the North Jersey home of Cinerama, the ultimate film projection experience.
Except when the Chinese is the centerpiece of the TCM Classic Film Festival every year? Unless that’s over with for the Chinese as well.
Last night, this theater showed It’s a Wonderful Life, preceded by a special presentation with Oscar-winning visual effects artist Craig Barron and Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu in the film. Lots of great stories were told. The film was shown digitally and some people grumbled about that, but I have to say it never looked so good. Every tiny detail – all the signs and ads in Mr. Gower’s drugstore and the signs in the street, things posted on the wall at Mr. Potter’s bank – could be clearly seen for the first time (by me, anyway). Purists won’t like it, but I fear film may soon be dead, at least when it comes to the showing of classic movies.
Everyone who attended got a free Blu-Ray of It’s a Wonderful Life. Patrick Harrison, the Academy official who hosted the event, called it his Oprah moment.
Donna Reed’s daughter Mary was also in the audience and spoke briefly. She sat next to Zuzu – I mean, Karolyn.
Last night there was a big event at the Loew’s: the 40th anniversary screening of “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story”, the TV-movie which inspired the TV series “The Waltons”. 14 members of the movie/series cast appeared in person, including Michael Learned and Richard Thomas. Patricia Neal played Learned’s role in the movie, and there was a very nice tribute to her after the screening (she appeared on the Loew’s stage a few years ago for a showing of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”). The movie was apparently a DVD presentation, but it looked absolutely perfect up there on that big screen. I was really impressed. The stage curtains were either cleaned and repaired, or replaced, and they looked amazing. Not to mention all those people in the seats, easily more than 1,000. Taking all this into consideration, the Loew’s never looked better.
West Side Story played at the Bellevue in Upper Montclair NJ for 35 weeks, 5 days (4/13/62 through 12/19/62).
It played the Route 59 Theater in Nanuet NY for 18 weeks, 4 days (6/28/62 through 11/5/62).
It had an intermission when I saw it at the Route 3 Drive-In, Rutherford NJ in April 1963. I believe it was right between the songs “One Hand, One Heart” and “Quintet” (not really the best place for a break). The new 70mm print shown in Seattle this month had an intermission right where Ken said it was on the Blu-Ray, and the intermission card even had the Saul Bass graphic design of an abstract Manhattan as seen during the overture. It looked great.
Hey Jeff: I’m glad you posted your grandfather’s theater. I’m surprised I didn’t see this sooner. I hope someone who saw movies there will add a comment soon.
I think I’d go back to Seattle just for Ryan’s Daughter. Doctor Zhivago was considered for this year’s festival, but ultimately rejected because it was shot in 35mm Panavision and then blown up to 70mm.
There are at least two movie palaces in the New York City area: the Lafayette in Suffern NY (opened in 1924) and the Loew’s Jersey in Jersey City NJ (opened in 1929). I’m happy to say they are both still showing classic movies on a regular basis.
I also think it’d be a welcome addition to the Loew’s State page. You should post it again there. I’ve seen posts that were far longer than yours.
Dave: all I can say is that it was worth waiting for. I was only 5 when Ben-Hur opened at the Loew’s State, and I didn’t get to see it till more than a year later, in 35mm at the Loew’s Jersey City, but reading your wonderful account made me feel like I did see it at the State in its glorious 70mm presentation. You describe everything so well, it was easy to visualize what it must’ve been like. Thanks so much!
I was lucky enough to attend that New York Philharmonic performance. It was outstanding. So was the intermission, when the following special guests were introduced: Robert Wise’s daughter, Leonard Bernstein’s son and daughter, orchestrator Sid Ramin, executive producer Walter Mirisch, several of the actors who played Jets and Sharks, Marni Nixon, Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris. I was in West Side Story heaven.
Michael’s article has been posted:
It’s up and running now:
Here’s a comment I just left on the Rivoli page:
I was six years old on 10/18/1961. The soundtrack album was played in my house several times a week for years. I was aware that it was playing at the Rivoli and I really wanted to go, but couldn’t find anyone to take me. My Aunt Connie saw it there and told me how great it was. I almost saw it in its exclusive North Jersey run at the Bellevue in Upper Montclair NJ in the summer of 1962 with my older cousin, but that fell through. I had to wait till April 1963 to see it in 35mm at the Route 3 Drive-In in Rutherford NJ, but it was worth the wait. Just two weeks ago I finally saw it in 70mm in Seattle. That too was worth waiting for, even if it took 50 years.
58 weeks at Grauman’s Chinese must be the longest run for one movie at that theater.
Saps: I was six years old on 10/18/1961, so any memories I have will be second-hand. The soundtrack album was played in my house several times a week for years. I was aware that it was playing at the Rivoli and I really wanted to go, but couldn’t find anyone to take me. My Aunt Connie saw it there and told me how great it was. I almost saw it in its exclusive North Jersey run at the Bellevue in Upper Montclair NJ in the summer of 1962 with my older cousin, but that fell through. I had to wait till April 1963 to see it in 35mm at the Route 3 Drive-In in Rutherford NJ, but it was worth the wait. Just two weeks ago I finally saw it in 70mm in Seattle. That too was worth waiting for, even if it took 50 years.
Looks like there are technical problems at CT. The photos at the top of each theater page are gone. Maybe this has something to do with Michael Coate’s West Side Story page not being posted yet?
By the way, today is the day it opened. So, happy 50th birthday, West Side Story.
Vito: I believe the print I saw in Seattle had the Todd-AO sound setup. It sure sounded better than I’d ever heard it, and I’ve seen West Side Story more times than I can count, in theaters and on TV and video. I was hearing instruments I’d never noticed before, and the five different vocal lines in the “Quintet” number before the rumble had never before sounded so clear and distinct. I sure hope this is the soundtrack they used for the upcoming Blu-ray release in November.
It took me a full 50 years, but I finally saw West Side Story in 70mm on 10/7/11 in Seattle, and now I know exactly what Vito is talking about. One of the greatest moviegoing experiences I’ve ever had.