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Somebody will tell me if I am wrong, but my understanding is you should never have a screen to look at unless the movie or another image (previews, etc.) are on it. The curtain should remain closed during the overture. That’s more important to me than the amount of light. No blank curtain ever.
From the New York Times:
‘HOLD EVERYTHING’ OPENS NEW THEATRE; Walker and Mayor Mackey of
Philadelphia Speak at Ceremonies in the Hollywood. NEW FILM IS COLORFUL
Based on Musical Comedy of Same Name—Old and New Pictures Show
By MORDAUNT HALL.
Published: April 23, 1930
With brief addresses from Mayor Walker of this city and Mayor Mackey
of Philadelphia, the Warner Brothers' ornamental and wonderfully
comfortable new Hollywood Theatre, at Broadway and Fifty-first
Street, was opened last night.
There were a number of notables in the orchestra seats and they
received an opportunity to study the great strides made in the motion
picture business since the film “The Kiss” was produced some thirty
years ago and also flashes of other old-time films, such as “The
Great Train Robbery.” It was tremendously interesting to observe the
steady improvement in these shadow offerings, particularly when
Giovanni Martinelli appeared eventually on the screen with other
singers rendering in an inspiring fashion an aria from “Aida.”
The feature of the evening was the audible pictorial version of “Hold
Everything,” which aroused many a wave of laughter. The principals in
this ludicrous turns of events are the ever-amusing Joe E. Brown,
whose willingness to take punishment helped in affording no little
merriment; Winnie Lightner, who did so well in the picture “Gold
Diggers of Broadway”; Sally O'Neil; Bert Roach, who does not get
quite the opportunity he deserves; the fair Dorothy Revier, and
Georges Carpentier, who, after seeing Maurice Chevalier, appears to
have been fortunate in making the screen his second vocation, for as
a performer he is at his best when he is in the prize ring and not
when he is discussing sweet nothings with pretty girls.
It is a gusty affair, this “Hold Everything,” with a funny pugilistic
encounter in which Mr. Brown is one of the fighters. The Technicolor
effects in these scenes are especially good, most of them being in focus.
Mr. Brown figures as Gink Schiner, who does not object to being
mistaken for a champion pugilist. He is, however, wary enough to
avoid imbibing the drugged drink!
Mr. Brown as Gink Schiner has his periods of pain, which, of course,
afford pleasure to those in the plush seats. At one juncture he finds
himself in a reducing cabinet and apparently is in great distress
when the lever of the cabinet is jammed. Schiner seems at first to be
trying to expire cheerfully, but subsequently the heat of the cabinet
is too much for him and he becomes exhausted and is unable to keep
his head above the aperture.
Gink’s mouth is likened to a cavern and one is constrained to believe
that this is an apt description. This capacious mouth gives him an
opportunity to express his mirth, his fear and his confidence in the
ring. M. Carpentier may be the real fighter of this production, but
Mr. Brown keeps the fun going to such extent that one would perhaps
sooner see him trying to make the best of a bad bargain in a
pugilistic encounter than gaze upon M. Carpentier’s more serious
The Frenchman has to take on the champion, Bob Morgan, who is
credited with dismissing his opponents in one or two rounds,
according to his wont. Georges Carpentier, to afford suspense, has to
permit Morgan to have the best of the fight for a few minutes, but
finally Carpentier turns the tables on his adversary and rains blows
upon him until the erstwhile champion is groggy.
Dorothy Revier acts the placid and graceful Norine Lloyd, who is in
love with Georges La Verne (M. Carpentier). She wants to give Georges
a present, and as he happens to be the Beau Brummel of prizefighters,
she can’t think of anything more appropriate than a beautiful
bathrobe. Norine does not know that Georges is much interested in the
brunette, Sue Burke, whom he has known since he was a little boy.
Miss Burke is played by Sally O'Neill.
So long as Mr. Brown occupies the screen this picture is funny, but
when it delves into romance the interest wanes. There are some
pleasing songs and Miss Lightner does her share in her own way to
enliven the episodes in which she appears.
HOLD EVERYTHING, with Joe E. Brown, Winnie Lightner, Sally O'Neil,
Dorothy Revier, Georges Carpentier, Bert Roach, Edmund Breese, Jack
Curtis, Tony Stabenau, Lew Harvey and Jimmie Quinn, based on the
musical comedy of the same name, directed by Roy Del Ruth, with music
and lyrics by Ray Henderson and Lew Brown. At the Hollywood Theatre.
These are all true classics and excellent choices!
I see a comment above about Philadelphia’s Boyd, a former 3 strip Cinerama house, being restored. It won’t have the orchestra booths to project Cinerama, but the historic movie palace will survive! www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org
We found some Cinerama sound equipment tossed into old storage space. There was an old, not too exciting Windjammer poster, and I’m not sure if it was tossed. It was on the floor and not too clean. And, a ticket price sign for This is Cinerama, which we have for exhibit of the Boyd’s history.
I have an ad from New York Times for Columbia Pictures 75th Anniversary Film Fetival, with my own note that it played the Dome. This series was more recent than above. On other side, a revie of Message in a Bottle.
Lawrence of Arabia (70mm!)
Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider
It Happened One Night and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Bridge of the River Kwai
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Tootsie
Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind -DTS (Definitive Director’s Cut)
From Here to Eternity and On the Waterfront
To clarify, the true Cinerama screen is gone from the Uptown. However, as I said, the Uptown offers the best possibility for Cinerama in the east coast. LA & Seattle venues are in daily moviehouses, which I doubt the Mayfair-Demille-Embassy 2-3-4 will become again. Cinerama is only presented for a few weeks at most in those W. Coast cities. The Uptown could put the screen back, open up the A & C booths again, bring back projectors & sound. No other daily moviehouse has the infrastructure of 3 booths.
The KB Cinema’s 35-70 mm projectors are at the Loew’s Jersey.
I’ve spoken at length with the projectionist in the Uptown booth. Cinerama requires a special screen. of thin strips if I recall correctly. It has been replaced. The current screen may be Cinerama sized, but that’s different. Of course, putting up a Cinerama screen would be relatively easy in the space that had it before, as opposed to at the Ziegfeld.
Last I knew, Uptown’s best projection over the Friday to Sunday period, with professional projectionist. They were having a controversy over a platter that had arrived- and that’s long after
platters arrived in most other movie theaters.
The sound has some surround from the back, but overall is usually loud enough. I’ve never seen poor projection there or found the sound wasn’t loud enough. The Uptown is a magnificient movie going experience. Restored or new prints, I’ve seen there the 70 mm epics people want at the Ziegfeld: Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur, Dr. Zhivago, 2001, and more. Truly incredible on the huge screen!
The Ziegfeld’s screen probably isn’t small, but somehow it is the original design of the house that makes it look that way. It is almost certainly bigger than the old KB Cinema on Wisconsin Avenue in DC, but that one was set better and always seemed bigger. However, the Ziegfeld is a neat venue because of its decoration. It has excellent sound, but the Astor Plaza had even better.
Mr. O'Connor, that’s great news! I didn’t turn in my white card asking for more films, because I was going to think about it and turn in if I attend later.
I’d like to see the film MASH, having not seen it on the big screen.
And, whereas I’ve already seen the first three James Bond films from the early 1960’s, I would like to see the others from the 1960’s and early 1970’s.
And, like many others on this page, I am a fan of 70 mm and would especially like to see the restored Dr. Zhivago, and the restored Spartacus prints in 70 mm. I would consider seeing many other titles in 70 mm, and expect you will see more mentioned below.
THANK YOU for all your good work. I also want to say that the staff at the Ziegfeld is especially nice to customers.
They read the above comments about the old My Fair Lady print they received, and about our wanting 70 mm prints.
They did use the curtain as I wrote above for The Godfathers. Did they not keep using it for My Fair Lady & West Side Story?
As to commericials, I expect few among us relish them but most will gladly accept them if that’s the price to pay to keep the Ziegfeld open.
Bill, was this additional West Side Story yesterday that you attended? A Valentine Day crowd? Except for the part about people talking, how neat!
I’ve put a few of my own photos from last month here:
I took photos of details like ornate exit signs, small sconces, etc. but would rather post items less likely to walk out of the theater during slow times.
I wasn’t able to photo nicely the ornate chair end. Perhaps somebody else could.
The Uptown in Washington DC still runs movies. Its two side Cinerama booths have been closed, but still exist. It no longer has a Cinerama screen, but one could be put in. That may be the best East Coast possibility for Cinerama.
I don’t know if there’s room for a massive Cinerama screen in the Ziegfeld and as Ed says, projection capacity may or may not be possible.
“Independent films” don’t sound like a recipe for success at the Mayfair. I’d love to see that house (which I haven’t been in) become a theater and host some films, though given NYC prices, it may more likely be demolished for real estate.
Now as to classic films at the Ziegfeld, whatever is available in 70 MM and 35 MM prints is possible and realistic (if enough audience shows up) and that should make all of our hearts warm!
Films! Feburary 16 Rebel without a Cause, on the 17th, Malcolm X, on the 18th, “Looney Tunes” and on the 19th In Cold Blood. See official website for times and more information.
Hollywood Theatre. No need to reply.
I was never there, but wrote a letter to help. From the photos, I found thrilling the marquee and sign. Looks like the sign mostly survived? Does it ever light up?
The marquee and front of the theater, however, no longer resembles its fantastic old self. Does it light up at all? What a shame that for advertising and so people could continue to enjoy them, the fabulous marquee and sign couldn’t have saved. As is, this doesn’t seem enough of a victory for preservationists.
Looking at the interior photos, must have been a terrific place to see a movie.
Sorry, it didn’t reproduce correctly above. The ad doesn’t say what appears in the last line above.
At the bottom of the ad on left it says “AMC Experience the Difference” and on the right it says “Loews Cineplex”
In the Philadelphia Inquirer movie ads today, listed as AMC Loews Cherry 24. And, there’s an ad (5.5" wide, 3" high) that says
Loews to the family!
Combining two respected names nto one.
Experience the Difference Cineplex
On Sunday, a Time Out film critic tried to speak before both The Godfather and Part II, both of which I attended. Each time within a few minutes into his remarks, the audience yelled out that they just wanted the movie, not to hear him! I’ve never seen an audience do that in Philadelphia or elsewhere, but I guess New Yorkers can be tough.
Also, although when he was Clearview District Manager, Joe Masher replied on ths site, I don’t know if anybody from Clearview is reading it. So, I’d encourage anybody with a complaint about film quality to write a letter to Clearview corporate HQ (you can Internet search or ask the Ziegfeld staff)about the quality of My Fair Lady print or any other print problems. Promise them more audience if they advertize “restored” or “new” print. Don’t assume they know anything, maybe they are new managers. They do care about bottom line, so if they think they will get more audience by getting the right print, they may try.
Ed, unless the projectionist did this before, for say one of the major re-releases in recent years, they may not even know.
Do you have an extra copy of the instructions? Bring it to the Ziegfeld. Write a nice, short, simple, legible, note as to the “good old times of movie presentations including overture music” (better to rely on implicit suggestion than telling them how to do their jobs) and give it to an usher in the auditorium or concession area. Ask him or her to please give it to the projectionist in the booth, that it might interest them. And, then, maybe, you will get your wish!
I wrote too fast. The Boyd will be operated after renovations, by Live Nation. It is currently closed.
Jim Rankin is right, THS is a fantastic resource!
Are you really named Tom Lamb?
Please write a wonderful book about your grandfather and the theaters he designed!
In Philadelphia, there are a variety of places to go for information. One website and library is http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/index.cfm
The late Irvin R. Glazer lists in his hardback Philadelphia Theatres A-Z that your great grandfather designed or co-designed the now demolished Fox in downtown Philadelphia and the Trans-Lux newsreel (later altered as Eric’s Place) and a few theaters in the neighborhood. One was the State, a fabulous but gone Art Deco movie palace. The Fox was a very successful and important movie palace, and any book about Lamb’s theaters should mention it.
Downtown Philadelphia’s surviving movie palace, the Boyd (www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org), was not designed by Lamb, but is owned and operated by the same company (now Live Nation) that in the last few years restored and reopened the Hippodrome in Baltimore and what is now known as the Opera House in Baltimore, both by Lamb. They were also operating the Pantages in Toronto. I visited in 2002 the Uptown in Toronoto, before its demolition, which was a tragedy for three people as well as the movie palace.
As to the above wonderful list of 1990’s movies (thanks!) there are many blockbusters and many Oscar winners. I attended some, including the East Coast exclusive of The Thin Red Line which filled the house. Sure, there may be some clunkers, but many great movies. Of course, the best classics of all time are even better, but that doesn’t diminish the experience of enjoying the movies they showed.
As to the Godfathers, they are Paramount releases, and I was under impression that Paramount favored the Astor Plaza.
Jane Eyre, which I saw there, I recall being a moveover from the Paris when it closed for awhile. The Paris ceased being a Pathe operation, then later ceased being a Loews aka Sony house.
The Ziegfeld thrived the best as an exclusive venue for New York runs. It survived with movies opening elsewhere until the two 42nd Street megaplexes. Now it is a wander they get any first runs, but I’m glad they do. Problem is people get in the habit of going to 42nd Street, where the blockbusters start every half hour.
Sony changed the names of the Loews theaters to Sony, then as Sony (of Japan) sold their movie theater chain and new company merged with Cineplex Odeon, the Loews names returned to the theaters.
AMC has said maybe there will be a use for Loews name somewhere.
I’ve seen photos post-fire of the exterior and interior.
Andreco, Joe Masher left for an arthouse circuit in New England.
One thing that is evident is that all the films in the classic series are post 1953, flat and scope, not 1.33.
It would be wonderful to get 70 MM, including the restored Doctor Zhivago along with the 70 MM titles you mention, and others! And, if they wanted to raise the prices for 70 MM to $10, I’m sure many would pay.
I may attend one of the Indiana Jones series, since I’ve saw two on big screens but haven’t seen one of them on a movie screen.
How about a James Bond series?
I’ve been assisting with this matter and having reviewed the reports, disagree. The facade of the Yeadon survives almost completely as Eberson designed it. The interior was primarily a simple Art Deco paint scheme of a rainbow of colors, which would have needed to be repainted anyway. This theater can still be saved!
As to rodents and mold, buildings aren’t demolished for those reasons! Those problems get addressed.
Adrian Fine of the National Trust also believes the building should be saved.
Of course, it is tragic that the building was secured since 2003 with a six foot fence. Gosh, nobody can jump over that to commit arson and damage a building, can they?
I urge you to patronize surviving moviehouses and urge your governments to ensure that closed ones- especially those owned by government, are properly secure.