Showing all 17 comments
To Paul Bubny
I sure do remember the Union Fox. I lived in Hillside right off Rt 22 and I can’t tell you how many times I walked over to Two Guys.
As a matter of fact, I remember when the Fox was built because my
friends and I went in an unopened rear door I remember the basic building was complete,
but they hadn’t installed the seats. I pretty sure it was in the late 60s—probably 1968 or 1969. I remember seeing The French Connection, The Seven Ups, Papillon, and The Great Waldo Pepper,
among others. My future sister-in-law worked there for a while
during her undergrad days. It was a big box—comfy—nothing special.
I remember going to the Union Drive-In as a very little kid, in my
PJs, with a blanket and my pillow—if I nodded off, no problem, just
curl up in the back seat and off to La La Land. I do recall seeing
Vertigo and A Hole In The Head—that song “High Hopes” really stuck in my juvenile head.
And for some reason, I remember the coming attraction for a really
cheapo horror film called “Terror Is A Man”. I was probably about
four years old and that stupid trailer really scared the crap out of me. And let’s face it, when you’re four, the last thing you need is crap coming out anywhere. For any reason.
I went to the Castle in the 1960s. It was our “other” choice if nothing good was playing at the Sanford. The only pic I recall is
To Sir with Love. And I seem to remember a very long time ago, seeing
The Hound Of The Baskervilles—the old Hammer Films version with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
As an aside, I remember that my mother had a friend who lived near
Francis Chevrolet. This lady was divorced and had a young son (about my age). I remember asking my mother about the husband and was told that he was an artist and that his works were displayed in the Castle Theater lobby and they could be puchased.
More on the Sanford. I spoke with my brother the other night and
told him about this site. After talking with him, I recalled a few more pix at the Sanford—Birdman of Alcatraz, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, and The Long Ships. Obviously, I came from a rather eclectic
movie-going family!! Everybody in my family loved movies. My father is 90 and he remembers silent films in Newark—although admittedly,
he went more to hear the various pit bands and accompanists rather
than seeing the films. He does remember seeing Lon Chaney, Harold Lloyd, and Douglas Fairbanks. Although he warmly recalled Chaplin
and such lesser comedians such as Larry Semon and Lloyd Hamilton,
Buster Keaton hardly rated an adjective!!!
Extra tidbits about the Mayfair. My parents grew up in Newark and
since the Mayfair is very close to the Hillside/Newark line, they
both remember the Mayfair from their youth (although they can’t recall having gone there) Anyway, they do recall that the building
next door to the theater originally housed a tobacco company which
was actually a front for the well-known New Jersey crime boss and Meyer Lansky pal, Longy Zwillman. Longy was from Newark and in those
days, it was an open secret what he was up to. As a matter of fact,
my friend’s mother, who also grew up in Hillside and lived near the
Mayfair, told me that she was friends with Zwillman’s sister and met him several times. Of course, he was called a businessman but…
I did a little more digging about The Isis. The name Saenger Amusement Company was listed with the Isis, but the article I saw
failed to mention when Saenger operated the theater. Saenger was
a theater chain based in New Orleans and in it’s heyday, operated
about 350 theaters in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas. A number of their theaters still exist.
A number of interior and exterior photos of the original Isis are listed in the Jesse H Jones Papers currently maintained by The University of Texas At Austin. I’d sure like to see those. As soon as the photo posting feature for this site is repaired, I’ll be glad to include whatever photos I can find of this theater—then and now.
The Isis was Houston’s first silent movie theater. Before I left
Houston in the late 90s, I recall reading an article in the Houston
Chronicle that reported that the theater was another enterprise
started by Houston businessman and industrialist Jesse H Jones
as a way to give guests at the Rice Hotel—which Jones also built and owned—something to do while staying downtown.
The Chronicle also had a neat vintage photo that showed the Isis
as it was.
Sadly, very little of the original theater remains, although bits
of the interior and at least one of the original doors are to be found in the theater’s current incarnation.
I lived in Houston for about 20 years. While there, I enjoyed learning about old buildings and Houston history. For example,
if you stand in fromt of the Rice Hotel, facing the intersection of
Texas and Main and look across the diagonal side of the intersection, there is a small building on the corner that for many years was a McCrory’s. I don’t know what it is now, but from 1911-1929, it was The Isis Theater. The Houston Chronicle once ran
a small story about the building in the mid 90s when a new buyer
was supposed to purchase the place. The paper ran a cool file photo
of the theater as it looked in the 1920s.
In the early 60s, my family and I would live in Bradley Beach for
the summer. About 4 or 5 summers. I know we went to this theater
because I remember it was nice but small. And besides, it’s located
right across the street from Vic’s, which is a shore landmark in it’s own way.
I really enjoyed my summers in Bradley. So much is gone now.
My sister-in-law grew up in Cranford and I believe she worked here
when she was in college. My brother and I saw “Young Frankenstein"
here and I believe I saw "Midway” here. Don’t recall musch else.
Although I lived in Hillside, I remember going to this theater in the mid to late 60s and early 70s but the only film I can remember seeing was “The Getaway”. This shopping center
was anchored by EJ Korvette’s and I also remember a little restaraunt called Howie’s opposite
from the theater. An interesting thing about the name “Blue Star”. I believe the Somerset Bus
Company, which had it’s depot on Rt 22 in Mountainside also used “Blue Star” as it’s logo.
Their buses ran primarily along Rt 22 to and from the Port Authority terminal in NYC.
When I was I kid, I found an empty Somerset Bus Company money bag as I was walking along Rt
22 over to the Two Guys store (anyone remember that?)in Union. Can’t remember where I put it, but the logo on the bag looked like the logo on the theater.
Sorry to ramble.
I saw “Jaws” at the Maplewood with my brother in 1976. That scene where that guy’s half-eaten head popped out of the bottom of the boat—geez, you talk about a collective scream!!
I saw “Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea” with my family when I was about 4 or 5. The last
pic I saw at the Union was “The Shootist” in 1976.
I went to the Roosevelt a few times in the early 60s. I saw “Sink The Bismark” and “The Lost World”. My parents grew up in Newark and
they told me what a nice place the Roosevelt had always been. Don't
remember much more about it.
I went to the Sanford theater in the 1960s. The only film I remember seeing was “The Time Machine” with Rod Taylor. I also remember there
was a vacant lot next door and my father told me he remembered a small bar or restaurant on the small vacant lot.
I don’t remember much about the interior but it was lot nicer than the Chancellor—that place was a dump.
I grew up in Hillside close by the Irvington border and in addition to the Mayfair in Hillside, I went to the Sanford, Castle and Chancellor theaters in Irvington. I remember seeing “Goldfinger”,
“Fail Safe”, and “A Shot In The Dark” with Peter Sellers. The last
pic I ever saw at the Chancellor was “Last Tango In Paris”. I was a
senior in high school and a bunch of us went to see it. We all thought it was the biggest piece of crap we had ever seen.
The thing I remember about the Chancellor was that it was always closed during the summer—I don’t think it was air-conditioned.
I grew up Hillside and went to the Mayfair many times. First pic I remember seeing was “The Blob” with Steve McQueen. I was about 4 or 5. Went to many Satuday matinees. That was a trip—a theater full of screaming, belching, candy-throwing kids!! Seems funny now.
I remember the lady that either owned or ran the place. I know my mother used to talk with her. I remember the Mayfair was overhauled in the mid-60s—new paint, upholstery, and carpets. For many years,
there was a restaurant next-door called “The Flamingo Diner”. Funny thing is, this place was always closed. It was leveled in the early
70s. The slot car place was called Tom Thumb Raceway and there was another one in Union. It was in a vacant Woolworth.