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We can go ahead and mark this one as closed/demolished. The theatres were torn down about a year or so ago.
I’ve finally posted some of the photos I took during last summer’s Los Angeles Conservancy sponsored screening of “Roman Holiday” at the Los Angeles Theatre.
I can’t tell you how many movies I saw here in my youth. While I can understand the economic reasons why drive-ins are closing, it’s still sad to see another part of my personal history be swept under the rug.
I was in Monterey this past weekend, and the theatre was closed and in the process of being gutted. I had a small affinity for this theatre, as it was the place where I trained as a manager back in the 80s, but it’s really not going to be missed by anyone.
I know for a fact that Fritz Lang’s Metropolis played at the Ziegfeld in the late summer of 2002, on a move-over from the Film Forum, because I went to see it twice at the Ziegfeld. The first time, I was simply amazed that Clearview would pick up an old, silent, German movie. From the Film Forum. And I had to see it again, after having seen it at the Forum. The Forum is a good place to see movies, but the experience of seeing Metropolis at the Ziegfeld totally blew the Forum’s presentation away. The second time, I took a friend who was in from Seattle to show him an example of quality cinemagoing in The Big Apple.
Man, I haven’t thought about this place in years. For a while in the late 70s and early 80s, I used to go to the Old Towne for movies. I know I saw many movies there, but the only two I definitely remember seeing at that specific location are 10 and Meteor.
It would be really great for those of us who either no longer live in New York City or have never had the chance to visit this once-great theatre to see some pictures of what is currently happening. Thank you very much in advance.
I guess one could say I was biased, since I managed the competition down the street, but when I was at the Fox Watsonville in the late 1990s, the Galaxy had become a real junkhole. The place was poorly operated, the booth had home stereo equipment jerry-rigged into the sound racks so they could say their films were in Dolby Stereo and the seats were horribly uncomfortable. I only ever saw one movie at the Galaxy, the original Men In Black, sometime during its opening week. (I have no idea to this day why the Fox, with its 50ft main auditorium screen with DTS Digital Sound, did not open the film.) The number one movie in America, on an early Monday evening, and I was the only person in the theatre watching the film.
The Galaxy didn’t die because of the opening of the Green Valley 8, although I am certain it didn’t help. The Galaxy died because no one went there. Why would they, when they had a grand old theatre like the Fox?
On the KSCO website, there is a report from September 2006 which reports the Fox being in escrow, about to sell to a firm owned by Mark Calvano for $2.25M.
Alan Lopez needed to do a little bit more research before publishing his article.
As a teenager in Santa Cruz in the early to mid 1980s who eventually became an assistant manager at the Del Mar in the mid to late 1980s, I can say with a fair degree of certainty that the Del Mar was not a second run theatre during the time I regularly visited or worked there, and was far from being on “hard times” during my watch. I still remember with some fondness and annoyance having to come up with new and exciting ways to trumpet our seemingly never-ending run of “‘Crocodile’ Dundee” in the daily Sentinel newpaper ads, which played first-run at the Del Mar for more than half a year.
UA had their own way of booking their Santa Cruz theatres in the 1980s. The Rio got the expected blockbusters, the Riverfront got the second-level hits, the 41st Avenue Playhouse got the critical and expected award-winners and the Del Mar got the workhorses. (The Aptos Twin was its own conundrum.) It might not have always given the Del Mar the greatest films all of the time, but the theatre wasn’t going for lacking with long first-run plays for films like “Ferris Bueller,” “Star Trek IV” and “Dirty Dancing.”
Now that I live in Los Angeles, I haven’t been to the Del Mar since before the Nick gang took it over. I look forward to checking the old home out in its new splendor.
I’ll take a movie at the Chinese or the Cinerama Dome any day over the Ziegfeld. But in the years I was in New York City, I didn’t have those choices. And, slowly but surely, all my other choices were disappearing. The Baronet and Coronet closed just days after I moved. (Yes, I moved to New York City the weekend before 9/11.) Then the Murray Hill closed, before I ever got to visit. Then the Sutton closed shortly after the one time I saw a film there. Then the Astor Plaza, after many visits. Then the Beekman, just before I moved back to Los Angeles.
Granted, I never got to visit the Roxy or the original State or the Loews or the Palace or any of the other grand palaces. (Nor did I ever get to visit the Bleecker or the original Film Forum.)
Point is, if the Ziegfeld becomes, by default, the best theatre in town… well, you be thankful you still have the Ziegfeld, which clearly has had its problems over the years. I’d hate to think of going back to New York City someday and seeing the best theatre left in town is the Lincoln Square or the E-Walk or the Empire 25.
This was in the Balboa Theatre newsletter sent out last night by Gary Meyer, co-founder of the Landmark chain…
BREAKING NEWS- R.I.P. Galaxy Theatre
It wasn’t my favorite theater but the large screens at the Galaxy offered a pretty good show before the megaplexes opened in SF. The Galaxy was built in 1984 on Van Ness at Sutter. The Regency I & II across the street were among the hottest theaters in town (along with the Northpoint and Coronet). UATC wanted to make a statement with an architecturally interesting building and “state-of-the art” cinemas featuring THX sound and be located in this important location. No major new theaters had opened in San Francisco in years. The theater did well but never spectacularly. But when the Regencys closed, unable to compete against the Metreon and AMC 1000, the corner lost its luster and the Galaxy had a tough time getting movies. They attempted to be an “art cinema” but had to be content with the leftovers. With no marketing person on-site to promote the concept, and a rather programming schizophrenic approach, there was no sense of place.
Rent was very high and the landlord wouldn’t let them close or leave. Finally a deal has been worked out and last night the Galaxy quietly closed. Today’s Movie Guides suggest you call for show times but it just rings. Theatre ghosts don’t answer the phone.
It wasn’t my favorite theatre, either. The one time I went there was for a private screening of The Abyss. The sound and picture were fine, but I much preferred the #1 house at the Kabuki to anything there.
Sorry, SteveBob, but no one is pretending the Ziegfeld is anything more than it is. The last large single-screen cinema left in Manhattan.
I’ll repeat what I said in this comment section back in March of this year:
“So the Ziegfeld isn’t the greatest theatre that ever existed. So what? I’m 37 and most of the greatest theatres that did exist were torn down or mutilated in some way before I was born. Nothing I can do about that. A palace it may not be, but for what’s left in this city, I’ll take the Ziegfeld or the Beekman as many times as I can as long as they’re still here.”
Granted, the Beekman is gone, I’m now 38 and I’ve since moved back to Los Angeles, but the Ziegfeld was still a hell of a place to see a movie.
I’ll repeat what I said in the Ziegfeld’s comments section back in March of this year:
The one and only time I ever made it to the Fox Venice was in late 1985. I had just moved back to Los Angeles to attend college, and I was listening to KROQ, as all teens were required to at the time. So one night, there was a call-in contest to win tickets to a sneak preview of something called “Grunt: The Wrestling Movie” which would be playing the following evening at the Fox Venice. Never one to turn down the chance for a free movie, I called in… and I won. While the movie was pretty bad, the theatre (which also had a video store catering to more independent films in one of store fronts with a common door between the store and the theatre) was inspiring. As I lived and went to school in Long Beach at the time, I did not make many trips to Venice, so it would be years before I ended up driving down Lincoln Boulevard again. By that time, it had become the lousy indoor flea market it is now. Blech.
Well, I’ve seen Rent and The Producers, and both films are extremely entertaining. The Ziegfeld will be a glorious place to experience both.
That’s funny… I live at 84th and Third, and there are a number of places to eat after midnight around here.
Alas, I went by the Beekman last night, on the way to the ImaginAsian Theatre for a screening, and it was sad to see this grand dame already in a state of disrepair. The beautiful box office had already been removed, a plain and ugly metal desk now sitting in its place. The north facing marquee, as seen in several of DaveBazooka’s photos, has already been partially dismantled, so it now reads TH CL. Thankfully, I was on the M15, so I only saw this for about twenty seconds.
Sad. Very sad.
It should also be noted the Bleecker Street helped create the cult of “The Toxic Avenger,” by picking the film up for Saturday midnight screenings when no other theatre (in town or around the country) would touch the film.
The main auditorium featured a fifty foot screen and 500 seats. The two balcony theatres sat 105 and 80 respectively.
Unfortunately, the Fox Theatre was closed on March 28, 2005. An article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel about the closing can be found at View link
I have some older New Yorkers laying about, so I can list some of the movies that played the Sutton on those weeks…
7/8/1967: The Jokers (Michael Winner)
2/24/1968: Charlie Bubbles (Albert Finney)
6/28/1969: The Loves of Isadora (Karel Reisz)
11/11/1975: Hearts of the West (Howard Zieff)
11/18/1975: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Milos Forman) Premiere
11/7/1980: Private Benjamin (Howard Zieff)
11/14/1980: Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese) Premiere
11/16/1990: #1 – Fantasia, #2 – Tune In Tomorrow… (Jon Amiel)
11/21/1990: #1 – Three Men and a Little Lady (Emile Ardolino), #2 – Tune In Tomorrow… (Jon Amiel)
6/21/1991: #1 and #2 – The Rocketeer (Joe Johnston)
9/6/1991: #1 – Doc Hollywood (Michael Caton-Jones), #2 – True Identity (Charles Lane)
9/18/1991: #1 – Doc Hollywood, #2 – The Doctor (Randa Haines)
10/24/1991: #1 – Shattered (Wolfgang Petersen), #2 – Twenty-One (Don Boyd)
11/1/1991: #1 – Year of the Gun (John Frankenheimer), #2 – Iron Maze (Hiroaki Yoshida)
I’ve only been to the Paris once, to see “Amelie” with my wife, but it is one of my favorite theatres. The Paris proves that a theatre need not be massive to be a palace.
In Xan Cassavetes' documentary about LA’s Z Channel cable service from the 1970s and 1980s, there is some news footage from opening day of “Heavens Gate” at the 1, 2, 3. Growing up in Los Angeles, I used to feel cheated that New York City had all these great movie theatres, and get all the best movies first.
When I finally moved to New York City in 2001, I went to the 1, 2, 3 to see “I Am Sam.” While the movie wasn’t all that good, the theatre it played in was horrid. The tiny one, where I couldn’t hear half of the dialogue because the first “Lord of the Rings” movie was playing in the main theatre and the sound was cranked up to 11. The seats were in various states of disrepair, the screen masking atrocious and the aperature plate cut so wrong that part of the movie was playing on the ceiling.
Three and a half years later, I have yet to go back, and I live up the street from the theatre. If this was a great theatre before, I never would have known it in these modern times.
So the Ziegfeld isn’t the greatest theatre that ever existed. So what? I’m 37 and most of the greatest theatres that did exist were torn down or mutilated in some way before I was born. Nothing I can do about that. A palace it may not be, but for what’s left in this city, I’ll take the Ziegfeld or the Beekman as many times as I can as long as they’re still here.
Ah, progress! :(
I am saddened… not so much that the Beekman would be closing (which would very much be a horrible loss to New York cinema), but at my own lack of surprise hearing this announcement. So many older non-megaplex theatres have closed in the past few years here, what’s one more?