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Thanks for posting the ACE pics Woody, the auditorium certainly looks better than it did in it`s bingo days.
Best of luck with the reopening of this truly unspoilt great survivor in Chicago, I hope that the local community give the theatre the support that it needs to be succesfull.
This theatre can be glimpsed in the 1955 film “Dangerous Saturday” looks good in 1955
Re the film projectors:
The original 35mm system was removed some years ago and the digital system described in a previous post is now in place. One of the the last films to be shown in 35mm was “Who Framed Roger Rabbit ” in 1988…..was it really that long ago?
When I was a lad in the late 1960s I visited the Biograph, not knowing anything of its seedy reputation, after paying for my ticket and a Frys 5 centre chocolate bar at the paybox, I took my seat to see a double bill of “The Dresser” with Albert Finney and the Hitchcock classic “Physco” I was struck immediatley by the amount of movement from seat to seat, the constant banging of the Gents toilet door, and the general air of furtiveness about the place with lots of patrons having stategically placed newspapers over their laps…..boy did I grow up quickly that afternoon!
As per previous posts the lights never grew really dim, and every so often the commisionaire (with the biggest torch I have ever seen)shone the light along the rows of patrons where all the types of activity would suddenly cease. I don`t remember much about “The Dresser”, but I do remember being really drawn in to “Physco” despite it being in black & white. The Biograph was still showing a newsreel at the time as well, when the majority of cinemas had stopped showing them by then.
A trip to the nearby New Victoria cinema, or the Cartoon Cinema in Victoria station( where I subsequently saw “Inchabod & Mr Toad”) were very tame experiences when compared with what was going on in the Biograph !!!
s I visited the Biograph, not knowing anything of it
Some unusual shots of the Astoria can be seen in the 1970`s film “Eskimo Nell” namely the projection room, managers office, rear circle,stage, and rear fire escape. Shots of the boiler room are featured in “Confessions of a Plumbers Mate” These were all filmed on location whilst the building was closed to the public. Both films turn up on Ebay quite regularly
there are a few trucking movies about, starting with the 1930s british version of "They drive by night" featuring a Scammell tractor unit and many driving scenes on british roads, next comes the Warner Bros film of the same name starring Bogart,Raft, Ann Sheridan & Ida (the doors made me do it!!!) Lupino.the USA version has nothing to do with the british one. next comes "Thieves Highway" with Richard Conte,and Valetine Cortez.1953 saw the french "Wages of Fear" with Yves Montand. Next up is the 1957 british "Helldrivers" starring Stanley Baker and Patrick McGoohan, followed by "The Long haul" next is the 1963 2nd feature "The Hijackers" with Antony Booth,followed by the abysmal 1974 "Alfie Darling" starring a totally miscast Alan Price as a long distance truck driver.I suppose that the last true trucking movie would be "Convoy" with Kris kristofferson and Ali Mcgraw.Checkem out on www.imdb.com
s british version of "They drive by night" featuring a Scammell tractor unit and many driving scenes on british roads, next comes the Warner Bros film of the same name starring Bogart,Raft, Ann Sheridan & Ida (the doors made me do it!!!) Lupino.the USA version has nothing to do with the british one. next comes "Thieves Highway" with Richard Conte,and Valetine Cortez.1953 saw the french "Wages of Fear" with Yves Montand. Next up is the 1957 british "Helldrivers" starring Stanley Baker and Patrick McGoohan, followed by "The Long haul" next is the 1963 2nd feature "The Hijackers" with Antony Booth,followed by the abysmal 1974 "Alfie Darling" starring a totally miscast Alan Price as a long distance truck driver.I suppose that the last true trucking movie would be "Convoy" with Kris kristofferson and Ali Mcgraw.Check
I remember visiting this theatre as a child as a christmas treat the screen was at quite an angle when you sat in the front stalls, I remember getting a crick in my neck watching the film, which I think was a revival of Disney`s “Dumbo”. It seemed to be a huge place, the circle and upper galleries I do not think were being used. When I visited in the late 1980,s shortly before the thetre closed, I was able to look around from top to bottom including all the former backstage areas, the upper galleries had a 3 inch layer of dust on them!!
So am I, Lifes too short, Bruces argument makes sound commercial sense(unlike some of the previous well intentioned but dreamers schemes for the Uptown) the building has a future, and CAN be used commercially again, so its over to The City to open up the coffers and start the ball rolling to get the theatre into an operating condition.
s argument makes sound commercial sense(unlike some of the previous well intentioned but dreamers schemes for the Uptown) the building has a future, and CAN be used commercially again, so it
Hope that Mecca seal the building up tight whilst the future is uncertain, so that no illegal raves can take place with all the damage that is associated with these events.
Well done Bob, more of the same please, the details are fascinating, a long way from todays multiplex operation.
Opened on the site of the Theatre Royal in 1934, the architects were F Howard and T Darbyshire of Yates Cook & Derbyshire, as an independant, taken over by Union Cinemas in 1936, then ABC, renamed ABC in 1961,used extensively for summer shows,(the Beatles and many other pop stars appeared there) renamed Cannon and closed in 1988 as it was a difficult theatre to turn into a multiscreen operation.
Good to know that the memoriy of this fine theatre lives on, I always thought that the demolition of the theatre was rushed through, visited in the early 1980`s and was surprised and gratified that everything in the projection room was still kept in good working condition(normally all the unused equipment is ripped out) but reading the comments above I now understand why, anymore memories of this fine theatre would be appreciated.
kind regards AndyJG
A true theatre scholar whos knowledge and enthusiasm always shone through in everything he wrote about....God bless you Jim, I didnt know you personally, but feel like I have lost a friend today.
s knowledge and enthusiasm always shone through in everything he wrote about....God bless you Jim, I did
They sound very interesting, please contact me ,The Cinema Theatre Association Archive would be very interested.
regards Andy Garner
Anyone who cares about the Uptown should buy a copy of “Uptown Portrait Of A Palace” just so you can “visit” the Uptown as often as you like and hopefully the dvd will raise awareness of how fragile the building is, and that sooner rather than later restoration can be started. it is good to know that the building is secure and guarded against intruders we all owe a great dept to those volunteers who selflessly continue to look after the building.
Is the equipment still in the projection booth, and are there any photos of the booth that you can share with us at the Cinema treasures site?
with kind regards,
Nice to be in a position where you can choose what you want to show, without thinking too much about your paying customers, as always there is a lot of dross product out there.
You dont know what youve missed …..till it`s gone …shame
t know what you
Try Ebay Kim, searching in the record and tape section…..good luck Andy
I remember running “Titanic” from 12.00 till 12.00, packed houses, and burning all the carbon ends for running the ads and trailer reel, my Westars with Peerless Mags ran red hot that fortnight, not the same since we went over to zenons, got through plenty of tea as well!!
In addition to the above, the interior staircase that featured a bas relief figure of a movie cameraman was also saved, as the Eros was originally a newsreel theatre.
Jim has said it all in his above comments, wishing you every success in your endevours…. keep the site posted.
kind regards Andy Garner
Great to hear about how cinemas were run in the “good old days” when a great deal of skill was needed to keep the projectors rolling, no tape splicers,platters, or automation here.
please continue with your reccolections, all the very best for 2004, regards Andy Garner
Re the Memorial Theatre Boston.
Taken over by the ClearChannel group for conversion into a live theatre, it is slated for reopening in May 2004 with the Disney production of “The Lion King"
I visited the theatre in Dec 2001 before the renovations were started, and was amazed that the theatre was so structerally sound and completly unaltered,apart from some superficial water damage to the plaster. The WOW factor in the theatre is superb.
Will be a great asset to Boston when it reopens.