Showing 176 - 200 of 541 comments
One of my children had a birthday party to attend this past weekend in nearby Clifton. Knowing the area, I drove down into downtown Passaic to see the outside of The Montauk once again. It’s fascinating. I know a lot of time and money was spent refurbishing Loews Jersey. I cannot help but feel that time would be well spent to rebuild The Montauk.
From the outside, the auditorium must be HUGE. You simply cannot miss this sucker. It stands out brilliantly. As for the neighborhood, my GOD…it’s simply not bad at ALL. There are hardly any vacant stores and the foot traffic was tremendous. Yep, the ethnicity of the people are obviously different from years ago but they come from the same immigrant classes that established and used Passaic as their home 50, 60, 70 years ago. It’s a thriving hispanic enclave. I was completely surprised to see how vital the area was.
I would love to take a look inside the place but from the rather seedy descriptions above, I just don’t think so…
And Rhett: I agree with you 100%. That’s why I find it surprising that no one has grabbed the place yet. Downtown Passaic may be different than it was 40 or 50 years ago but it’s no slum. These are working class hispanics. I’m sure they’d welcome a change to the venue at The Montauk. It’s just not the first thing on their minds….
I find this whole Roadshow concept amazing because it’s completely different from the way movies are marketed today. There is absolutely NO WAY any studio or producer would or will expend the money, time and effort on something like this. The studios now make their HUGE money on the DVD sale. They look at a film’s theatrical release merely as a marketing tool.
Yes, Tim Elliot: those do sound like the good old days when movies in theaters, whether they were actually good or not, were considered worthy of being treated like an event. But what happened? From what I have read and you point out (without meaning to…) the studios simply put out too many EVENT pictures for the general audience to see. And a lot of them (without naming names…) were, quite frankly, turkeys. That combined with the changing tastes in films spelled the rather quick demise of the roadshow concept.
I find it amazing that these films could play in one theater for so long considering that these days if a film plays in a multiplex for a month, it’s considered an unusually long run. Those days are long, long gone. It will never happen again because the studios make ZILCH now on the theatrical run of a film.
Just curious: did these films still manage to get a decent size audience even, say halfway through their long runs? Were the runs extraordinary length a result of audience demand, a contractual agreement or a combination of both?
Recently someone told me about this place and I don’t think there ever was a movie theater in Seaford. I mean, I could be wrong but I used to be in that area all the time and I never saw it. Interesting that someone would build a new theater “down” there but I can understand why. The area is very underserved. A megaplex would do extremely well on the south shore of Nassau county.
Well, the last time I was at Roosevelt Field was in the summer of 2002 and I was appalled at the condition. The parking lots were incredibly littered, they got rid of the neat spouting fountain in the open area outside of where JC Penney’s and Sterns used to be to put in (OH GOD!) a stupid train ride and a useless carousel to get more money, and just the whole place looked tired. This was THE mall in Nassau county back in the 80’s and early 90’s and after the MAJOR renovation, it was truly spectacular. Even in 1998 or so, it was still fantastic. When I worked there in the late 80’s when it was still a single level mall, Roosevelt Field was the standard by which all other malls were compared, usually unfavorably. So, it might’ve improved since 2002 but back then, whoa! It was becoming a trashy dump, IMO.
And that goes double for the theater. I’ve written above about how great it was. But since the multiplex opened where the raceway was, they’ve let the theater go downhill big time.
Go back one “level” on the site I gave above and you’ll get quite a very, very nice website on movie palaces. They have an extremely nice photograph of the interior of the Roxy. For the first time, I really get a sense of how MASSIVE that sucker was.
Check out this nice website:
I hope you can see some of this stuff. There’s a particularly fascinating floor plan of the Roxy. They show everything but they down show the full auditorium. Still, it’s fascinating.
Just one more thing to add: from my office, I can look directly down onto the old Mayfair and see the roof of the auditorium. It looks pretty big. For some reason, this site makes me feel sad. Such a place that was once filled with people. Now a relic. People walking up and down 7th Avenue probably never give a thought on what lies beyond.
Just curious, and I apologize if this has been asked before, but I know where the present marquee is for the Embassy 2,3,4 (aka Mayfair) but what is the marquee just north of it for? Right now it has the ad for the American Girl store and underneath it says “Sage Theater”. Was this ever a movie house?
Also, I’ve read a lot about The Mayfair. It sounds like at one time it was a fairly important theater. From the looks of it on the street now, you’d have a really hard time believing that it ever mattered. When did the present marquee go up? The 60’s or so?
Vincent: I never saw “Nicholas & Alexandria” but I think that “Fiddler” is one of the finest musicals ever made. I’ve only seen it on TV but it’s an under rated masterpiece. I didn’t win Best Picture that year because I think by 1971, the country’s mood had drastically changed and were more than burnt out by the onslaught of musicals that were heaped upon them after “The Sound of Music” and “My Fair Lady”. But I’ve read more than one critical history that claims that “The French Connection’s” win over “Fiddler” that year was a mistake but the Academy was reflecting the changing times and tastes.
Anyway, that’s a major digression. Why was “Fiddler” lousy? Lousy film or presentation at The Rivoli? I understand that it was one of the last Roadshows.
You and I might pay that much for a film in a big theater with a big screen and great sound. But I’m sorry. I see these people buying stacks of DVDs at the Virgin Megastore (ironically the site of the old Loews State) and these people would never do that. There’s no market anymore for films to open in a spectacular way. The reason is not so much that the public wouldn’t go but because the studios have switched their priorities away from the theatrical releases to home entertainment. This is not publicized by the studios but it’s a known fact.
It’s sad for us who remember how special it could be to see an event film in a theater. You and a lot of the others on this site remember even bigger, better times. I only remember the tail end of it. But it’s enough for me to lament it’s passing.
Vincent: you would never, ever in this day and age be able to charge that much ($40) for a film no matter how special, unique or inventive the film or it’s presentation was. Even $6.00 sounds a tad exhorbitant for a movie back in ‘68. My Mother took my older brother to see “The Sound of Music” at The Rivoli but she never told me how much it cost. I would imagine it would’ve been in the $4-$6 dollar range from the information you provide.
“Back Then” I would imagine a film’s theatrical release could still be considered enough of an event to warrant jacking up the admission price. Today a film’s theatrical release is done soley to drum up interest in a films eventual release on DVD. Home Entertainment is where the studios now make the BIG, BIG profits. It’s not in theatrical releases and has not been in over 20 years.
Bill: Thanks so much for the list! And my favorite quote is there!!!!
Vincent: I see your point. I assume you’re saying that the days of the Hall’s holding itself above the ordinary and only booking extraordinary (or merely family oriented) material is long gone. They do show a somewhat eclectic mix (Dora the Explorer, Yanni, Maroon 5). I guess if the price is right, anything goes. This place is now managed (owned?) by the same folks who manage the Garden so I assume their tastes are not exactly high end. But they probably want the most $$$$$.
I don’t know. It’s a mixed blessing at best. We get the Hall to stay open and used (which is good…) but at times it’s used by less than stellar stuff (which is bad…).
Above link should take you to the Libary of Congress site. Type in Studio Theater and then match all the words.
They have two photos of the interior.
Thank you for those wonderful, wonderful photos, Ron!
Those photos could make someone like me cry for the beauty of it.
The studios make absolutely NO money from the theatrical release of films anymore so there’s never going to be buildings like The Beekman" ever again.
Another interesting thing is how completely different the neighborhood is now.
“Talk about selling your soul to the devil.”
Vincent: why do you say that? Ok, so it’s not your kind of music (for the record, it’s not mine either…) but the Hall is being used constantly. I work where I can see the Marquee every day and the sucker is booked every week. Thank God venues are being booked there from Yanni(!!!) to rap/hip-hop to mild rock (Maroon 5). It’s usage is what keeps the place vital.
From IMDB regarding Ms. Granville:
After her marriage to Mr. Wrather in 1947, she appeared in only three more movies. She became an executive in the Wrather Corp., and first Associate, then executive producer of their “Lassie” TV series. After Jack Wrather’s death in 1984, she took over as chairman of the board. She was also involved in many civic, and cultural groups, and she was chair of American Film Institute, and trustee of John F. Kennedy Center, and other well known organizations, and charities. She died of cancer in Santa Monica in 1988. Had four children.
rhett: I agree with you completely. I only saw one film there and while it was not horrible, it stuck in my mind enough that I did not want to go back there. There’s a theater in Washington Township that’s in better shape and shows somewhat of the same “art” programs.
I think if the place had been just a little nicer with better sound (where the HELL was the speaker? Behind the screen? That’s what it sounded like to me…) it would’ve done better. The location certainly wasn’t what held it back.
One other thing that I think really held this theater down. They didn’t have any kind of marquee on the sign on Route 4 telling you what was playing there. I thought this was really dumb. What is it, some kind of absurd Paramus zoning law? I’d drive by it and crane my next quickly to see what was playing there but because the theater was in the back and the sign faced east, it was nearly impossible (not to mention dangerous) to look for it. Very stupid. I know it might not have been the theater’s fault but that didn’t help.
Bill: YES, YES, YES!!!! I realized the EXACT same thing when I saw it on that Saturday night. He could’ve told her what to do OR had her bring the baby to his house. That’s a major plot hole. I love that scene between Moses and Nefritiri (sp?). Here’s Moses and “God-ded” up and stuff (and stiff as a board) and there’s Baxter, all heavy breathing, obviously in heat.
I watched (again…) most of it when ABC aired it on a Saturday night (3/19). Oh, GOD…the campiness of it all!
I have a new favorite HAM scene: it’s when Ramses summons Moses after the final plague (the one where all the first born of Egypt die). So, Moses finally gets what he wants after all: he and his people can leave Egypt. Ramses tells him so.
Now, you’d think, in a realistic sense, that Moses would be at least somewhat humbled and leave quietly, right? I mean the guy’s gotta know that Ramses son is dead. But noooooooooooooo, not Heston’s (or DeMille’s Moses). He goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on rambling about God. At one point, I expected (HELL would’ve LOVED) to see Ramses scream at Moses: “Oh, for God’s sake! I just let you and your people go! So would you PLEASE SHUT THE HELL UP!”
DeMille made films in the sound era. But from his direction, he was still locked in 1925.
BobT: You MUST’VE been a Ziegfeld junky to sit through dreck like “Grease 2” and “Staying Alive” not to mention “Can’t Stop the Music” (you should be cited for your bravery, though).
If you look at the posts above, I too champion The Ziegfeld with much the same arguement that you make: that it may not compare well with the true palaces, it is at least comparable to some of the lesser ones such as The Mayfair/DeMille.
The place is maintained beautifully and it’s a great theater to see an event film.
I went there today (thanks Warren for pointing this out). I felt like a total rube going in there. But whatever.
Boy, it’s tiny, alright. The lobby is actually more interesting looking than the theater itself. Very long and elaborate. Beautiful. I didn’t realize it was even IN the theater until I saw the the dome in the ceiling. It’s the size of some small theaters in multiplexes. I assume there was no balcony.
I did notice that there were doors in the rear of the auditorium that were sealed off. Not unusable, just painted so you felt you should not go in there. Can anyone fathom what they were for? I thought maybe they were for a long gone balcony but I don’t think so.
I think it’s a nice use for the theater. At least it’s not gone.
Movie question: “Stagecoach” is one of my favorite films and it’s heralded as a total classic, which it is. But since Warren notes that it didn’t do well at RCMH, was it considered a box office failure in 1939? That would be a surprise because it’s the movie that effectively launched John Wayne’s career.
Yeah, Paterson’s awesome in a very rough and tumble way. I love driving around the city. Every block, especially around the downtown area, has something unique to look at. And every time my nephews come to the area, they insist we take them to the Great Falls.
Location wise, it’s an ideal town with I-80 so close (but NOT tearing through the heart of it like in other downtowns) and the Main Line train service into NYC.
The Fabian may be too far gone for restoration though. Only time will tell.