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Was there for the 8th annual Bicycle Film Festival and much to my surprise, they have new seats!!! The old ones hurt my butt and back and were too creaky. Went there yesterday and they look are bucket seats – they look like the kind for those seated racing car arcade games but they are comfy and provide great back support. Found out they were all donated!
Just thought I’d let you all know that the cinema still uses 35mm film. That makes me feel better when I watch movies there. Thought it was all DVD projector stuff, but my friend’s the projectionist and she showed me everything.
I found historic theatre attendance tallies for this theatre among others while working for the CT Film Fest last week. On Sunday, during the last screening, I self-toured Danbury’s Palace stagehouse on both sides and found the info.
It lists 3/19-3/25/79 and mentions the New Rochelle Proctor, Cinemas 1-3 with seat totals. The last line mentions the New Rochelle Main St. with 286 seats. I presumed it was this one.
I found historic theatre attendance tallies for this theatre among others while working for the CT Film Fest last week. On Sunday, during the last screening, I self-toured the stagehouse of the Palace in Danbury on both sides and found the info.
From 3/19-3/25/79, The New Rochelle Proctors 1 is listed as having 1014 seats, Proctors 2 – 567 seats and Proctor 3 – 589 seats.
Really big? Great. Well, if you want to start the ball rolling, email me at
This theatre had 1141 seats.
I found historic theatre attendance tallies for the Danbury Palace and this theatre among others while working for the CT Film Fest last week. On Sunday, during the last screening, I self-toured the stagehouse on both sides and found the info.
There were a few sheets of paper with 11 similar photocopies of ads for this theatre. It says, “Danbury Newest Entertainment Center…RKO Stanley Warner Theatres…Twin Cinema 1 and 2, Danbury Shopping Center…748-2923…Free Parking.”
From 3/19-3/25/79, The Danbury Cinema 1 (578 seats) showed All That Jazz and Cinema 2 (563 seats) showed Kramer vs Kramer.
From 3/19-3/25/79, The Bridgeport Merritt 1 showed Breaking Away/Little Darlings and the Merritt 2 showed A Force of One.
Both theatres are listed as having 480 seats each.
Oh yeah, there’s now a sign in the lobby placed by DaSilva telling folks about the new campaign to turn the Palace into a cultural hub and Performing Arts Center and to pardon the appearance.
The bounty re: the daily performance sheet. Its headings are “B.O., Fday, Vend, Fday, Attend, and Remit.” It’s dated 3/26 and is a stapled top sheet for the theatres Merritt #1, #2, Cinema #1, #2, Palace #1, #2, #3 and Starrs #1, #2.
The second full sheet is dated 3/19-3/25 and it must be from 1979, since the first movie listed in Breaking Away/Little Darlings at the Bridgeport Merritt 1 (480 seats). Then A Force of One at the Merritt 2 (480 seats) All That Jazz (Danbury Cinema 1, 578 seats), Kramer vs Kramer Cinema 2, 563 seats), Coal Miner’s Daughter (Danbury Palace 1), Defiance and Force of One/Sensuous Nurse/[Sneak of]Changeling (Palace 2), Fifth Floor/Little Miss Marker (Palace 3), A Force of One/Cruising (Storrs College 1), American Gigolo/The Fog (Storrs College 2).
The attached stapled sheet has concessions for Bridgeport, Palace, Cinema and Storrs but the left side showing the theatres doesn’t match. It mentions the New Rochelle Proctors 1 (1014 seats), Proctors 2 (567 seats), Proctor 3 (589 seats) and New Rochelle Main St. (286 seats).
So now that the film fest is over and the last movie has shown, I’ll detail my explorations into the entire theatre that is off limits and my treasureful bounty!
It was Sunday evening and as the boring Lucie Arnaz movie showed, I thought I’d take a tour. Another film fest sponsor went with me and followed my lit cell phone. Basically, I gave him a history lesson about the architecture and it was his first time doing anything of the sort. That made it more fun for me to have a cohort. The left orchestra theatre was vastly different and was used as storage for all the week’s catering. So the seats were dusty, the walls were red and all the walls/ceilings were crumbly and beautiful. It was like a time warp. The original plush tapestries on the left wall were still there, but faded. The aisle carpet sunk as you walked on it so I don’t advise that. The pit looked fine.
I went through an open door to the left of the stage and we saw the very dangerous stage and went down the stairs into the darkness, investigating every dark room, there must have been at least 12, including the gigantic boiler room. Some rooms had water/oil puddles. We could look underneath the stage as well and underneath the screen on the left side where it was still playing at 6pm. We started up the stairs on the right side of the stage house.
The sunlight streaming through the window certainly helped quite a bit. The rooms were dusty and had original fixtures. My treasure came in the second room. A manual for projection equipment from 1976. The Xetron/C55PT/PTA Amplifier out of Cedar Knolls, NJ And strewn about on a random windowsill in one of the old bathrooms were cutouts (photocopied) onto a piece of paper, with 11 to a page, advertising “Danbury’s Newest Entertainment Center…Twin Cinema 1 & 2, RKO Stanley Warner Theatres…Danbury Shopping Center…748-2923…Free Parking.” I took a few of them. Then I found blank sheets of “Weekly Budget Performance” with the fields for Theatre and Location, category of staff, etc.
But then I found the mother load of artifacts – actualy pencil filled in fields of monetary numbers and earnings of the Palace and other nearby theatres, complete with film names, dates and seat numbers!!! I can send pics if anybody would like.
We did this for every floor and every room was empty of bounty, save for some light trash, all the way to the top and the open sliding metal door on every floor looking down at the stage got scarier as we got higher (he was 320 lbs, I am 170). The original curtain and ripped screen are still there.
We went down and back under the stage to the other stairwell. Nothing on the first two floors, but as we went higher, the concrete on the steps was very crumbly and you could see the screen it was attached to (don’t know the terms), but we decided our adventure would have to end, due to safety and nervousness. But bounty in the first 10 minutes is good enough for me. We exited as the movie let out and I showed my bounty to some friends.
The event last nite was unbelievable and sold out with standing room only, Fox 61 news trucks, media and everything galore! Filmmaker spoke before Flyboys and then 2 hours of movie time. I’ve never experienced a movie quite like that as magic was in the air. The entire crowd was so vocal with emotions it was like we were sharing something bigger than us all at the same time. Standing ovation for 5 minutes for the filmmaker and after a huge party from 9:30-midnight. Band in the front lobby by the doors, by the statue was a lovely catered finger buffet passed around on trays and the same light/photo show by Carter Boyajian from First Night in January.
Front page news today and a buzz about the movie. I’m still floored by the movie I saw and am telling all the folks coming in about going to it again on Saturday (not at the Palace, but the Palace will be open for films all week/end).
This was published today in the Fairfield County Weekly, they tweaked a few sentences, but it’s virtually the same. View link
Right. Channel 3 WFSB is supposed to air footage on Sunday night and the Courant will as well.
The Empress, now Heirloom Arts Theatre will be one of the 8 host venues for the CT Film Fest on May 20-25. They will provide seats and the screen will be above the now performance stage. Go to www.ctfilmfest.com
Wow wow wow! I was at the press conference yesterday at 2pm for the Fairfield Weekly. It was locked, so I went around to the open door behind Democratic HQ. The cleanup crew was working 12-hour days and there must have been a dozen crew working very hard. New carpets, new paint, fixing the fixtures, buffing. Whew. The seats looked a glorious red as they had all been washed. It doesn’t look rushed at all, the time was taken. They had turned the original vents on so it was slightly cold and comfortable. The orchestra pit looked great and I walked around upstairs (balcony still blacked out) as well as going behind the stage and looking up the 5 floor stairwell of the dressing rooms. Oh yeah, the bathrooms are very spiffy looking. DaSilva’s head crew guy told me some stories when Trans-Lux owned it and how the kids would steal and mess up things. But he was very accommodating and asked if I was the “infamous shoeshoe14”.
Again, DaSilva will be converting it back to a single screen and I did dedicate one paragraph of my article to the Palace. Somehow said it all in one paragraph. I’ll post the link next Wednesday when it comes out.
I will also be volunteering a bit at the box office so go to www.ctfilmfest.com The Palace will be screening all week as well as the Heirloom Arts Theatre (formerly Empress Ballroom/Theatre).
I knew of her, but she left last year and I never met her.
It became the library in 1985. Before that it was Shaffer’s Implements in the late 1800s, selling wagons and buggies. It became the Ritz in 1936.
I’m doing a piece on the Film Fest for the Fairfield Weekly as I write for them. I will be at the press conference today at the Palace along with other area papers and the Hartford Courant. Channel 3 will be airing some pics on Sunday night as I’m told.
I talked with DaSilva this morning and he assured me he will be converting it back into a single screen! Yes! Once the funding is in place for preservation and repairs, it will be used as a 2,000 seater for live theatre, concerts and movies.
Right now, like I said it will be the lower right orchestra and his crew has been busy painting and getting it ready. Digital projection of course.
I forgot to say that a few weeks ago I stopped by to check it out. It was about 9:30pm and a show was just letting out. The auditorium was quite small and looked less than 500 seats. The stage seemed to jut out too far and it felt cramped in there. No special decorations whatsoever.
This theatre was mentioned in a blurb in last week’s New Haven Advocate. It said it was probably the most underutilized concert stage in town (you have to take out your own insurance policy to rent it). GuitartownCT Productions put on a show recently with legendary flatpicker Tony Rice for a series of bluegrass shows. The next show will be in November.
Okay folk, stopped by City Center and Joe DaDasilva was there. Here’s the scoop. The film fest will open May 20 and the theatre that will be open will be on the orchestra, lower right, seating 420. The News-Times reporter will be there late morning for a story and pics. I asked if I could do the same and he said he’d let me know since it’s getting crazy, but most likely in the morning hours.
So SMF…will the film fest opening of Flyboys be in the Palace’s auditorium, or the balcony?
Also known as the Roxy?
The film Rock and Roll High School had its ticket booth and marquee and the upper portions of the building (panning down to street level) at this theatre. In the film it was called the “Rockatorium”. Production notes on the special features icon had the original production call sheet with this info. (Backstage was at the Whiskey and live performance at the Roxy).