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I sure wish there was a better image of the artwork on the two side walls by the stage. By time I was going to the Central in the late 60’s, it had been covered over with wallpaper!
Throughout the 1940’s, the Central presented “legit” shows on stage during the summer. That ended in the late 40’s/early 50’s.
I’ve documented every show that played the theater for the first 6 or so years. I had planned to do a tribute website but never got around to it. I suppose I should just post the list here.
I’ve got lots of photos as well. When the theater was being demolished, somebody threw all of the office files into the orchestra pit. My brother and I were in there with boxes saving everything we could. I’ve even got the blueprints for the theater!
The RKO Proctor’s, Paramount and Adam’s Theaters are still standing, but have been closed for MANY years.
Monika: Movies which originally had intermissions had them placed at a certain point by the filmmaker for dramatic purposes. To randomly place an intermission at the end of a reel is sloppy and poor showmanship.
To have a break during NORTH BY NORTHWEST (during the important crop-dusting scene) is outrageous!
It’s wonderful hearing first-hand accounts from people who were actually there.
Thank you very much!
The interior was gutted to the brick walls several years ago. There is no longer a theater to get damaged.
Glad to help out Warren.
By the way, I always enjoy the bits of information that you share, especially since you’re getting the info from documented, original source materials. Fascinating info! Thank you for all the hard work, it is very much appreciated.
That can’t be 1954. The same ad mentions South Pacific, Rio Bravo and Alias Jesse James. It might be from 1959.
I know what you mean Gabe. My proposed Technicolor tribute had input from Martin Scorcese, and an event discussing the history of Technicolor was going to be part of the weekend.
The look of dye-transfer with carbon arc light is truly magnificent, and that’s why I made every effort to include original IB Technicolor prints in my programs. (Even when I presented 16mm shows in the lobby to help save the theater, I ran a Technicolor print of THIS ISLAND EARTH.) When Bob Eberenz and I were restoring the projection booth and film capability to the auditorium, we both agreed that the Jersey should be the prominent area venue for such archival prints as Technicolor, Perspecta stereo, 3-D, etc.
In case you missed it, these are the events which I presented in 35mm:
April 5 – 7 2002 – The first annual comedy weekend includes a Salute to Laurel and Hardy featuring WAY OUT WEST, the East Coast premiere of a newly restored Technicolor trailer to THE ROGUE SONG, and a Hearst Metrotone newsreel not shown in nearly 70 years. Saturday night we present an archival dye-transfer Technicolor print of IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD, complete with overture, intermission and police radio calls. (The lines wrap around Journal Square for this show, and we bring in over 600 admissions!) On Sunday, 4/7, we present the 50th anniversary of the New Jersey premiere of Abbott and Costello’s JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, shown in a pristine archival SuperCineColor print. Members of Costello’s family attend, and rare shorts/cartoons are included in the program.
April 20, 2002: The 90th anniversary of the Titanic includes a screening of the seldom shown A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, and James Cameron’s TITANIC. Special guests include Charles A. Haas & John P. Eaton, authors of Titanic: A Journey through Time; Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy; and Titanic: Destination Disaster. Many rare artifacts are displayed in the lobby.
April 26 & 27, 2002: Our first Science-Fiction weekend includes CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND; a classic double-feature Kiddie Matinee of THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS with DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS – presented in dye-transfer Technicolor. The highlight of the weekend is a pristine print of FORBIDDEN PLANET, shown for the first time since 1956 in its original 3 channel Perspecta Stereophonic Sound. Rare Perspecta shorts include an MGM Symphony and Tom and Jerry cartoon, plus a Perspecta demo film. Special guests include the family of Robert Fine, the man who developed Perspecta for MGM in 1954. Rare posters and collectibles are on display in the lobby, and more lines wrap around the block for this unique event. Over 700 people attend this presentation.
May 3 & 4, 2002: The final event of the first “official” classic film season is a James Bond weekend, with more archival dye-transfer Technicolor prints of GOLDFINGER; ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE and DR. NO. Also, loads of rare trailers, production shorts and TV spots are shown between films.
October 25 & 26, 2002: Our second film season opens with a Halloween Spooktacular Weekend. Horror classics KING KONG and FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN are shown in brand new prints, GHOSTBUSTERS is presented as a Saturday matinee, and HORROR OF DRACULA is screened in yet another rare archival Technicolor print. Rare shorts include BOO MOON and THE GREAT PIGGY BANK ROBBERY.
November 22 – 24, 2002: Great Teams are saluted with brand new restored prints of the Sherlock Holmes classics THE SCARLET CLAW with THE PEARL OF DEATH, courtesy of the UCLA Film Archive. Laurel and Hardy return with BABES IN TOYLAND, the only 16mm print shown while I was involved. (The only available 35mm print was an edited re-issue, and I felt it was more important to present the original un-cut version. Surprisingly, the 16mm looks very good on the big screen with xenon illumination.) The highlight of this weekend is the proclamation by Governor James E. McGreevey of Martin and Lewis Weekend throughout the State of New Jersey. We present an archival Technicolor print of ARTISTS AND MODELS, plus rare Martin and Lewis performance footage in 35mm newsreels and 16mm TV kinescopes.
January 31 – February 1, 2003: Alfred Hitchcock is saluted with PSYCHO, SABOTEUR and yet another archival Technicolor print – THE BIRDS.
February 28 – March 1, 2003: Chivalry returns to Journal Square with MGM’s first CinemaScope feature KNIGHTS OF THE ROUNDTABLE; IVANHOE and another Technicolor print – THE VIKINGS.
March 29 & 30, 2003: The second annual Classic Comedy Weekend includes: SONS OF THE DESERT, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, ROAD TO MOROCCO, THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS (in Technicolor) plus rare shorts including THREE LITTLE BEERS, A-PLUMBING WE WILL GO, BRIDELESS GROOM and MUSH AND MILK.
APRIL 26 & 27, 2003: “The Many Faces of Frankenstein” includes the re-premiere of Thomas Edison’s long-lost 1910 FRANKENSTEIN; Boris Karloff’s 1931 FRANKENSTEIN; the 1958 Hammer classic REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (in Technicolor) and Mel Brooks' YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Shorts include THIRD-DIMENSIONAL MURDER, and ultra-rare 35MM trailers of many Universal Horror Frankenstein classics. This special event was co-sponsored by the Fort Lee Film Commission.
You’ll note that the only weekend which did not include a film in IB was the Titanic anniversary, for obvious reasons.
In total, I presented 11 features in original dye-transfer Technicolor 35mm prints while I was Director of Film Programming.
Yes, there are lots of changes in Atlantic City. Most of the old, grand buildings on the boardwalk are gone.
When I walked through the space earlier this year, the workers were on scaffolds going at the auditoriums decorative plaster with hammers. The scaffolds went up about 15-20 feet high on the south wall.
I’m not optimistic about any kind of restoration…
Thanks Gabe, glad you enjoyed “Dr. Who and the Daleks.” That was a mint 35mm dye-transfer Technicolor/Techniscope print. It certainly looked nice on that 50 foot screen!
The other unusual show of which I’m very proud was the 50th anniversary screening of Abbott and Costello’s “Jack and the Beanstalk.” It was shown 50 years to the day after it’s World Premiere at the Fabian in Paterson, and we had quite a crowd that Sunday afternoon. (I think around 350-400 paid admissions.)
Plus, it was a pristine Super-Cinecolor print from 1952. It’s not often you get to see one of those on the big screen!
When I was Director of Film Programming at the Jersey, I had secured the booking of a mint, 35mm dye-transfer Technicolor print of THE GANG’S ALL HERE. (There’s more than one.) It was to be part of a Technicolor weekend, showcasing archival dye-transfer 35mm prints from various archives and private collectors.
I had also secured Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Vertigo, War of the Worlds, Goldfinger and several other rare features, shorts and trailers. The Technicolor company was interested in sponsoring it.
Alas, it never happened. Sure would have been fun!
They need to check out the northern stairwell to the upper balcony at the Loew’s Jersey. It’s never used and some people have had creepy experiences there. Once, during a late night film shoot, one of the production staff came running down screaming. She had been sitting on one of the steps off the balcony foyer taking a nap, and felt something touch her shoulder.
Willy, the man who worked at the theater from the day it opened to when it closed, was VERY much in favor of the theaters demolition when Hartz Mountain acquired it in the late 1980’s. He even came to City Council meetings and spoke out against saving it. (His memories of the theaters glory days were diminished in the 70’s and 80’s. He was mugged by some thugs in the upper balcony.)
Willie died in the mid-nineties. Perhaps some part of his being still walks that spooky northern corridor…
I would like to see some great vocalists, such as Tony Bennett, Al Martino and Keely Smith. Or some acts from the early days of rock and roll, such as Brenda Lee, Neil Sedaka and Dion. Latin legend Trini Lopez is still cooking and puts on a great show. Big Bands from the forties and doo-wop from the fifties would be wonderful too!
The Batman movie with Adam West was playing in theaters in August, 1966. Wouldn’t that be considered a summer movie release?
Fascinating. Thanks for all the great research Warren, it is very much appreciated!
As I pointed out on April 4, when you adjust inflation into the factor, the 3-D movies of 1953/1954 sold many more tickets.
When you take that into consideration, highest grossing in terms of dollars and cents means nothing.
I have some photographs of Jerry Lewis at the theater, including some great backstage shots. I’ll drop you a note.
I’m pretty sure the interior of the Franklin has been gutted to the brick walls.
Sadly, the original three channel (left, center, right) stereo tracks are now lost. SADIE was one of the first location shoots (Hawaii) to record on three distinct 35mm magnetic tracks.
Several years ago, the Lafayette in Suffern, New York ran the restored print of APES and it looked spectacular. This new print at the Ziegfeld was from a fading dupe negative, and had excessive grain.
It’s funny: I’ve seen reel to reel shows at the Lafayette for the past 5 or 6 years. Never once have I seen a missed changeover in their Big Screen Classics series, and the picture is also focused at the start of each reel. I never have to worry about a bad presentation at that showplace.
Oh yes, they use their curtains at every show too. The Ziegfeld could learn a few lessons from them!
I must correct my comment about the entire staff working that night being friendly. When I approached the manager about the focus problem, he seemed irritated, mis-informed and generally had the attitude that there was nothing they could do about it. All of the blame was on the “old reel to reel method” of presentation.
I can’t tell you how much that annoyed me, but I kept my cool and hoped for the best.
Vito; I also wonder if the missed changeover (coincidentally after the reel when I complained) was done on purpose.
I hate to say this, because I’m a film man through and through. If the APES show I saw is the average quality level of their film presentation, maybe digital would be better? At the very least it would be in focus.
I must say though, the staff working that night (boxoffice, ticket taker and concessions) were extremely cordial. They welcomed me; asked if they could assist, and actually thanked me for attending the theater.
It’s too bad they had such an incompetent boob running the show!
HANNAH MONTANA is the highest grossing 3-D film of all time? Perhaps in 2008 currency, but consider this:
In 1954, HONDO grossed over 4 million dollars – and the average ticket price was 49 cents.
I have a feeling that a few more people saw that 3-D film than HANNAH MONTANA.