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Since it opened on December 27, 1932 and screened its first film on January 11, 1933 (exactly two weeks and one day later) I am going to guess that movies were part of the plan from the beginning.
I saw a movie here the other day while visiting nearby Ogunquit, Maine, and it is even more beautiful in person. The auditorium is lovely, and there is a thick red curtain and valence covering the screen before the show. I expected it to open vertically when the show started, but was delighted to see that it rose up instead, with a big screen in the middle of the proscenium and the valence in place. A welcome and classy presentation.
In addition to the beauty of the auditorium, the downstairs bar/lobby is like a vintage nightclub, all rich dark blues with discrete lighting and a hide-away vibe. Must be a great place to have private parties.
And the upstairs lobby with the concession stand and entrances to the auditorium has a classic yet historic feel of a movie palace lobby, but one built before the boom of the 1920’s, with lots of wood and muted tones.
All in all, well worth a visit if you are anywhere near the area. Plus the bustling former shipping center that is Portsmouth has lots to do and see (and eat and drink) so my short stay there left me very satisfied.
Just came from a few days at Ogunquit and made a special trip to this drive-in, and I am very pleased to report that the digital projection is effin' awesome!
This has to be the clearest and brightest drive-in presentation that I have seen in decades. It had the quality of a high-end hardtop. The screen is white and in great shape, with no noticeable flaws, and the sound was crisp and static-free.
X-Men looked sensational, even in the dark scenes, and the glossy Other Woman was as shiny as a new penny. (The movie itself was dreadful, but it sure looked swell on the big screen!)
This is how it should be done. Showmanship and professionalism it its best. Kudos to all involved.
Theater’s open for the season; have the digital projectors been installed?
It’s a cock-up. They tried to install the recliners but it turns out the space is four inches too short, so the leather seats are installed but they don’t recline.
Sounds OK, and the seats are wide enough and soft enough, but they are not long enough to support your legs; I felt like I was perched the entire time and could not get into a comfortable position. I couldn’t even brace myself on the seat in front of me, because it is spaced so far away in anticipation of the recliners.
They also don’t rock, because they are not designed as rockers. They’re a hybrid that misses the mark.
And there is no “under the seat” area, because the non-reclining part of the seat goes all the way down to the floor. Jeez!
I sure hope they replace the seat parts with proper-sized seats. The ironic thing is they spent all that money to make the guests more comfortable and achieved the opposite result.
And one more thing — when the Fantasy re-opened, AMC’s web page said now featuring recline seats, with a photo; that bit of false advertising is now gone.
Babylon auditorium photo mentioned above now posted in photos.
Maybe you saw a dvd made from a bad public domain print, Joe?
According to TCM.com — “All the delays and extravagances sent Bird of Paradise far over budget. It had been budgeted at $450,000 and ended up costing at least $725,000. Though the film performed well at the box office, it did not make back its cost.”
That was an astronomical cost in 1932, and I would be very surprised if The fastidious Selznik would release a sub-par product. Unfortunately, the movie fell into the public domain decades ago. It reminds me of the Howard Hughes’s picture The Outlaw, where he fussed over every frame, and now all we have today are scratchy, blurry copies of his magnum opus.
Per Lamont Cranson’s comment under the very advertisement mentioned above for “Bird of Paradise” –
King Vidor’s B&W version of a hugely popular stage spectacle opened simultaneously in New York at the RKO Mayfair in midtown and the RKO Albee in downtown Brooklyn on September 11th, 1932. 20th-Fox’s later Technicolor remake opened at the Roxy (with stage show) in March, 1951.
And it’s $8. for movies starting before noon, slightly higher for 3D or IMAX movies.
That rave review makes me want to see the movie again, even though I just saw it a few months ago in its 3-D incarnation.
To quote form the review “…the comicalest of all is Bert Lahr with an artistically curled mane, a threshing tail, and a timid heart. As he mourns in one of his ballads, his Lion hasn’t the prowess of a mow-ess; he can’t sleep for brooding; he can’t even count sheep because he’s scared of sheep. And what he wants is courage to make him king of the forest so that even being afraid of a rhinocerus would be imposerus. Mr. Lahr’s lion is fion.”
Reopened today (4/4/14)
The internets are your friend.
The story of the Wizard of Oz' difficulties at the box office upon its initial release is a bit apocryphal.
It was the second most popular movie of 1939 (after Gone with the Wind) and the third most popular movie of the entire 1930s (after GWTW and Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs) according to more than one internet source.
A good read on the creation and history of The Wizard of Oz can be found in Aljean Harmetz' The Making of the Wizard of Oz, which is still available in many local libraries.
Passed by tonight and the “cinema” sign was lit and the side marquee said “watch 4 grand re-opening” so that’s something at least.
I really don’t love the photo above, and wonder how it could have over 20,000 views…!
I can’t seem to link the Times article so here is its excerpted text, the parts dealing with the theater itself:
Broadway’s next mega-budget show, the Australian musical “King Kong,” will no longer open as planned at the Foxwoods Theater next winter, which will instead become home to a revival of the musical comedy “On the Town,” the producers of both shows said in separate statements on Thursday. At the same time, the theater’s new leaseholders announced they were renaming the 1,900-seat house – one of Broadway’s biggest – to the Lyric.
The new landlords of the Lyric, the London-based Ambassador Theater Group, could have waited for “King Kong,” but the theater has been empty since January after the closing of “Spider-Man.” No theater owner wants to have an empty house for a year or more, especially after paying roughly $60 million to take over the lease, as Ambassador Theater Group did. A spokesman for the company said that its co-chief executive and point person for the Lyric, Howard Panter, was not available for an interview and that the organization had no comment.
The “On the Town” producers plan to put all 1,900 of the Lyric’s seats on sale, according to a spokesman for the show. “Spider-Man,” which struggled to fill seats late in its three-year run, ended up closing off some rows and shrinking the capacity of the theater to 1,600 seats.
The Lyric has been renamed following the end of a sponsorship deal last year between the Foxwoods casino and the theater’s previous landlord, Live Nation. The theater has a reputation for feeling cavernous and having acoustic challenges and has been home to a string of unprofitable shows including “Spider-Man,” “The Pirate Queen” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” The theater opened in 1998 after combining two spaces – the Lyric, a Broadway theater-turned-movie house, and the Apollo Theater. The new space was named the Ford Center for the Performing Arts; the name was later changed to the Hilton, and then the Foxwoods.
I am happy to report that the rebuilt theater at this site has new owners and since the contract with Foxwoods is over, they are re-naming this house —wait for it — the Lyric.
(Article is in the New York Times 3/7/14.)
I would have preferred it being called the Lyric Apollo, but the Lyric is the best name this theater has had in years!
I am happy to report that this theater has new owners and since the contract with Foxwoods is over, they are re-naming this house —wait for it — the Lyric.
I also noticed the omission of films in the proposed line-up. I do hope they are installing projection equipment as well as theatrical lighting, sound, etc.
I’m also curious about the stadium seating. Will it rise as high as the first mezzanine, perhaps incorporating it? Can’t wait to find out…!
To create a link, first copy the web address you wish to link to and put it in brackets [like.this] and right next to it put some words that will be in blue in parentheses (like this) then hit Add Comment and you should be done.
I try to remember the order of the bracket and parentheses by alphabetic order — “b” as in bracket comes before “p” as in parentheses.
Isn’t this site now partly occupied by Legal Seafood restaurant? One dead, several injured after a carbon monoxide leak in the basement.
And since no one really wanted to see The Master it would have been a lot of work for very few eyeballs.
Well, last year is a lot longer ago than “currently being demolished” as posted on 2/4/14. It seems that the empty space was there for months before new construction started.
The marquee now says “Closed for renovations. See you in April.”