Showing all 14 comments
When the Cineplex Odeon Glen Cove Cinemas first opened in the early 1990s, I was the one responsible for getting its licenses. back then the mayor of Glen Cove was so happy to have a theater in town again, there were hardly any licenses that needed to be gotten. All I had to do was put up Occupancy Limit signs for the auditoriums. I am looking for Ray the original manager, who I’m quite certain eventually moved to the Atlanta area. Through the Loews Cineplex years, I was responsible for code compliance and i did visit there a couple of times. The only violations we ever got was for failure to shovel snow or break up ice fast enough after a storm on the path outside the theater.
I used to deliver films in cans there when we were done with them at North Oaks 6 or Kingwood 2. Northline was in the next market pocket down the line. I am really impressed, dave-bronx, to see you posting on this one, ha ha.
Al, I worked at the Baronet /Coronet until 1994, and got licenses for theatre through 2000.
It is my recollection that from 1997-2000:
the UPSTAIRS (larger) theatre was called CORONET-1, and
the DOWNSTAIRS (formerly BARONET, on the right, or north, side) was then called CORONET-2.
Bill, it’s great to see you on this site. I was surprised to find your message to me here on the North Oaks 6 (I guess it’s where I last posted) rather than on the Gramercy. No, your e-mail addreess is not visible in your profile. I suggest you list your “favorite” theatres, starting with the Gramercy. Little by little I’ve been filling in reminisces about various theatres I had something to do with. I even remarked about the clanking radiator at 72nd St. East.
It’s a shame this site (CinemaTreasures.org ) isn’t more widely known yet. I’ve been lurking on Facebook vicariously wondering what’s been happening with my former employees both in New York City and Texas. But I’ve only been able to find a very few. I certainly would enjoy re-connecting with any of them who care to talk. THAT INCLUDES ALL MY FRIENDS WHO REMEMBER AMC’s KINGWOOD 2 and the NORTH OAKS 6. On aol, my screenname is BriForman.
The AMC NORTHOAKS 6 was the first movie theatre I ever worked at. I was Assistant Manager there in 1979 under the manager that trained me – Mario Marques. When i started in the business, Heaven can Wait was finishing its run and we played The Main Event, Woody Allen’s Manhattan, and Phantasm. The biggest movie while I was there (or just afterwards) was Raiders of the Lost Ark. As a new Asst Manager I would often lock myself out of the Managers' office and I would get back in by going through the ceiling tiles. I would land inside just as the head Usher prid open the Mgr office door with a credit card, and thus i earnerd the name “Superman.” I would also run lines on weekend evenings using a megaphone. since i was right behind the island box office, it bothered the cashiers like JanetT, who was really very sweet, but would always fiddle with the switch on the megaphone to embarass me. When i got promoted to another theatre, the staff gave me a plastic baby rattle of (Managers' office) keys, and a plastic megaphone with AMC emblazoned on it,souvenirs which i have unto this day. Some memories i have of the theatre are: Mario taught me how to high-speed roll quarters collected from game machines; one lady put her four-year-old under a blanket posing as an “infant” (1- and 2-yr olds get in free) went right to the ladies room and both came walking out. [in retrospect, two big feet made a fishy lump under that blanket.] As a newbie, i got in troulble when somebody walked out with the standee of Steve Martin in “The Jerk” with an arrow going through his head, because i had placed the lobby standee near theatre 1 which was too close to the theatre and mall exit. Across the way was the AMC CHAMPIONSVILLAGE 2, where aI subbed one day for i think “Apocalypse Now”. But after less than a year I was made Manager of the AMC Kingwood 2, where i stayed for 3 ½ more years.
It’s really been bothering me that in my post of Sept 26, 2006, I gave the wrong zip code for Fresh Meadows. It is actually 11365. I am so embarassed because i was trying to provide THE LAST WORD on the theatre’s address, and i said 11364 not once, but THREE TIMES! Will you all forgive me?
Ah, what a catharsis to finally confess my error!
I was a vacation relief manager at CINEMA 5’s 72nd Street East Theatre in winter of late 1983. [Tom Cruise made his debut in “Risky Business” while I was there. It was very cold that winter. A lot of cougars from the upper east side would come to the theatre to be warmed up by Cruise dancing in his underwear.] Rose Mansfield, the manager who was in her seventies back then, lived across the way on the NE corner and would watch the changing of the marquee from her window every Thursday night on her day off, then call the theatre to say a letter was crooked. Perhaps this theatre is best known for its singular CLANKING RADIATOR on the side wall of the theatre. Otherwise, it could be remembered for having the tiniest of snack bars, where there were delightful non-English speaking Asian girls with a shoe box, cash, and no coin nor cash register necessary.
I couldn’t believe how many customers I had to explain what Voyager was that became VEE-JAH in the movie. Many had never had heard of Voyager because in the years after the heydey of the space program, most of the focus of discussion was on the manned flights with astronauts.
When “my” theatre (I was GenMgr) the AMC Kingwood 2, Kingwood TX (listed on this site as Kingwood Twin), opened STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, we had the exclusive showing in the area, and we made the FRONT PAGE of the of the Houston Chronicle. We were very excited because we had all been fans of the TV show since our youth.
I had cheerleaders from the local high schools do a kickline as Trekettes before the screening, the walls were covered with Tribbles (made of cotton and yarn), we served Trania punch at the Concession stand, one doorman with a FuManchu moustache paintd himself green and was dressed as a Klingon and Doris the cashier was dressed as an alien proncess with antennae. (She looked like Marilyn Monroe, so she was the kind of alien Capt Kirk always would fall for). [Our Star Trek promotion was so much better than our lame one for Empire Strikes Back, or the Star Wars/Empire DF —when we fixed the lobby bullet trash can to look like R2D2.]
The theatre’s clientele included astronauts and kickers, including the son of famous country singer Roy Head. The son unfortunately later died in a car accident, but his brother Sundance Head was a contestant on American Idol.
Roy Head used to get mad at me for not letting his (now deceased) 13 year old son (older brother of Sundance) in to see R movies. It was a twin theatre—we’d play a PG on one side and on the other side, we’d play a G in the afternoon and an R in the evening. Roy’s son already saw the PG on Fri nite. So what was he to see on Saturday night? [i remembered a parent had got mad at me for the cashier’s letting their 16-year old see Brooke Shields swim in the nude with the boy in “Endless Love.” Roy didn’t want his son hanging out at Roy’s R+ rated honky tonk.
Anyway, at the end, Roy gave me one of his records a souvenir -45
entitled “The Door I Used to Close.”
Tinsel: The sentence says “WAS” a funky little two screen house. I was General Manager of the Waverly around 1987-1989 while it indeed was just that. I think that’s a very funny and apt description of the way it WAS. The place was usually packed while I was there. Everyone remembers LarryA the Doorman (he really loved India), BeeshamT the concessionist, and remember the girl concessionist who looked just like Geena Davis?
FILLING IN SOME MISSING YEARS FOR YOU…. I was manager of the Gramercy from when Splash (Darryl Hannah + Tom Hanks) was playing in 1983 until about mid 1986( when i was transferred to Park and 86th St.) This covered the period during which RKO Century Warner AND Cineplex Odeon Corp successively took over. Also during my period the renovation to the beautiful RED interior, inaugurating the Gramercy’s brief Cineplex Odeon “red period” mentioned in earlier posts. I helped design the renovation, however, i wanted an “island” concession stand that turned out not to be electrically feasible. Yes, i remember when Garth came and paced off the theatre. I remember Real Butter. We had Media educators Group every weekend (SaSu moirnings) and also a lot of Richard Brown NYU film classes, usually with guest speakers who worked on the films being shown.When the ceiling of the Murray Hill collapsed during Psycho II, the Gramercy quickly got 70MM projectors installed and we opened with the movie ALIENs, inheriting all the former Murray hill customers and transforming us overnight from a sorta B-run house (getting movies 6 months after they opened uptown)to a Grade A house.
From then on we were always busy. Evelyn P was the elderly cashier also Ida S and Rebecca S. Who could forget Gwen the concessionistwho kept the popcorn bin full and cleaned the kettle so thoroughly every night, and held the staff together?
One of the doormen, William, was an expert film buff. There are many colorful personalities,much more colorful than me, including a spy and a mini-skirted punk-pierced usherette, but I’ll let them voluntarily comment. Out in the front alcove area during the winter you could play the Variety Club Wishing Well, where i cut my teeth as Rhyme Man, but i owe that all to William who began with the rhymes due to his marketing expertise…“Drop a quarter in the glass, help a child, win a free pass.” was the first rhyme (that was his). “Dont walk by give it a try.” “See a movie for a quarter. it must gain speed before it hits the water.” (Those were mine) “ Wouldn’t that be groovy?..to see a free movie?” (that was his)…[i continued rhyming the movies at seveal other theatres until 1997.] The School of Visual Arts held Freshman orientation at the Gramercy every September. When i was at the Gramercy dates all the way back before the days of bag-in-the-box soda..at the beginning we had figal tanks. As a Motion Picture Pioneer, i am credited as bringing the Bin On Wheels to New York (from Houston). Previous to my return to NY, ushers were dragging dripping plastic bags through the aisles to pick up popcorn tubs and drink cups. When Garth came from Canada (bringing his gf’s pink blouses and purple skirt-ed concession uniforms and his required “Real Butter” and “ Cineplex OdeonGift Certificate” posters, he made sure to have all the filled garbage cans removed from being kept in the auditorium fronts of all the “RKO Cinema 5” theatres because having receptacles in the seating area was “treating the customers like garbage.” I never kept any bins on wheels in the audience area. However, in the Gramercy’s case where storage was a -problem we only had 2 non mobile covered trash cans in the back, but he had those removed too the day Cineplex took over. Soon Real Butter was replaced with Butter flavoring (we all said butter-flavored? [consumer affairs was a lot more powerful then]). Later came charging extra for extra squirts of Butter Flavoring.]
One of our first female ushers was a 19-yr old Rosie Perez who had not yet been a dancer on “In Living Color” nor begun her illustrious film career. We used to hire cashiers and concessionists from Baruch College (because they could add and subtract. The school of Visual Arts students became ushers, usually.
The Gramercy was sandwiched between Rivka opticians and a lingerie shop + pizza place who were all tenants of the Gramercy. I had to collect their rent. Nathan Rivka recently moved his eyeglass shop to E 27th St.
If there are any other peeps from my era, please add your reminisces.I would love to hear how YOU remember the Gramercy.
When this was the Worldwide Cinemas ($3 movies)— does anyone remember me “rhyming the movies” (1994-1995)and running the lines out front ?
“When the icebergs melted, and the waves currrled; What once was Earth, became known as WATERWORLD !"
”….is the movie to be seen, and coming attractions are on the screen..“
Name rhymes you remember, please.
I was responsible for this theatre’s licenses from 1989 through early 2006 – so i know the theatre inside out………….and for extra money, I also ran lines in front of the theatre on Fr/Sa eves from approx 1995 to 1997, where I “rhymed” the movies—you know, “Bette Midler keeps the expressway clean; and at 7:00 she’ll be on the screen.” “‘That Thing You Do’ is in theatre 1; go and see it you’ll have a lotta fun.”….
Does anyone remember me ?
It was busy in those years, and I helped sell out a lot of weekend shows. “People are coming all the way from Manhasset, to see (whatever the movie was)…with Angela Bassett.” We sold Bulk candy, coffee, and had hawking carts.
Often I was asked to chase the Mr. Softee truck away because it was said he competed with concession sales.
The Gemini Diner (later called Future Diner) next door was where a lot of managers and staff bought cheese fries. In ( i tHINK) the 1992 Presidential election, a campaigning Governor Bill Clinton visited blue collar Fresh Meadows at the Future Diner. I remember the theatre was ordered to put a “Welcome Mr. Clinton” sign on the marquee—there is a picture of that marquee somewhere. There were pictures of Bill Clinton in the diner for years afterwards. I would go in there for an occasional burger. It competed HEAVILY with concession. Many theatre customers went there over the years, getting discounts with their ticket stubs. The food was very good. And there was always some interesting altakokkas telling their life stories “at the counter” . The waiters were extremely patient and nice. It has been sadly vacant for over a year.
While i was there, Donald Trump often brought his family to the movies there, and parked his limo in the parking lot. I want to set a few things straight:
1. The certificate of occupancy address is:
190-02 Horace Harding Expressway [ although: Horace Harding BOULEVARD was strangely used for the other theatre (CINEMA 5- now demolished) on the NORTH side of the expressway.
2. The Fire Department and a lot of the Buildings Dept actually use
190-02 LI Expwy
on all other documents. It’s easier to abbreviate on their computer.
3. ALL of the following are acceptable:
Fresh Meadows, NY 11364
Flushing, NY 11364,
Fresh Meadows Qns, NY 11364 (my personal favorite)
Queens, Ny 11364
Fresh Meadows is like a “subdivision” of Flushing.
4.It is now known as AMC Loews Fresh Meadows; however that name is not yet legal. That’s because the advertising people who place ads in the paper don’t
know the legalities. It was NEVER officially known as LOEWS. [it SHOULD be known as the AMC Cineplex Odeon Fresh Meadows. The building still bears the Cineplex Odeon sign. ]
Since 1989, one MUST include the FRESH in the name—although pre-1989 it was known as the Meadows.
I knew or worked with many of the managers there: Ed, Anthony, Joe Mc, Barry, MikeG, Darwin…even GeorgeS.
Sadly, yes, the operation has deteriorated. It is true concession is definitely underutilized, and could be a bit more sanitary. The showtimes on the mylar are so small that no one of advancing age can see them anymore. That is really sad. Escalator to theatres 5, 6 & 7 is still frequently out of order. When i went there 2 weeks ago, the elevator (down to the basement rest rooms) halted suddenly while I was in it with some other people and it scared me half to death because it felt like another car landed on top of us. I told the current manager, whom i know. I know he will fix it.
The presentation is Ok, but the vibe is not as exciting as in the past when it was always busy and selling out. I too miss the use of curtains
One last thing: i strongly disagree with the notion cited that New Yorkers don’t read the NY Times, as quoted in this column as being attributed to the late former Meadows Manager Ed Bernhardt. I can attest, that many, many New Yorkers unto this day, still read the Friday NY Times and complain at the fresh Meadows if the listings are erroneous.
So how bout it ? Who remembers any of my rhymes ?
Please recite those you remember.
Tawk amongst yourselves.