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You’re probably right, saps. The National, as I remember it, didn’t have much of a deep vestibule either, but the kiosks (I think there may have been 2 of them here) were under the broad marquee and I seem to recall them set back as far as possible, so as to be out of the way of pedestrian traffic. I would imagine that theaters would have been compelled to keep those kiosks similarly out of the way so as not to risk injury or a log-jam on the sidewalk.
I remember Times Square was always pretty thick with pedestrians – even in the bad ole days – but just this past weekend, I tried to walk down 42nd Street with my daughter, and the area from the New Amsterdam going west to the mid-block crosswalk was just about impassible! Between the lines for Madame Toussaud’s, patrons existing the theater, tourists stoping for photos in front of Ripley’s Odditorium, and the crowds under the McDonald’s canopy, we could barely stay together, let alone make any headway!
NYer… If it wasn’t the New Amsterdam itself, then it had to be either the Harris or the Liberty. Neither the Cine 42 nor the Empire had an outside vestibule and the Anco’s was rather shallow – not to mention at the end of the block and pretty shabby and not likely to have spared the cost for the kiosk. Thanks for trying to nail it down for me.
No doubt, I recall the kiosks at the big houses along Broadway. My memory falters at recalling which of the 42nd Street theaters employed the kiosks. I don’t think of them as being on the Duece, but now that I am going back to this discussion throughout the day, I’m starting to think that perhaps I do recall them at one or two of the larger theaters on that block. Particularly as those garish billboard-style advertisements that used to trim the theater entrances started to vanish. When I think back on those days, I mostly remember perusing the poster art, display cards and publicity stills that were hung around the outer vestibules as a guide to which particular program of flicks my buddies and I would commit to on any given day. Whereas, on Broadway and Seventh Avenue, you could actually watch the trailers from the sidewalk. Again, those memories are rather hazy, and my attention at the time lacked a certain amount of focus. I happily defer to your recollections.
I don’t remember them on 42nd St at all. Hmmm… perhaps one of the houses with a larger open-air vestibule, like the New Amsterdam, Harris, Lyric or Selwyn? Maybe the Liberty. The others I recall as having very shallow outer vestibules – if having one at all. The initial release of “It’s Alive” was a few years before my time on the Duece, so, perhaps the kiosk concept was ditched afterwards?
Was this one of the theaters that used to play trailers for current and coming attractions on video kiosks under the canopy to attract passersby? I know at least one theater along Broadway did this, probably several of them. Perhaps the State and/or Criterion? My memories are a bit foggy.
Yep. My mistake, Al. So much new construction in the area, and so little character and identity to distinguish one tower from the next.
Are we sure this theater was demolished? The street view above is off the mark, but if you swing it around 180 degrees and click your way south along Pilgrim Ave until you get to the intersection of Buhre Ave, the building on the far left corner (the south east corner of Buhre and Pilgrim Aves) looks very much like the old theater as depicted in Lost Memory’s photo, posted on July 1, 2008. That vintage image peers down Pilgrim Ave from the opposite direction, at the corner of Westchester Ave.
I never went to the National, but I must not have been in my right mind when I was visiting the Loew’s State, the Rivoli or any of the 42nd Street grind houses, as I frequently did in the 1980’s. Things were definitely colorful back in those days, but I came out of all my local moviegoing experiences relatively unscathed.
I’ll give you a factual error… The street view, above, points to the wrong side of 42nd Street. Swing that view around to the left to see the old American Theatre site, where the new NY Times tower has been constructed and now adjacent to the relocated shell of the Empire Theatre. The introductory comments should also be updated to reflect that the northern half of the Times building now stands on the site of the American.
If it’s in conjunction with the bluray release, moviebuff82, you can bet your house that it’ll be a digital presentation.
Hey moviebuff82… The landmark installation of “Williamsburg: the Portrait of a Patriot,” which has been shown daily to vistors at Colonial Williamsburg, VA, for the past 55 years, was actually shot on horizontal 35mm VistaVision. It was eventually printed on 70mm film when the original negative was restored in the early 2000’s.
Always amazes me that people in New York actually go to a place like Olvie Garden. You can get superior Italian food from the kitchen of your local pizzeria, in these parts! I can understand in Manhattan, around Times Square, say, where you have a lot of tourists looking for something familiar and predictable… but in the local neighborhoods? Anyway, whatever greatness this theater once had was greatly diminished when this was triplexed – and later completely obliterated when it was gutted for mutli-plexing. Turning it into an ersatz ristorante can’t possibly do any more damage to the long-deceased Century’s Green Acres Theatre.
Actually, Tinseltoes… I believe that this is a photo of the Tribune Theatre, which was located closer to the Brooklyn Bridge entrance, in a block of buildings that no longer exist.
Appears to be a blank marquee. I wouldn’t be surprised if this theater was dark for stretches during the Depression.
I’m trying to recall now, if this is the theatre where one could exit past a window that looked onto the projection equipment, giving patrons an appreciative glimpse into how massive the platter of IMAX film actually was. I may be thinking of the Lincoln Square IMAX in Manhattan (where you are made to exit the auditorium by climbing up the stairs to the back of the house). Whichever theater, I seem to recall seeing how the platter was mechanically lifted off the spindle to be rewound or replaced with a different film. The memory is a bit hazy.
One funny little bit of personal coincidence… the Street View above shows that Cher was the star performer appearing at the casino at the time of the image. I believe Cher was also the headliner at the Circus Maximus when I went to the OmniMax back in August, 1980 (with comedian Freddy Roman opening, if memory serves). I need to find my photos of that trip to be certain of that.
Fred1, your comment is barely in English! Sorry, couldn’t resist…
I remember seeing my very first IMAX film (or proto-IMAX, if that’s more accurate) here at the OmniMax in August of 1980. I think the film was about the eruption of Mount St. Helens – could that be? I believe the eruption was only a few months earlier in 1980, so, unless that short film was rushed into release, I might be mistaken. I know I still have my tickets for the show buried somewhere in my basement. If I can find them and get a good scan, I’ll upload an image here.
I always think back to the OmniMax presentation whenever I see an IMAX film today. Even when I go to purpose-built IMAX rooms, like the one at the AMC Lincoln Square Theater in NYC, I still remember how the OmniMax screen stretched up and partially over the audience with the curvature of the dome. The only other immersive cinematic experience I can relate the OmniMax presentation with, would be the 360 degree “O Canada” presentation I saw at Epcot Center, also back in the early ‘80’s.
Wow! I love this triple feature! Three of my favorite horror flicks from childhood!!! Have to join this group on FB. Great ad!
Good question. A cursory review of NYC records doesn’t reveal much. The oldest viewable document online is a temporary C of O issued in October of 1964, not too long after the building was converted into a cinema. A list of prior actions on the property show a variety of building notices that reach all the way back to some “unsafe building” notices in 1905 and 1909. There’s another notice dated in 1915 and then activity picks up once again in the late 1920’s and throughout the following decades. But nothing prior to the 1964 C of O’s is viewable, so its impossible to know what those documents might reveal.
Assuming the comments near the “top” of this listing are correct that the cinema was previously a turn-of-the-century firehouse, it’s interesting that it would have been labeled as unsafe as early as 1905! Of course, one must keep in mind that the NYC DOB records from that period are very sketchy, and it is not uncommon to find documents filed under the wrong property binder.
That’s along the line I was thinking, CSWalczak. I just wonder, with movies now being stored as digital files, rectification might be something that could be virtually replicated. Of course, there are probably a very select number of screens in the world that would require such work to be done – no matter how easily completed the manipulation of data would be. Apart from the three extant Cinerama facilities, are there any deeply curved screens left on the planet?
So, Ultra-Panavision, meaning a rectified image for the curvature of the screen?
Ugh! That is awful! And with the summer tourist season coming up? I always hoped to get back up there and actually catch a flick. As long as it’s still standing, I suppose there is hope.
That’s really stretching my memory muscles more than they can flex… But I would have to say that there probably was a VHS release after the theatrical runs were completed back in the mid ‘80’s. I saw very good prints of “Rear Window,” “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and “Vertigo” in theaters at the time, and I also caught cable TV broadcasts of “Rope” and “The Trouble with Harry” shortly thereafter. I recall that they looked to be in very good shape.
The restoration job on “Vertigo,” of course, was a revelation.
Most of my knowledge comes from nearly 8 years trolling this site and doing research for some of the theaters I added here. I actually did add the listing for the Eros 2, another of Chelly Wilson’s porn houses that later became known as the Venus. I don’t recall ever seeing a mention of a Denise at the Gaiety while I was looking at old articles to dig up info on the Eros 2, but that research was completed a few years back, so I might have run across something and just forgot it!
I never frequented any porn houses (gay or otherwise), but I was a steady patron of the big theaters along Broadway and the grind houses on 42nd Street for a number of years in the late ‘70’s into the early '80’s, and have always held a fascination for the area as it was in those days.
Anyway, all of Chelly’s theaters are listed on CT and any thing of note that I might have learned would surely be posted on those pages:
This theater should be listed as “demolished.” The building that contained both the Garrick Cinema and the Cafe Au Go Go (as well as the old residence hotel on the corner of Thompson) were demolished to make way for a new mid-rise apartment building with a Capital One Bank branch at ground level. The street view above is pointed towards the wrong corner of Bleecker and Thompson Streets. Swing it around 180 degrees to the left to view the current state of the theater’s former location.