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Well, eight and a half years since the last post, long after the road construction is finished, the theater still stands. Abandoned and undeveloped.
To Jimmyhank – Yes, I’m sure you did see “Mary Poppins”, “Snow White” and other Disney flicks during the summers in the mid-‘70’s at the Island. I noted in my post above that the Island ran the Disney festival. I think that 1975 was the first year, and that continued for three or four straight summers.
The description says that this theater opened around 1980. That’s not correct; it opened on July 1, 1987. I should know; like I wrote on 11/15/07, I saw “Innerspace” there on the film’s opening day.
I saw “Midnight Express” here, back in 1978. That was a mistake, too. I was with my high school friend, and we were about 10 minutes late for the movie. When the movie was over, I found that some pinhead had thrown a bottle of Yago Sangria at my car, smashing the windshield. I never did have the car fixed, and I didn’t catch up with the first 10 minutes until “Midnight Express” was run on TV about two years later.
That was the Richmond Theater. Check out the page for it on this site.
The Daily News reported today that the renovation to turn the theater into a performance venue has begun.
The K-Mart closed in January 2012. It’s now torn down; it’s supposed to be replaced by a Target. The tire center is supposed to be replaced by a restaurant. In fact, the whole shopping center is supposed to be re-done and improved. Unfortunately, no new movie theater is coming in. I saw “Rocky Horror” at the Island back in ‘78 or ‘79. Once. I wasn’t too enamored by the film, possibly because I had to stand throughout. That made the experience a bit uncomfortable for me.
I also saw “The Other Side of Midnight” at the Island in the summer of 1977. For a buck. (Remember the Wednesday matinees at the Staten Island theaters that cost a dollar?) I probably caught one of the worst colds I ever got from that screening.
“Fun With Dick and Jane” (the funny original, not the unfunny 2005 remake) was released in February 1977. It first opened in limited release in New York City and probably L.A. It might have gone nationwide sometime in March of ‘77; I know it played throughout the spring.
I was driving on Route 9 toward Old Bridge last week, and I made it a point to eyeball the Amboy Cinema, to see just what’s happening. The theater is still standing, but there’s a “For Sale” sign on the outside. I wonder who would buy it? Maybe a developer, but what would they build there?
That picture brings back memories. I saw “E.T.” on a preview at the Island a few days before the flick opened; the main feature was “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.” That was possibly my last trip to the Island. When I was working on Staten Island and wanted to see a movie when I was done, I’d truck off to the Amboy Cinemas in Jersey, as they had matinees year round. Something that didn’t start on Staten Island until the UA theater opened in ‘87.
That whole shopping center is changing. The K-Mart Auto Center near the theater is long closed, and now, the K-Mart store, that has been there since the early 1970s, is closing. The early buzz was that the K-Mart would be torn down and a Target would be built. The K-Mart will probably be gone by this Thanksgiving; the “Store Closing” sign is up. I haven’t heard any recent news about what’s coming in, though.
Was this theater built on the same ground which used to hold Weissglass Stadium?
The late actor Percy Rodrigues was the narrator of the “Jaws” trailer. I don’t think the picture would have been as successful if a different narrator had been used; Mr. Rodrigues had the perfect voice for it. A lot of the success of the film should be credited to the trailer, and his great narration.
I saw the film on its second day at the Island theater in Staten Island; it had just been twinned. Foolishly, only one side was used; the second part was dark during the film’s run. The theater oversold tickets, and some people were left standing in the back. Theater 2 was saved for a festival of Disney films that played during summers in the 70s. I had no kids than, and considered that a waste of space.
I saw “Jaws” the first weekend of release. I was 20, and took my uncle’s stepdaughter. The Island theater in Staten Island was just twinned, and “Jaws” was only playing in one side; the other side was reserved for a Disney festival that played during the summers in the 1970’s. The theater oversold the movie, as blocks of tickets were counted as just one seat, and they refused to use the other side. Maybe it wasn’t ready; I’ve forgotten why. As the movie was oversold, I couldn’t sit with my uncle’s stepdaughter, so we split up. When the movie ended, I looked everywhere for her for about an hour; she was nowhere to be found. It turned out that she bugged out of the movie, and went home. I went a few more times to see the movie. Without the crowds, and without my uncle’s stepdaughter. It was absolutely great.
The Forum has begun to play relatively current movies. If I remember, they played “The Hurt Locker” a few weeks back. Here’s the theater’s Web site: http://www.forumtheatrearts.com/index.html
You’re right about being able to hear the sound from the adjoining theater, Garth. My boss from my old job when I was in college once complained about the lack of soundproofing between screens. He went to the Rae to see “Nashville” and could hear the ending of “The Hindenburg” when the titular zeppelin exploded, as that movie was playing next door.
The Lane Theater re-opens tonight as “Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club.” Gilbert Gottfried will be the first attraction. More View link
“Mrs. Rosemary” Cappozalo passed away this past Sunday, June 28. She was 69. Here’s more:
I’m quite sure that the Empire was showing porn even back in the late sixties, Garth. I turned 14 in 1968, and the theater ran porn all my young life. Except for the brief time it ran regular movies in 1977 I mentioned above. I wish the lobby poster in the 1968 shot was visible, but I’d bet the farm the theater ran porn in ‘68.
Here’s an article from a recent S.I. Advance about bygone Island movie theaters. The Drive-In is mentioned; what I didn’t know is that it cost $350,000 to build. I remember my dad taking my mom, sister and me to the drive-in to see a Bing Crosby pic, “Say One For Me” back in 1959. The second feature (remember them?) was “Hercules Unchained.”
Here’s an article from the S.I. Advance about the local theaters of yesteryear. The “Empire” is mentioned.
Farrell Lumber has closed its doors, and is now out of business. This occurred sometime around March 1, 2009.
I saw “A Christmas Story” it’s first weekend out, and loved it. Wonderful film. I try to catch it at least once during the 24-hour Christmas Eve marathon.
Most of “A Christmas Story”’s plot was taken from Jean Shepherd’s great book “In God We Trust – All Others Pay Cash.” But – the subplot about the mangy Bumpus hounds who terrorize The Old Man was taken from another of Shepherd’s superb books – “Wanda Hickey’s Night Of Golden Memories and Other Disasters,” which deals with Ralph as a teenager. Another film, “The Phantom Of The Open Hearth,” was made for public TV, based on “Wanda Hickey’s…” back in 1976. That’s a wonderful film as well, and it’s shameful that it’s not on DVD. Supposedly, the Shepherd estate wants to much money for the rights.
I saw “Harry and Tonto” at the Paris back in 1974. Unfortunately, I haven’t been back since. So many of New York’s classic single-screen movie houses, like the Sutton and the Murray Hill, are gone. I’m glad that the Paris is still going strong.
There is no more Shop-Rite; it became a Stop and Shop a couple of years ago. The building that housed the theater is in a far corner of the lot, and it’s still standing. And empty.
I saw “Die Hard” on a Friday night dinner date with my then-wife. We got tickets to see the film at a small discount through the restaurant we ate at (Millard Fillmore’s, IIRC) which was right next to the theater. It was quite a nice experience. The movie was great. The theater was packed. Sadly, the theater (the Staten Island UA Multiplex in Travis) the restaurant and my marriage all went down the tubes. I do have all the “Die Hard” movies on DVD, though.