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You are correct, in your recollection regarding the original theatres' shadowbox screen surrounds at the Sunrise Cinemas. Both of the original houses had plywood surrounds, painted white, which were lit by concealed theatrical striplights with “General Cinema Blue” roundels (lenses) in them. We made a lot of extra income from changing those bulbs on maintenance calls.
The Hollywood Cinema, having been operated by GCC for a long period of time, also had a shadowbox screen with blue striplights. The Hollywood Cinema is still standing, however it has been closed for many years.
The Pompano Cinema, originally a Loew’s House, got the GCC shadowbox treatment when GCC took over. The Pompano Cinema, still standing as The Cinema nightclub (although gutted) was later twinned by GCC and lost the huge screen. Susequently it was quad-plexed.
The Riviera Theatre, in South Miami, had a similar screen, and was equipped for 70 mm. Again, it lost out when “plexing” became the economic reality. The Westchester Cinema, likewise, as well as the Lauderhill Cinema, another former Loew’s.
In later years, GCC hung blue striplights above the screen only, such as was the case at the Broward Mall (4) Theatres. Now demolished. The Coral Square eightplex received blue lights as well. The most recent ones, such as The Fountains, in Plantation, got blue gelled leko’s, mounted outside the portholes, focussed on the screen. And then slide projectors came along, showing advertisements, and the need for the blue screens was over. Ironically, the biggest player in the slide show ad game was a subsidiary of AMC, the competition.
Just an aside;
As I wrote this and the previoud post, I’m working in a projection booth with silenced 35 mm machines, showing “Dark Knight” on DVD, through a Barco NH12 Video Projector. It’s a better image than film ever was. I ran a film/video a/b comparison at an IATSE international convention, back in the 80’s. Film won, hands down. But this Barco’s another thing. Wow.
Weren’t the Michael Todd and the Cinestage at one time known as the Harris and the Selwyn?
I seem to remember The Concert for Bangladesh playing at the Carnegie in 70 mm…
The name change occured in about 1976, as the old Sunrise Shopping Center to the west of the theatre was torn down and the new “Galleria” was built by developer Leonard Farber. The Sunrise shopping center was essentially a “strip mall” as all of the shops gaced the outdoor covered sidewalk that ran the length of the property, interupted only by intersecting streets. When the indoor Gallerai was built, they had to build over the streets, hence the escalators and long walkways inside without stores on the sides. I started there in 1978, and the name had already been changed.
“Ego looking for a man” Ha ! Great description of Bush hog Singleton, (his nickname from the armed services).
Ron Eiben was the DM, a professional apple polisher. My understanding was that they made him the disrtict engineer eventually. After Stan died, the whole company went the way of most corporations: Reward incompetence with a promotion.
The Donna Summer film was “Thank God It’s Friday”. How that could’ve slipped through the memory cracks, I don’t know…
My guess is that the shopping center developer was in such a rush to get AMC out and begin work on the Kohl’s store that they probably bought out all the equipment along with the lease. I had spoken with the developer rep. on site, during the demolition and he said that AMC “wanted out, as it had not been performing to their satisfaction.” I tried, in vain, to get some of our local theatre equipment dealers to obtain the equipment, and the demo contractor even halted demo for a day so that we could attempt to save the equipment. Actually, he smelled money, if he could sell the stuff, and not trash them along with the building. But I understand that no one came through quickly enough to buy all that stuff. Oh well.
S. Porridge, you are very kind. The old journeyman projectionist that I took over from was an old timer named Joe Seeley. I think he had been there from the beginning. He had kept those Todd-AO’s in mint condition. They were, indeed, a delight to work with, although the newer kids didn’t have the patience and the understanding necessary to “baby” them along.
The last four channel magnetic print that I remember was the Donna Summer film (the name of which escapes me…) about the disco scene.
A few years later, I was engaged by THX as a reviewer of presentations of 70mm showings around S. Florida. Done in my “off” time, they would pay me to go and buy a ticket and sit through a new release, just to critique the projection and sound. I wasn’t too popular after I (had to) reported a nice big scratch in a 70mm presentation at a Womteco house (Dadeland) which was running 70mm on platters.
And people ask me why I won’t go to the movies today…
Al, Was the Omni, short lived as it was, merely a four? Perhaps I have it confused with the Atlanta Omni, but I thought it was a six. You must have wirked with Dennis (Manager) and Timmy (Projectionist). Remember when Phil Singleton was hired on as assistant regional manager, out of St. Pete? I think Don White was the regional manager at the time…?
Galleria Cinemas, formerly known as the Sunrise Twin Cinemas, has indded been torn down.
Opening as a back to back Twin theatre, the big house seated around 1100 and the smaller house seated in the nieghborhood of 600.
The smaller house, ironically, had 35/70 mm projection capabilities. The machines were Todd-AO DP70’s and they ran like a top. They had Ashcraft Core-Light carbon arc lamphouses and that booth was a real sweatbox. I was the projectionist there in the late 1970’s. The big house had already been twinned and was on platters. The small house still had the Todd-AO’s and the Carbon Arcs. The Todd-AO’s came from a theatre in Tampa, I believe it was called the Britton Theatre, GCC brought them over to Ft. Lauderdale. It had the full six track magnetic sound also.
Once GCC started twinning it, it went downhill. The seats in the former big house did not give a straight view of the new small high up screens. It was awful. After I left, I understood that they twinned the small 70 mm house as well, and eliminated the dual 70mm machines, using one for parts to keep the other one running in one of the twins that had been carved out of the large original house.
Gone. Torn down less than a week after it closed. Projection equipment inside, visible as the clamshell ripped the place apart.
Kohl’s Department Store going in on the site.
Originally known as Sheridan Seven Theatres, it opened as a freestanding building but had five more theatres added in recent years and stores and food court added out front where we used to have huge lines of patrons.
I was opening projectionist in 1985.
Having attended shows at the Glenwood Theatre when it was newly opened, and having seen it last year, it really should be allowed to slip away peacefully into the night. It’s a wreck. Save the Uptown !
The “restoration” of the Rialto Theatre was a fortunate method of delaying the demise of the theatre, however the work performed was far from being faithful to the original color scheme of the theatre. Alas, most of the draperies were removed at that time. Many of the drapes, including the organ grille swags, swags on the balcony sidewalls and most of the arches on the orchestra floor were still intact before the restoration. The grand drape header was in place, and parts of its ornamentation were used in the bland red replacement that was hung in its place
A lot of the gold leaf, creme, red and muted green colors were replaced with a more pastel color pallette at this time as well.
Unfortunately the side lobby exit, which resembled an outdoor Italian Garden, complete with blue atmospheric ceiling, was demolished in the early 1970’s to make room for a Navy recruitment center. It would have been great to see this element recreated at the time of the restoration.
There was a huge Gilt Clock in the lobby, right up until the time of the sale of the building from its original owners. There were also about six large Gold Leaf Throne chairs in the grand lobby also, which were sold to a Chicago Antiques dealer in the same time frame.
There was a “lobby organ” which consisted of several ranks (sets) of pipes, high above the Rotunda Lobby. This division of the organ was playable from the main organ console in the auditorium and was supposed to be used to entertain waiting patrons. The Lobby Organ pipe chamber was reached from the upper house left exit door hallway, through a plain wood door which opened onto the top of the lobby ceiling. The Blower for the pipes was situated here also.
The Rialto was, and still is, an absurdly beautiful theatre situated in a rural city, completely out of place in Joliet, as most theatres of this calibre were in larger metropolitan areas.
Shea’s Buffalo Theatre is also the home of one of the finest Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organs ever built by the neighboring Rudolph Wurlitzer Company, of North Tonawanda.
Factory sales reps. would occasionally use the “Mighty Wurlitzer” as a demonstration instrument to prospective clients that were representatives of many leading theatre chains of the era.
Fortunately, the instrument remains relatively intact in its original installation in the theatre. It must be heard to be believed.