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Mr. Lester Gorn, the Parkside Manager in the 80’s was a true film historian and gentleman. He told me how he was proud to be among the first to book and exhibit “THE SEVEN SAMURAI” in the USA back in the late 50’s or early ‘60’s before its greatness was well known. I recall seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey here and left alone walking home, (I was a student at SF State at the time), towards a room on 17th Ave. at night…in the thick SF fog…just astounded at the film and its visual experience. Also seeing THE SHINING here and ALL THAT JAZZ with a lady who was a dancer. It was truly a place where the local neighborhood folks, young and old would gather, meet and see great double bills. Once an old lady was getting ready to leave BEFORE the 2nd film was set to begin….“aren’t you going to stay for the next feature”? “No….I only sit thru ONE film. One is enough for me”. Don’t know why…but I always thought that was unique for a film-goer.
As they said on re-opening night in 1977-8, the “Expanded Naro was for those who refused to be "Naro-minded” and wanted good, quality, independent cinema! (I was there in the audience that night…I believe it was a double feature of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Mr. Deeds goes to Town…or was that another night…anyway, good to see that there are many “NARO-minded” folks still left in Norfolk to keep this theater from the wrecking ball!
Yes, yes, YES Bob & Warren & Nonsportsnut! Moe, Larry, and Curly-Joe DeRita WERE there at the RKO Castle Hill Ave. on Sat. Jan. 27th, 1962 in the Bronx at 11:30am!!! How do I know? Because I was a 5 year old sitting in the audience with my 8 year old brother, (whom my mother forced to take along), and together we screamed with laughter and delight among the audience of kids as MOE, (naturally!), smacked LARRY and Curly Joe in his usual “bitch-slap”, (or MOE slap), routine! It was among my first movie theater memories and I cannot recall 8 foot tall Dave Ballard…but I DO recall Moe slapping his sidekicks as he did “IN THE ACT” for over 30 years! Poor Larry, Curly, Curly Joe and then Joe DeRita for taking those REAL slaps. And let’s not forget Shemp, (Moe’s real brother along with Curly!), for taking lots of smacks from Moe as well. Towards the end…on the Mike Douglas Show…Moe got some comeuppance when his WIFE plastered a huge strawberry-cream PIE right in his FACE! LIVE! That was not part “Of the Act”! Check it out on YOUTUBE! Once upon a time in the Bronx with the 3 Stooges and the RKO Castle Hill…would NOT change growing up in that analog era for anything! WORD UP!