Comments from GFeret

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GFeret
GFeret commented about Canuck does NYC old cinema treasure tour! on Jan 4, 2008 at 6:49 am

P.S.: this is a very good, useful thread. Because there’re many around the country (besides Schmadrian) who’ve a yearning to visit NYC with a view to seek out what (if any) old movie palaces remain there (like myself), and could really make good use of insider tips to that end. Thank you!

GFeret
GFeret commented about Wicker Park Theater on Dec 27, 2007 at 10:47 am

Yes indeed – that ‘Fluevog’ store building has every (outward) appearance of once having been a vintage theatre of small-to-medium size, and kept-up nicely too; almost enough of an enticement for me to actually shop there. They probably don’t realize how lucky they are. The street address is just a door or 2 south of the famous ‘Flat Iron Bldg’ there.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Commodore Theatre on Dec 26, 2007 at 10:43 am

SUPERMAN 2(1980) probably was the very last feature THE COMMODORE played, I venture to say. This because the poster for that film remained tacked-up to the doors for no less than a couple yrs after the theatre closed and abandoned.

Features I actually saw here I recall are TIDAL WAVE, DEADLY WEAPONS (w/Chesty Morgan), and THE EXORCIST.

GFeret
GFeret commented about The Official "Kiddie Matinee Stole my Adolescent Brain" Contest on Dec 11, 2007 at 8:59 am

Huh? Yes, any cave would certainly be better than a K. GORDON MURRAY film. The point is, I could tell that even as a kid in the ‘60s, and stayed away from those films in droves, even when the matinee tickets were freebies. There’s nothing more cheap and cheesy a kiddy flick than a KGM release! What in the world have you guys been smoking?

GFeret
GFeret commented about Tiffin Theatre on Dec 7, 2007 at 10:13 am

Dean. H: perhaps I knew Tony, ‘cause I went to Alpine Camera store very frequently late '60s and '70s. Bought a great seamless matte DaLite pull-down movie screen (8 ft?) from them, besides endless rolls of Super8 film. Tony was a little short, maybe wiry, but always amiable and energetic if it’s the same guy.

Valendorfs was there for a long time. I shopped frequently (w/ my parents) @ First Distributors, where you ordered primarily out of catologs I seem to recall. There was a Kresge store on the SW North/Pulaski corner where you got Hires Root Beer ‘on tap’ (The ‘K’ in K-Mart originates from Kresge, don’t ya know mon). But what was the men’s clothier just a coupla doors east of the Tiffin (later they moved the local CPL branch into it)?

I’ll remember to make another post if I observe development on the old Ferndell’s Restaurant site.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Alamo Theater on Dec 6, 2007 at 1:58 pm

ALAMO Theatre photo, somewhat vintage, but clear w/ full vert. sign.

Where? www.olafire.com website, news & photos tab, ‘happier times’ pull-down, arrive @ ‘chicago nostalgia’ photos. Voila!

GFeret
GFeret commented about Tiffin Theatre on Dec 6, 2007 at 1:52 pm

TIFFIN Theatre photo, late ‘50s, albeit it’s in the distance on North Ave.

Where? www.olafire.com website, news & photos tab, ‘happer times’ pull-down, arrive @ ‘chicago nostalgia’ photos. Voila!

P.S.; the COOK BROS. store mentioned in above post is on the north side of North & Grand Aves, whereas the former Helene Curtis exploding factory site I described was on the south side of it.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Lawndale Theater on Dec 5, 2007 at 7:55 am

I rode by it during the summer; it’s boarded-up so there’s no longer a church useage. But it’s obviously also the former theatre (building) that I saw RETURN OF THE FLY at. Up on the Roosevelt Rd side it still had something like an (old) colorful stained-glass emblem or ornamentation. I may be wrong but it appears to predate the church aspect.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Hinsdale Theater on Nov 28, 2007 at 9:15 am

Terrible outcome—I’ll miss this charming old hardtop. Took my kids there many times, even tho we’re NW Chicagoans; my oldest son was fascinated by their pipe organ. Probably saw there MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE (#1).

GFeret
GFeret commented about AMC Showplace Galewood 14 on Nov 13, 2007 at 11:45 am

‘A’ is how I’d rate this new inner-city multi. This place opened for the 4th of July weekend rather unexpectedly, in a location formerly a large railroad yard (the ‘Homer St’ of the address is somewhat imaginary). It’s really off-street, with plenty o' parking. You enter off of the (recently re-built) Central Ave overpass. Needs more landscaping, apparently still in progress.

Been there many times already; just can’t beat their weekend pre-noon discount admission for 1st runs. All screens are large (enough), sound excellent, seats and line-of-sight just fine.

If there be any negative, the picture focus is typical for automated installations. That is, close but not quite 100% accurate or uniform. There’s a little ambient light spilling onto the corners of the screens from exit signs—I think could easily be corrected w/ simple shrouds. Plus a few too many commercials lead-off a showtime (I’d prefer more trailers instead).

Saved the best for last: I lost my car keys in an auditorium, and would you believe they were found and kept at the customer service desk? I had them back in but 2 days. Kudos to Kerasotes, and lucky me I had a hunch where I might’ve lost them.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Tiffin Theatre on Nov 13, 2007 at 9:32 am

NEWS, of sorts, about Pulaski & North Aves (the TIFFIN’s center-of-universe) here: the NorthEast corner of P&N now is demolished! That is, no more Ferndells Restaurant! They were still open for business there (in some form), but a few weeks back.

A few blocks west on North Ave, a Menards is now beginning construction where the old Helene Curtis factory bldg used to be (@ Kostner Ave). Do you remember when that place blew-up in the early ‘60s, shattering all local storefront windows?

GFeret
GFeret commented about Esquire Theatre on Nov 6, 2007 at 10:10 am

Correction re. above post – 70mm STAR WARS here in Chicago area: the EDENS in NorthBrook ran it in 70mm right from the (May ‘77) start. Also they seemed to be the very last house to play it – a total of about a year.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Palace Theater on Oct 16, 2007 at 12:02 pm

Sorry ‘bout this, but I’ve a strong feeling the 'status’ of the PALACE is now squarely under the heading of DEMOLISHED.

Someone (besides me that is) needs to travel by and conduct and official post mortem.

GFeret
GFeret commented about 70mm World Premieres now listed in introductions of New York City movie palaces on Oct 16, 2007 at 10:46 am

On a similar note, I’ve wondered how many, and which, cinemas at one time had true horizontal (‘lazy-8’) VistaVision projectors?

This process enjoyed some popularity in the late ‘50s/early '60s, however I understand it was meant to be a 'taking’ or filming format, not actual projection. That said, it’s been mentioned over the years that a scant few premiere theatres actually projected the large-format ‘horizontal’ prints.

(Understand, this is not 70mm per se). Any ideas?

GFeret
GFeret commented about Tiffin Theatre on May 22, 2007 at 7:28 am

I’m not saying anything new when I tell you the TIFFIN was the mainstay of the North/Pulaski Aves neighborhood—everyone around went there, always a good double-feature. The auditorium ceiling was kind’ve an illuminated ‘dome’, orange-green colored if memory serves. Remember seeing films like PLEASE DON’T EAT THE DAISIES, or KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, or CASINO ROYALE (the Ursula Andress one), or THEY CALL ME TRINITY there. CASINO sticks in my mind for a decidedly odd reason: the projectionist would’ve been a man after my own heart, because he ran it with the framing ‘low’ (potentially trimming head tops) which served to expose Ursula’s nipples at the very frame bottom in some bathtub scene (I kid you not)! My final visit there was late ‘70s for NURSE SHERRI & IN SEARCH OF DRACULA, but the latter title was cancelled because mgmnt said the film had split lengthwise! This once popular venue didn’t adapt well with the changing neighborhood, and I imagine real estate values & heating/AC costs made it necessary to sell off to the laundromat that’s on the site now.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Chicago Theatre on Apr 26, 2007 at 8:17 am

Mentioned once or twice in all the postings is their Screening Room “for the trade only”. Primarily in the 70s I went there on odd invitation—one entered the Chicago not off of State St but from the doors on Benton Pl, the south side of the bldg. At that entrance there’s a bank of elevators that takes one to the upper floors for that screening room; perhaps it was on flr 7 or maybe 11. Titles I saw immediatley before opening were BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY (DeNiro, Voight), and HAUNTING OF JULIA (Keir Dullea, Mia Farrow). I was with a small group of friends standing in the hallway up there when Roger Ebert walks up to us and gives us his strong recommendation to some other film.

On the CHICAGO main floor I remember seeing BARBARELLA on opening there. And all those above wracking their brains trying tom recall the name of the nearby downtown hamburger joints, will you still haven’t got it right. It was WIMPY’S—after the Popeye character.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Old Orchard Theater on Apr 24, 2007 at 11:16 am

In the mid-70s they had a re-release of SOUND OF MUSIC with the strongest (clear and resonant) magnetic (penthouse) soundtrack I’ve ever enjoyed and on a 1st class musical, with uniformly sharp 70mm picture throughout! From then on this installation couldn’t be beat for cinema quality (with one unfortunate sour note, later), proven to me again bringing my young sons on the opening of TITANIC there in more recent times.

On a Friday night late in August of 1981, having just seen CONDORMAN, while walking back to my car in the theatre parking lot off Skokie Blvd there I had my closest encounter ever with lightning.
A blinding ball struck in the middle of the parking lane between me and the theatre, during a thunderstorm of course. I was alone so every once and awhile I have to tell others about it, simply to remind myself.

The sour note was in their final years when I saw MISSION TO MARS (2000?) there, and the magnificent stereo sound system was now little more than an articulate buzz.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Wicker Park Theater on Apr 17, 2007 at 8:18 am

Yes! My (own) Dad does. He grew up in the Bucktown neighborhood, and besides the WEBSTER nearby, he says if he walked south on Milwaukee Ave you got first to the BANNER (right at North/Damen Ave), then this one the WICKER PARK (a few doors past North), then shortly thereafter the ROYAL (running the longest), and before one reached Division St. the PAULINA. All these would be to your left, or East side of street, as you continued down Milwaukee Ave. And at Division/Milwaukee you finished with the CROWN and CHOPIN (which actually still remains in some form for live theatre). So there.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Alex Theater on Feb 27, 2007 at 7:31 am

This bargain venue was a favorite of mine, as apparently it also was for so many others, to the mid-‘60s. (I don’t think it made it to the '80s). Saw there HOUSE OF WAX (what a scare Vincent Price gave this little boy with that icy line “You shouldn’t have done that, my dear”), HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (with Peter Cushing, who I regarded at the time as the British Vincent Price), RODAN, and so many more. I remember the ALEX had some parking lot validation arrangement with the (formerly) nearby Goldblatts store on Madison Ave.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Symphony Space/Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre on Feb 26, 2007 at 7:07 am

Sometime back in the ‘70s my cousin Bill’s wife KAREN FERET was assocaited with the THALIA operation. I was under the impression she was a manager

GFeret
GFeret commented about Cadillac Palace Theatre on Feb 23, 2007 at 10:42 am

Yes, this was the CINERAMA place w/ 3 seperately-boothed projectors operating simultaneosly. “CINERAMA HOLIDAY” was another title, and the panorama effect one got was quite different from 70mm. You could notice a trace of the 2 picture ‘seams’, though they tried to minimize that with aperture plates in the projectors that actually vibrated. Then there was “HOW THE WEST WAS WON” where the director cheated and substituted 70mm-filmed scenes among the true 3-camera scenes (public never noticed), and from that point it was inevitable that the CINERAMA people just went to straight 70mm for their process. Hrrrumph.

A variation on the process called CINEMIRACLE, which the Bismarck also ran, put all 3 projectors into one central booth but re-directed (2 of) the lightbeams w/ mirrors I think (so one person could handle it in one place). Only one title – “WINDJAMMER”, another travelogue derivative. (Whatever became of that film?)

You probably guessed I know this place primarily as the BISMARCK. They used to have a very tall, modern-style, neon sign for the name.
Last film I saw there myself was TORA TORA TORA (1969, probably 70mm blow-up). In its' heyday, this place was obviously quite a classy joint, but for me it lacked the very ornate, romantic quality of other ‘Palaces’. Why it went unused in ‘80s-'90s is peculiar.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Lawndale Theater on Feb 22, 2007 at 6:33 am

Ahhh….RENA (not RENO). Thanks Ken & Bryan. Could never quite put my finger on it before ‘cause this theatre did'nt have a proper AKA for search purposes.

I’m gonna go by it sometime soon.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Oak Theatre on Feb 21, 2007 at 8:13 am

‘House Photographer’ for the OAK Theatre in the ‘70s?!! Did you manage to get “SPERMATOZOA ROSA’ in action?

(More) seriously…how many out there remember the OAK’s illuminated dial-face clock, up above the (emergency) exit just right of the screen? I saw too many movies at that place to enumerate. Took guitar lessons @Melody Music School right next door, too (owner: Joe Guido).

GFeret
GFeret commented about Byrd Theatre on Feb 21, 2007 at 7:35 am

Well then, if the BYRD didn’t change name to RENO, where exactly was THE RENO??? I was sure this was it, and I WAS there, or very near closeby. Somebody please tell me I’m not imagining….THE RENO.

GFeret
GFeret commented about Michael Todd Theatre on Feb 21, 2007 at 7:29 am

Boy, do I remember when MICHAEL TODD road-showed MUTINY—it was films like that one that helped downtown (Chicago) theatres lose their appeal into the late ‘60s. Other klunkers with that dubious credit would be STAR!, SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN, DR. DOOLITTLE (Harrison), GOODBYE MR. CHIPS (O'Toole-Clarke). I could unfortunately go on.

I say these types of things with all wise-cracking fondness