Comments from ChasSmith

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ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Mann Festival Theater on Dec 2, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable, to any of us who knew and cherished Westwood Village in (in my case) the 1970s and 1980s. That this kind of area in any decent city, let alone one on the scale of L.A., could see this kind of change so rapidly, is shocking to those of us who have been away for some years. It’s unimaginable.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Raging fire destroys Historic Central Texas Theater in Hamilton on Dec 2, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Seconded. I’m from CT, and just taking a glance at the few photos available here takes me back to many wonderful memories of similar theaters I took for granted.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Requesting Intervention on behalf of The SENATOR Theatre on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Same. All best wishes to the Senator.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Galleria Cinemas on Oct 19, 2009 at 7:38 am

Great information, everyone. Appreciate it. I know it’s a long shot, but I hope to eventually find mid-60s photos of the place.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Cinema Paradiso on Oct 19, 2009 at 7:22 am

In the early 1960s we lived within walking distance when this was the First Methodist Church. I had good friends who were members, and as a young organist at that time, I substituted there one week, enjoying playing on the church’s Allen organ. I have very warm memories of that neighborhood overall, most especially the easy walking distance between home and the then-existing Florida and Warnor theaters and the then-lively and traditional downtown.

I haven’t been to the Cinema Paradiso, but an article about the film festival caught my attention and normally I’d certainly look forward to checking it out next time I’m in South Florida. What a disappointment, then, to read the above description of the state of things. Has there been any improvement in the past year?

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Esquire Theatre on Sep 30, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Interesting! I’ve also wondered if the Bexley might have been the one to have had it in that part of town. I think that about covers the possibilities.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Davie Boulevard Drive-In on Sep 30, 2009 at 11:28 am

Here’s an ad from late November 1963:
View link

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Davie Boulevard Drive-In on Sep 30, 2009 at 9:05 am

A couple of corrections can be made here:

The name was Davie Boulevard Drive-In, and it was in Fort Lauderdale, not Davie. An early-1960s city directory listed it at 3200 Davie Blvd. — not 3100 — which looks correct on the maps and agrees with my own knowledge of the large block it took up. It was replaced by the shopping center seen there now.

We lived about five minutes away, and I have a number of very nice memories of attending this neighborhood drive-in, both with my family and on my own dates, in the early-mid-1960s.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Esquire Theatre on Sep 29, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Was the Esquire operating through the 1950s/1960s?

Is there any chance that it ran Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” on its first release in 1959?

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Galleria Cinemas on Sep 29, 2009 at 6:38 am

Thanks. I have no idea why I thought the layout was different. I visited Fort Lauderdale in 2000 and when I drove by there I had no sense whatever, even from outside, that this was the place I remembered.

I’m looking at a straight-down view on Bing Maps, which must be a few years old because the buildings are still there. (Unfortunately, the bird’s eye views are up to date.) There are two slightly fan-shaped movie auditoriums, with two other buildings in front of them, with what might be an open walkway between them. Was that retail space, or did they add more theaters at one point? What are we actually seeing here?

View link

http://tinyurl.com/yduey4y

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Galleria Cinemas on Sep 28, 2009 at 7:00 pm

We lived in Fort Lauderdale during the 1960s and I’ve been trying to find the twin that I always remembered as the “Sunrise Cinemas”. I guess I’ve found it, but I admit to some confusion. It’s described here as originally being a back-to-back, and, oddly enough, I’d remembered it as a side-to-side layout, with the seats of both theaters facing north.

The theaters I remember, which were indeed new in the mid-1960s, were of a very clean, modern design with no curtains or other traditional details, and the screens themselves were set back, framed within bevelled walls that were painted light like the screen. In my mind’s eye, those were lit by a soft blue light before and after films. It was spare and modern, but attractive and comfortable.

I’m probably not describing this well, and of course the memories are 45 years old, so I will very much appreciate it if anyone can confirm or correct any of this.

Here are films I think I saw there as a teen, some new and others obviously in re-release: “Blowup”, “Heavens Above” (Peter Sellers), “Psycho”, “Dr. Zhivago”, “West Side Story”, “How the West Was Won” (flat, of course). I left Fort Lauderdale for school in the fall of 1967, so all of this would have been in 1964-1967.

I’ll be very grateful for any help on this. Show me where I’m right and where I’m wrong. Thanks!

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Leo S. Bing Theater on Sep 1, 2009 at 10:54 am

Thank you all for the links. The good news certainly didn’t travel as fast as the bad, that’s for sure. But what a relief. For now.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Grauman's Chinese for sale on Aug 12, 2009 at 8:56 am

“Seismic shifts” = a barely adequate description.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about "MAD, MAD WORLD" screening at Cinerama Dome on Aug 7, 2009 at 12:38 pm

How I’d love to be there for this!

I was about 14 when my folks took us to the road show engagement in Miami Beach, and of all the footage later to be cut, for some reason I always remembered the scene in which Spencer Tracy goes out for his ice cream and telephones the police station from the ice cream parlor. Later, I used to wonder why I never saw this scene again, till a few years back when I got around to acquiring the deluxe laserdisc set which I believe contains this same “most complete print”. (This cut has yet to see the light of day on DVD.)

Enjoy, you lucky ones!

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Mann Festival Theater on Aug 3, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Oh man, some scary news to be found here about Mann. Simply unimaginable.

Meanwhile, on the subject of the UA THEATRE, as I knew it in the 1970s, I’d like to add my remembrance of “1984”, as well as (I think): the Herzog/Kinski “Nosferatu”, “High Anxiety”, and “Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother”. There were surely more, but some of them stick in your mind and others don’t. And I definitely remember the balcony, and appreciative full houses for the Brooks and Wilder.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Cinema Treasures adds its 25,000th theater on Jul 1, 2009 at 6:02 am

Congratulations! Definitely one of the most valuable web sites.

And I must echo those who say PLEASE do something about the picture library. We’re having to rely on people providing them off-site, and so many of those links become obsolete in time.

Thanks, and keep up the incredible work!

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Vine Theatre on Jun 25, 2009 at 8:43 am

Update on the relocated Laserium:

View link

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Hayworth Theatre on Jun 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm

(That last comment refers to a much more recent picture posted above, not the 1982/83 ones.)

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Hayworth Theatre on Jun 21, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Oh man, thank you for those 1982/83 photos! I’d been trying to dredge up my own vague memories of the look of the place, and those are a life-saver. Thanks, too, for the reminder about the stills painted on the walls!

The years I most attended the Vagabond were 1975-79, and I wish I’d gone way more than I did. Like others have said, I remember it as “the” premier revival house in terms of print and projection standards. In particular, I remember a “North by Northwest” that blew my friends and me away. I also recall thinking it had the most uncomfortable seats anywhere. Sadly, I never went next door to eat in La Fonda.

I didn’t have a car in those years, so the bus was my usual transportation. I remember coming out of the Vagabond late at night and waiting for it, while enjoying what seemed a dignified old neighborhood. With the obvious exception of MacArthur Park and points east, I felt no sense of danger at all there.

While I’m happy to learn that the place was preserved and is now a live theater, at least, the shocking/sad thing about those photos is what looks like a totally empty block to the west. Hate that.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Lafayette Theatre on May 21, 2009 at 8:13 am

I live in Danbury, Connecticut. In spite of being well over an hour away from Suffern, I was a frequent attendee at the Saturday morning showings and the fabulous fall horror and sci-fi festivals. What a shock it was to hear that BSC was moving its operations, and what an incredible loss for the Lafayette and for all who love film AND the Lafayette. But I see I’m late to the party. What can I say that everyone else here hasn’t already covered?

I just wish I’d thought to check here a couple of months ago. At least then I would have learned that SOME classics were being shown at the Lafayette after Big Screen Classics moved. It is mindboggling to me that there was no announcement or mailing to people already on the list; and further, that there is little or no web presence or other advertising, that I can see, promoting the Lafayette as it should be promoted. This is incredibly disheartening.

So… What can we do to help change things for the better?

Would I drive such a long distance to see a first-run film? I’ll think about this and try to make it happen. Everything would have to fall into place for the occasion to be right. It would have to be something I’m really excited about seeing. Goes without saying.

As for the new venue for Big Screen Classics…others have already spoken for me with regard to the awkwardness of the location and (sorry!) the less desirable theater, and of the Wednesday nights in particular. I’m very sorry to say I didn’t make any of them this time around, but I WILL do better in the future.

Nelson and Pete, thank you so much for everything! More later.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Remembering Cinerama (Part 22: Detroit) on May 18, 2009 at 9:07 am

My apologies if that url isn’t working.
Try it this way:

http://tinyurl.com/pgaank

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Remembering Cinerama (Part 22: Detroit) on May 18, 2009 at 8:58 am

This weekend I was going through some old papers. When I unearthed a newspaper clipping (unrelated to anything here) that I’d kept around, I just about fell off my chair when I saw what was included on it, perfectly preserved:

http://home.comcast.net/~chasmith7/theaters/2001 at Summit.pdf

I was spending the summers of 1968 and 1969 in nearby Rochester. In 1968 I had just recently seen “2001” in Cleveland, and one evening I dragged some friends into Detroit for their first shot at it. I wish I could conjure up more than the vaguest memories of the theater itself! I remember we were seated in the balcony, but that’s about it.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about My career as a movie theater manager on May 14, 2009 at 8:54 pm

When were you at the Warner in Beverly Hills? Stories, please! Thanks!

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Bexley Theater on Mar 3, 2009 at 8:19 pm

We lived in neighboring Whitehall during the 1950s, then briefly in Bexley, so we were constantly driving past the Bexley Theater on Main Street. As moviegoers we primarily went to drive-ins in those days. The one time I was taken to the Bexley as a child was for my first “Fantasia”. According to release dates found on IMDB, that would have been the 1956 re-release.

I remember very little of that, except for a few impressions of the film and a vague mental image of the theater interior rather austere. However, it came as a complete surprise to read here that it was always a twin. All these years, I hadn’t known or remembered that.

As a side note, I’ve tried to figure out where we kids were taken to see Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” on its first run in 1959. Can anyone say if that one played the Bexley?

ChasSmith
ChasSmith commented about Federal Drive-In on Mar 3, 2009 at 7:56 pm

A popular movie destination for my family (then later, for me and my girlfriend) during the 1960s. Personal favorites were Poe/Corman films (“House of Usher”, “Pit and the Pendulum”), other AIP titles (“Master of the World”), and plenty of mainstream family fare such as comedies of the Doris Day and Jerry Lewis variety.