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Interesting, that small wedge section of seats at the back of the auditorium just where the center aisle forks off to the rear exits. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like that, right on the center line of a theater!
Hi Flynn… The theatre described and depicted on that page is a different, legitimate play house, which was located a couple of blocks away from the AMC Empire, at Broadway between West 40th and 41st Streets. It is not listed on CT because I don’t believe it ever hosted cinematic exhibitions – at least not on a regular basis. There is a page devoted to the old house here on the ibdb.com website.
Could “Caine’s” or “Caines’s” have been a typographical error? It appears the sign within the decorative arch to the right of the main entrance reads “Gane’s.“ Also appears that the exhibitor signed his last name with a "G,” in that trade journal advertisement, though the signature could read “Gane” or “Gaine,” depending on how carefully you scrutinize it. But, however he signed it, I suspect he’d have spelled his name correctly when paying for it to go up in lights on his theatre’s edifice.
All that work, and the place was shuttered a mere 5 years later.
I think the “grand staircase” photo on the right is actually of the Loew’s Capitol and not the Loew’s State, as captioned. Nevertheless, an absorbing read, indeed.
Did they really bridge the two marquees to appear as one, as depicted in the sketch? I’d love to see a photo of that treatment. Also an interesting item in the lower right regarding the reduction of seating at the Roxy Theatre, during renovations for Cinemiracle exhibition.
The practice of selling souvenir programs continued on a fairly widespread basis, as far as I can recall, into the early 1980’s. In fact, even some local theaters (such as the UA Lynbrook and the Century’s Green Acres, in my neck of the woods) sold them at the candy counters. I recall picking up booklets for a number of films, including the original “Star Wars,” “1941,” “Rocky II,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Return of the Jedi,” and “Reds.” I believe I still have a number of these – albeit in pretty worn condition – stored away in a bin somewhere in my basement.
Pretty fascinating read, Tinseltoes. Thanks for the link. It must have been a pretty remarkable time to be in the business of motion picture exhibitions, particularly in the big houses along Broadway. The excitement of new technology, tempered by the terror of television’s increasing drawing power hanging in the air… It is regrettable that architectural splendor was sacrificed in the name of progress and trying to breathe new life into grand old theaters like the Rivoli, but in the end, it was all pounded to dust anyway. All we are left today is the melancholy that comes with looking back and reading vintage articles such as this one.
I wonder what the story was over at the Rivoli Theatre that week, as its name is conspicuously absent from the list of averages given on that page.
That article is from April 2009 and was previously linked in a comment back around that time. Sobering to note the lack of movement on any redevelopment in the last three years! In fact, I think that even the retailers who had occupied the former lobby space on short term leases are now shuttered. I wonder if the property is still in the hands of the same owner!
Sorry, A_Mclean, but the only Gimbels store I remember (besides the one near Herald Square) was the one in Green Acres Shopping Mall, in Valley Stream.
Here is an updated and working version of the DGA link I previously posted on April 25, 2011. From that page, one may now also take a 360 degree virtual tour of the auditorium as well as the projection booth.
Bigjoe59… Read my response from yesterday at 5:42 regarding movies being shown as part of some vaudeville bookings from that period. It might help provide some illumination in your search. While you may be onto something with the Crescent, I think determining if there were permanent projection facilities would be key to having something more definitive.
Oh, and hdtv267… Please don’t leave! Post your information and know that it is appreciated by the vast majority of CT members. Let all the other crap just roll off your back and don’t dignify it with a response. Particularly not with a response of quitting the forum! I really hope you have a change of heart. If not, my best wishes for you!
Bigjoe59… Something to keep in mind is that back in 1909, most motion picture production was of the one- and two-reel variety. Additionally, just a few years earlier, it was not uncommon for many vaudeville companies to include their own exhibition of reels between acts, or as an act unto themselves. This included the companies providing their own projection equipment and screen for the show.
I think a key factor in identifying structures that were purpose built with movies in mind (by your own definition) would be whether or not the builders equipped the theater with its own projection booth and screen. That’s probably going to be a bit more difficult to ascertain than finding out when a given theater first opened and whether it was built from the ground up. It might not be impossible, however. Even in those early days, the combustible nature of nitrate prints was well known, and construction projects that included motion picture exhibition booths would have surely been scrutinized by the municipality for reasons of public safety. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why projection equipment was housed in booths (besides abating the distraction caused by the loud clacking of the apparatus) was to ensure the safety of patrons in the event of a fire.
My wife and sister-in-law visited this theater just a couple of days ago to take the kiddies to see “Madagascar 3.” They report that the auditorium they sat in was quite dirty and overall the theater seems to be running down on the inside, despite the recent of expense of refitting the outdoor vertical sign.
Hey robboehm. Looks like the CT user who posted it, removed the image. I had mentioned on the Henry Miller page that it should be re-posted here. They’ll probably upload it correctly soon enough.
Here’s a porn-era pic that was mistakenly posted to the Henry Miller’s Theatre page.
Hey midnitewriter. Not sure what protocol is, but you should probably contact site administration for such permissions. Several email addresses to contact CT are listed here. I don’t think you’ll have any problems at all.
One of these days, I’ll have to get around to creating an actual listing for the Lyceum. I’ve also seen references to a Plaza Theatre on Merrick Road, that may have been the first purpose-built movie house in Lynbrook.
Here’s a link to a photo of the old Lyceum Hall, that pre-dated the Airdrome. Perhaps this is the very pic that hangs in that hall of St Raymonds Church?
Lynbrook Bagels, diagonally across the street from the former Studio 1, has a pair of flat screen displays in their shop that present a slide-show of images tracing the history of the shop over the years. One of these is a vintage B&W shot looking north on Atlantic Ave that clearly shows the Arcade’s marquee projecting over the sidewalk on the left. I couldn’t stick around long enough to catch the image come around again on the loop, and get a movie title or approximate date. Next time I’m in there, I have to ask the manager if he has an actual copy of that picture, or at least inquire where he found it.
Wally75, if you ever find any of your old pics of the Playhouse, please be sure to post them here (or send them my way and I’ll gladly do it for you)!
Robboehm, here’s a link to a B&W shot of the screen and front of the house from the balcony during the Playhouse’s waning days as a movie house. This link had been erroneously posted on the 8th Street Playhouse page, and I’m surprised it was never re-posted here… until now, that is.
The image is from photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, who took a series of images at several different cinemas, where he locked down a large-format camera at some central point opposite the screen and then opened the shutter for the duration of the movie. The results were quite lovely. I’m sure if you google the photographer’s name, you’ll find a number of these stills floating around the web.
Since there was a balcony in the original, they’ll stack them and likely utilize basement space. I anticipate at least a few of these rooms will be quite small, but I’m hoping the screen sizes remain reasonable.