Comments from techman707

Showing 201 - 225 of 291 comments

techman707 commented about Embassy 1 Theatre on May 30, 2011 at 11:55 am

Al, that’s definitely not correct. As I said, BEFORE it ever became the Embassy 2,3,4 (or whatever numbers they called them), it was reopened after the fire by Leonard Clark as a SINGLE theatre. As I said, he opened with “Once Is Not Enough”. The picture played along with a bunch of other theatres in a company ad. After Clark screwed the two owners, Koppel & Levine, the theatre closed again (which is when I left) and THEN was reopened as a (poorly designed) triplex. I am certain up until Clark was thrown out because after that, friends of mine had a deal to purchase the building from Koppel & Levine and were negotiating with Krim & Benjamin from UA to open the theatre and run UA product exclusively, but the deal fell through after a meeting with James Velde a UA V.P.

techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on May 30, 2011 at 11:22 am

Al, Yes, the fire was not too long after “Walking Tall”. Your right about it being sub-run because I recall it being a used print. We usually got a new prints and a backup print. If you know when “That’s Entertainment” left the Ziegfeld, that was the night of the fire. It was supposed to be moved over to the DeMille the next day. The night before I had changed over all the gates and lenses to 70mm and the print of “TE” was supposed to be brought over in the next morning. When I came out of the subway that morning I saw there was nothing on the marquee and then the stagehand told me about the fire. Other than the smell of smoke, the booth and the projectors weren’t damaged at all. Most of the damage was in the second floor lobby.

techman707 commented about Embassy 1 Theatre on May 29, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Al, while I’m not sure of the exact date, I’m absolutely certain I ran the original “Walking Tall” at the DeMille and I believe it would have to be earlier than 1974. The reason I believe it had to be before 1974 is because in late 1973 or early 1974 is the year of the fire and the theatre didn’t open again until somewhere around June 1974 under the management of a guy named Leonard Clark who also ran one theatre on 42nd Street. When the DeMille reopened after the fire, the first picture was “Once Is Not Enough”, of that I am positive.

techman707 commented about Embassy 1 Theatre on May 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Garth, I know that I ran the original “Walking Tall” with Jo Don Baker at the DeMille theatre around 1972 or 1973.

techman707 commented about Queens Theatre on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:04 am

tlsloews-I live not too far from the Queens Theatre and pass by it often, however, I’d like to remember it like in the picture posted on 1/18/2007.

techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Apr 1, 2011 at 9:41 am

Al-The only “M” I was aware of (besides the 1951 remake) was the 1931 version directed by Fritz Lang with Peter Lorre. Who was in the 1933 version of “M”?

Tinseltoes-Are you saying Walter the Reade Sr. had the Columbia Burlesque Theater built in 1910?

techman707 commented about Queens Theatre on Apr 1, 2011 at 8:51 am

tlsloews – You must be looking at an OLD picture. Although the theatre is still there as a church, the entire marquee has been removed and the whole front “modernized”.

techman707 commented about Utopia Theater on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:42 pm

It has the Simplex XL projectors and XL soundheads like the Utopia had, but it’s hard to see anything in those pictures. There was virtually NO pitch or keystone at the original Utopia, it was a very shallow throw. In the posted picture it “appears” steeper than it was, but the picture was also taken tilted. As for the platter, after Ruth Wright lost the theatre and was taken over by the lawyer, Epstein, I never went back into the theatre after it was twined and a 5 tier platter installed.

techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 8:29 pm

“The Mayfair foreign phase was very short lived. Even "M” was dubbed into English by the third week and mainstream films were mostly the norm.

RKO had been the previous operator."

Al, I’m a little confused. Are you referring to the remake of “M” in 1951? Because the original German “M” was around 1931 and it was the RKO Mayfair at that time, so it couldn’t have been Walter Reade who had the theatre unless it was later.

BTW-At the top of this thread they say that the Mayfair became the DeMille in 1960 or “the early 1960’s”. The theatre was renamed the DeMille in 1959, a short time before Spartacus opened. There was a plaque with a bust of DeMille (just like the ones in Loews theatres of Marcus Loew) in the lobby as you went up the staircase to the mezzanine. It also had the actual day, but I just can’t remember the date it said.

techman707 commented about Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre on Mar 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm

“No longer affiliated with RKO Theatres, the Mayfair was now being booked and managed by its owner, Walter Reade, with a policy of "The Cinema of All Nations.”

Tinseltoes-What time frame are you referring to with the above statement? Loews was there before Walter Reade, who I worked for.

techman707 commented about Utopia Theater on Mar 31, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Nick, I’m sorry, but sadly I don’t believe I have any pictures. It the type of thing where it’s always there and you think it will ALWAYS be there. You just don’t think about things like pictures.

techman707 commented about Trump Cinema on Mar 30, 2011 at 7:16 am

Yes, I was well aware of the 1967 Rivoli run (I can still see the GWTW marquee transparency at the Rivoli in my mind), however, it was re-released again in 1969. I remember the series that Bob recalls in 1975.

I can’t account for a newspaper ad any more than I can account for the head of MGM’s technical department doing any work for the “first” 70mm opening of a Universal picture.

In the end, it’s not worth aguing about since all the people that would back me up are, unfotunately, dead.

techman707 commented about Alpine Theatre on Mar 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Ed, I totally agree with you, having watched all the theatres you mention were torn down WITHOUT a peep out of the NYC Landmark & Preservation Commission.

As for the Kings, I’ve heard that for the last 20 years. Since I won’t be around in 2014, I won’t be in a position to say I told you so, but I hope I’m wrong.

techman707 commented about Trump Cinema on Mar 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Warren was also involved with Omar Freeman, but, Omar who once did a lot of work for RKO became a projector butcher later on. Warren was making those automation systems under the name “Raven Laboratories” that Omar installed in so many theatres he installed….along with those RGM sound systems.

Ryan’s Daughter opened at the Zeigfeld.

Maybe I’ll be able to find the letter Warren sent to me. Bill Nafash was involved in so many different projects it’s no wonder he burned out. Theatre installation and service isn’t for the faint of heart, since when a theatre has a problem they think that they’re the ONLY theatre in the world and you’re just waiting for their problem.-LOL

techman707 commented about Alpine Theatre on Mar 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Ed, I’m aware of Loews 175th St. being turned over to a church because I was asked if I was interested in buying the projection equipment years ago. I forgot about it, I know I’m getting senile. It works like this, either I remember EVERYTHING, including the most minute details, or NOTHING.-LOL I was talking with someone a short while back and I was explaining how to fix a projector the person was working on and all of a sudden I couldn’t think of the word “sprocket”. It could be any word and it just happens. Because I have COPD/Emphysema and use oxygen and my doctor thinks it’s due to a lack of oxygen, which has gotten worse in the last year. Loews 175th St was also what I call, a SUPER theatre. A friend of mine who is a member of AMICA (a group of crazies that collect & rebuild organs) told me about ten years ago that the organ at the 175th St still had its organ. Unless the church is still using it, one of the crazies has probably pulled it out (and set it up in their basement, running the pipes up through the roof-LOL).

The Kings has been destroyed. It was “given” to a group called “Flatbush Development Corp” by the City for $1.00 a year. Another friend of mine was involved with them about 15 years ago and helped clean and spruce it up. They held a “gala event” and NEVER did another thing. My friend said that the roof started to leak, ruining much of the beautiful wood and a lot of the ornamental plaster. A short while after, thieves broke in and striped out every piece of copper and anything else they could steal (it DID have a pair of Simplex XL’s and a dubber that still worked when I checked it out before the “gala”. I don’t know if you were ever through the theatre, but, they had a FULL BASKETBALL COURT & GYM as well as a screening room (that was larger than some multiplex theatres) located in the basement.

As for the Jersey Theatre, I think I was there once, but I’m not very familiar with too many theatres in Jersey. Years ago I did some work at the Lakewood, obviously in Lakewood NJ, but as I recall, it wasn’t anything to write home about. I know that the ST. GEORGE THEATRE in Staten Island is still there and in one piece. While not a Loews theatre, I recall it being a very large good looking theatre, something like the Fabian’s Fox in Brooklyn.

While I could think of other theatres that still exist and haven’t been torn down….yet, my real point is that in a city that had hundreds of theatres, when it comes to a premiere or running a 70mm film, the best NYC can come up with is a dump like the Ziegfeld, which I was involved with the original installation of the Zeiss Ikon 35/70 projectors. Because they had delicate turrets, every time someone slammed the turret closed, the pin that kept the turret perpendicular with the film plane changed, causing the picture to shift on the wall and when the operator tried to move the projector to straighten it out, they couldn’t focus evenly across the screen. It was really a bad design, but if they took more care it wouldn’t have happened. I tried locking the turret closed, but they finally decided to change the projectors. They cost Walter Reade a lot of money for the time. They would have been MUCH better off with Cinemechanica projectors, like the DeMille had.

techman707 commented about Alpine Theatre on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Thanks, I’ll check it out. Loews seemed to have two basic theatre types. The pre 1928 theatres and the post 1928 theatres. While ALL their theatres were beautiful, the theatres built between 1928 – 1935 were, in my opinion, spectacular. There is still one left in New York. It’s located in Jamaica, Queens, Loews Valencia. Loews gave it to a church for nothing, which wound up saving the theatre from demolition. It had a Spanish style outdoor design and with the sparkling stars and moving clouds, it made you feel like you were really sitting in an outdoor theatre.

techman707 commented about Trump Cinema on Mar 28, 2011 at 12:58 pm

“When I started there in 1974, the first 70mm picture I ran was "Gone With The Wind” in 70."


You are absolutely correct about the 1974 run of GWTW, I remember it was part of a series. Around that time the Warner and Zigfield also scrambled to run 70mm series. I can’t remember if it was the Warner or Zigfield that ran a musical series that included West Side Story and at the time I was thinking that was the first time I saw a 70mm print of West Side Story since it originally played at the Rivoli.

However, when you ran GWTW it was the SECOND time it ran at the Music Hall. In fact, Bill Nafash had a bunch of XL 35/70 sprockets that the inner 35mm teeth got sheared off. Howard himself machines hand filed and finished the 70mm traps & gates specifically for that run. When you ran it, it wasn’t an official re-release, it was just a special run for that 70mm series. The 1969 was an actual re-release that went into regular theatres afterward.

Warren Jenkins, who worked with Bill, sent me a letter at the time, which I’m looking for. Do you know if Warren is still alive? He can certainly confirm the ‘69 run.

It’s interesting that you mention Rain Tree County (a picture that was razor sharp even in 35mm), they should re-release it in honor of Elizabeth Taylor, if they can find the negatives and they are still in one piece. Speaking of 65mm, the opening of Ben-Hur at Loews State was run in 65mm on Bauer U2 projectors that were specially installed for the opening and the sound was interlocked to a dubber.

techman707 commented about Alpine Theatre on Mar 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Yep, sounds like the Vendome was a “real” one. Too bad it burned down. Does the shell still exist or was it totally demolished after the fire?

techman707 commented about Alpine Theatre on Mar 28, 2011 at 5:43 am

WTVJ is channel 6 right now. WFOR, which is CBS is channel 4 now. Like I said, about 1991 they swapped channels. I live in Coral Springs.

techman707 commented about Trump Cinema on Mar 28, 2011 at 5:21 am

I guess we’re going to have to agree to disagree. Although I’m becoming senile and can’t tell you who I talked to yesterday, I’m certain Airport wasn’t the first 70mm film to run at Radio City. I would have suggested that we ask Bob Endres, but he didn’t start working there until the early 70’s. All the people that I dealt with at the time are all dead now (which I’ll be also shortly), so that just leaves me to argue the point.

As an example other examples of more website mis-information, look at this site:
View link

They say GWTW was released in 1939 and then re-released in 1947, 1954, 1967 and 1969. However, they left a re-release out. I personally ran a NEW Technicolor IB print that had a 4 channel mag track on a 1961 re-release. In my mind it was anamorphic, because I remember changing lenses for trailers, but I can’t see how that could be and wouldn’t swear to it since it was before MGM did the anamorphic hatchett job on the 1967 re-release of GWTW.

techman707 commented about Alpine Theatre on Mar 27, 2011 at 8:54 pm

tsloews- I’ve been to Nashville, my sister inlaw is the District Attorney in McMinville (I think it’s spelled that way), however I didn’t realize Nashville had 4 Loews theatres. Were they all “real” Loews theatres or were some of them just new boxes?

techman707 commented about Alpine Theatre on Mar 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm

No, WTVJ is the NBC affiliate in Miami. Bernard Myerson had an interest in WFOR, the CBS affiliate. It’s confusing since originally NBC was on channel 4 and CBS was on channel 6. About 20 years ago they swapped frequencies for technical reasons and NBC-WTVJ is now on 6 and CBS-WFOR is on channel 4. However, I’m sure it’s Bernard Myerson from Loews.

techman707 commented about Trump Cinema on Mar 27, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Things were MUCH different years ago, today anything goes. I still haven’t gotten over the consent decrees that ruined Loews/MGM. A MUCH worse situation exists today with 2 or 3 companies controlling EVERYTHING. AMC, Regal & National Amusements control the majority of theatres in this country and the government sees no problem with that. In the 1960’s I drove around the country and any city or town worth driving through had a Loews theatre. Since in many instances it was the ONLY theatre in town, it didn’t even have a name on the marquee, it just said LOEWS on the big vertical.

techman707 commented about Alpine Theatre on Mar 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm

tisloews, did you work for Loews? If so, would you know if the “Bernies”, Bernard Myerson and/or Bernard Diamond (Loews Vice-presidents)are still alive? Years ago I understand Bernard Myerson had a financial interest in the CBS television affiliate in Miami Florida.

techman707 commented about Trump Cinema on Mar 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm

It sure is ironic! The film companies are just like other big companies, when they decide to do something, whether it makes sense or not sometimes has no bearing? In the mind of the paper pushers at MGM at the time, the NEW redone “anamorphic” prints they spent so much money on, first restoring the 3 B&W masters that had shrunk differently on each one, which necessitated having to re-register every frame of a nearly 4 hour movie. Then, after that was done they had to optically scan it top to bottom (as opposed to side to side like they used to do for TV prints of Cinemascope movies) in order to keep the action in the “new” widescreen format, while at the same time losing picture information from the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio when converted to 2.35:1.

For “non-purists” it could have been an interesting “modern take” of the original version. However, the color was all washed out and everytime there was a dissolve, the color and grain became even worse. In contrast, the Technicolor IB prints (which are no longer made), that all previous prints of GWTW were made in, have non-fading color and virtually no apparent grain at all.

Warner Brothers, that not only has DVD & Blu-ray rights to WB films, but, also many other company’s films (somehow), have the DVD & Blu-ray rights to GWTW. They claim to have developed software that can take a film that’s been stored as 3 B&W strips and to “perfectly” re-register all these films that have shrunk over the years. Since they can scan these film at 8K, it’s possible to make 35mm release prints from a re-registered and color corrected digital scan, which is how the last release of of the Blu-ray of GWTW was made.