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Correction: They are no longer involved with the Neiman Marcus Group.
General Cinema sold the Pepsi operations long before they went bankrupt. The proceeds of the Pepsi sale is what they used to buy Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. They had been in the restaurant business back in the 60s, owning Richards Drive-In, Peter Pan Snack Shops and Amy Joy Donut shops (Amy Joy is Richard A. Smith’s daughter). They also had the food operations in the various bowling alleys that they owned. Today, all they (the Smith family) are involved in is the Nieman Marcus-Bergdorf Goodman stores and a small asset management firm.
The Boneyard has an outdoor dining area under the marquee in the front, and the main entrance is now on the west side of the building near the back. This was probably done because there is plentiful parking in that area. The front parking was kind of limited.
Mr. Pipe – Mr. Bispeck, the DM in Baltimore, was previously the manager at the Parmatown Cinema in Cleveland, he left us in the summer of 1972. His first office there in Baltimore was at the Security Sq. Cinema, then shortly after moved over to Columbia City.
The entrance can be seen here
The actress' name is pronounced the same as the city in Texas. The street in NYC is pronounced HOW-ston St.
What year was the name changed from Sunrise Cinema to Galleria Cinema? I know it was changed to correspond with the name change of the shopping center, but don’t know the year.
I’m sure Jeans Funny House was across the street in the 50s as you remember. It was probably where they built that Investment Plaza office building in the late 60s – then they moved across the street, a few doors north of the Roxy. I used to go in there in 1970,71,72,73. Jeans bit the dust permanently in 1977, along with the Roxy, the Embassy, Stouffers, Bonds and the rest of the block to make way for the National City Center.
There are photos on the NWS website, click the link in the introduction above. It’s an interesting design, but places like this, particularly those that I’ve been in before, always look to me as though they were renovating and ran out of money before the ceiling, wall coverings and carpet were installed.
While I have been and will continue to be highly critical of C/O and the Grand Pooh-bah, THIS was their best theatre in Manhattan. Well laid out and well decorated – and the obnoxious pink neon was kept to a minimum, I always liked this one. Unfortunately they built it in the wrong place.
Yes, I would imagine the interior of the building had been gutted and rebuilt with each change of use.
Warren, I think the Philipp/Bandbox Theatre, Chatham/Manufacturers Bank and Sutton Theatre are all the same building. The photo in your post of 5/5/08 of the Bandbox has certain similarities to the Sutton theatre that we are all familiar with. The cornice line seems to be the same height, and the alley-way on the east side of the building is there. I think the bank applied the facade with the columns that we are familiar with, a look common to banks of that era. When converted back to a theatre the marquee was added, the street-level store-front modified and the second floor windows closed. What do you think?
BTW, Abe Geller is rolling in his grave, as is Donald Rugoff.
The blue tile area and the columns above the windows have been covered over with stucco. The six tall, narrow tile panels separated by the columns rising to the roof gave the illusion of height, making the building appear taller than it really is. As it is now, the wide, unbroken stucco surface makes it look like a short, fat white box, completely destroying its original sleek look. I wouldn’t be surprised to soon see an ad reading “Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco” painted on the blank stucco, similar to those ads painted on the side of old barns adjacent to I-75 in Tennessee.
Phil Smith of Boston, mentioned in the previous post, was the founder of Midwest Drive-In Co. and Smith Management Co., predecessor companies of General Cinema Corp. Smith opened his first 2 drive-ins in 1938 in Cleveland and Detroit and then concentrated efforts on development of more drive-ins. They retained several indoor theatres that they were already operating, but abandoned development of more indoors until about 1951 when they developed the suburban shopping center cinema concept.
Geller was the architect of record – his name was on the plans. Schlanger was a consultant. Mr. Geller was well-versed in the International Style, having designed office buildings and other structures prior to his being contracted to design the Cinema I Cinema II. He consulted with Mr. Schlanger regarding the technical aspects unique to a theatre, i.e. sightlines, acoustics, seating arrangements, equipment, etc.
I’m sure someone collects them and sells them on eBay…. you can find just about anything there.
I was there snooping around a while back, and I could see that at one time there was a 2-story structure in the empty space behind that facade, marks from the tar roof on the adjoining windowless walls were evident. An auditorium could have fit in the parking lot in the rear and on the site of that 1960s-style post office behind the parking lot.
The link below (from my post of 03/14/2005) shows the remains of the theatre I have been referring to, scroll to the bottom of the page to the group of 4 pictures. That website, forgotten-ny.com, mis-identified it.
OK, apparently this theatre I posted is not the Square Theatre. The place I have been referring to was in the 3-story building in the next block, visible beyond the Square marquee in Lost’s photo, in the center of the building under that gable part of the roof. It explains the previous confusion over the address. Do any old-time Bronx boys or girls remember what the theatre at 49 Westchester Sq. was called?
Al, wouldn’t you say that his ‘spending undue expense’ prevented those resources from being available to maintain the facilities that they already built or renovated? For example, wouldn’t the money they threw away on the Rialto, a theatre that even the porno operators didn’t want anymore and only lasted a couple years under CO, would have been better spent fixing the air conditioning at the B/C, or the escalator, or the roof? There were many Rialto’s that shouldn’t have been bothered with that caused the deterioration of many viable theatres like the B/C due to lack of resources.
Having worked at an art house myself, I know that a New York art house crowd is VERY temperamental, they get annoyed at the least little thing. But it really is distracting in small auditoriums like these to have people wandering around in the aisle, their eyes not yet adjusted to the dark, hunting for seats, particularly if the film is subtitled and someone already seated has their view blocked, even momentarily. An independent operator can set up common sense policies like this easier than a chain theatre, where every letter or phone call to the public relations dept. causes them to go apoplectic.
Considered that they have acquired the property under the building, and the statements from their web site in my previous post, I’d say the odds of it surviving another 5 years are slim. They announced 2 years ago they were going to convert it to retail – they got rid of the artwork and trashed the exterior facade in an attempt to prevent it from being landmarked.
No I didn’t work for them, thanks be to God, but I was as close to them as you can get without working for them.
But you now make my point: he ignored the economic realities of the business by spending too much money (on the wrong things)and keeping too many single screens.
“…the guy that new the bsns and cared for theaters….”
um, ok then – I guess that explains why they are such a vibrant, successful company today, right? Oh, and weren’t they listed in the most recent edition of the Fortune 500?
Sorry for the sarcasm, but I’m surprised you say that. Although I don’t know who you are, you have mentioned on other CT pages different people you know or worked for in NY. Several were people who actually did know the business and care for the theatres, but they also understood the economic realities of the business, something that His Arrogance The Grand Pooh-Bah never grasped. This guy was not anywhere near their league.
The decline of the Plaza began when that company from north of the border inflicted themselves on the New York market in about ‘86. They took over the combined RKO, Century and Cinema 5 (and later Walter Reade) theatre groups and totally ignored the established Manhattan booking patterns. One of their more stellar booking decisions they made for the Plaza was 'License to Drive’. His Arrogance, The Grand Pooh-Bah and all-around Mr. Know-It-All publicly stated that he was going to show the established NY area theatre circuits how to run theatres, and then proceeded to run the theatres he bought and built directly into the ground.