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Hi again Wally 75. Clearly you are related to Dotty since you have the same last name. Son? Husband?
Hey Wally 75. Sorry I didn’t reply until now. Yes, Dotty was the manager when I was there. Actually, I went through 4 managers. the first one I remember was an older man whose name I forget. Then there was a guy named Steve. Then a woman named Patty whose mother managed the glorious Bayshore Theatre (now a YMCA). Then came Dotty.
I worked at the Sayville Theatre from September of 1974 to February of 1976. At that time, it was one screen. You could see the screen from the lobby. The auditorium was large and the theatre had a balcony which, I suspect, has been converted for one of the four existing screens. Also, on the back wall of the lobby was a painting of some fish that reminded me of the “Nutcracker Suite” sequence from “Fantasia” with the fish swimming around in a kind of underwater ballet. I remember very well the time we showed a movie called “Brother of the Wind” – a G-Rated film about nature that was heavily promoted on TV the week before we showed it. It was a Saturday matinee. We didn’t know what was in store for us. A line started forming down Railroad Avenue and by the time we opened the box office it was bedlam. The cashier was selling tickets so fast that she was throwing the money on the floor. Showtime was 40 minutes late and we had a sold out audience made up entirely of kids. What a nightmare! We also showed a lot of off-beat things. I think UA, who operated the theatre at the time, used it as a kind of dumping ground for the, shall we say, less than mainstream movies. We showed both “Last House On The Left” and “the Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in their original releases – before they achieved their infamous reputation.
Vincent, while it’s true the end of the print say CINERAMA, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is always seen that way. Since it was shot for the Cinerama process of this time period, the Cinerama credit at the end of the film is part and parcel of the films ending credits. Prints made in various formats from the printing negative will all say Cinerama. The 1- strip Cinerama (as I understand it) used the 70MM format which was printed and/or projected in such a way as to make the image fit on the large curved screen without distortion, thereby achieving the Cinerama image without the use of 3 cameras and projectors. I’ve read that it doesn’t quite compare to 3 strip Cinerama but is stunning just the same. So, as I see it, technically, your friend is correct.
I am jealous of those who worked at the Cinema 150. Every time I went there I thought “Wow! I’d love to work here.” I did work in a UA theatre – The Sayville Theatre – now a triplex. We showed a lot of indies there. Some good. Most bad. And the occassional gem like Chinatown. We were four walled for “The Trial of Billy Jack” with a Taylor/Laughlin employee in the lobby to discourage free entry.
The 150 was a class act from start to finish. My partner thinks I’m a little too crazy about my love for this theatre. He’s never been there. It was always an event for me. Regardless of the film, the theatre itself and its operation was, for me, all part of the experience. Thank God I was able to see 2 of my all time favorites there. “Fantasia” (a great print with the original analog soundtrack in 4 track stereo – beautiful!) and “2001: A Space Odyssey” (a great 70MM print in either 4 or 6 track stereo – I can’t recall). I was awed by just how good the original “Fantasia” sountrack was with a good sound system and great acoustics. Finally seeing “2001” in 70MM was awesome (I still long to see it in one strip Cinerama). Once again, the theatre’s excellent sound system showed how refined a soundtrack it really was.
The 150 was truly in a class by itself here on Long Island.
Of course, it’s all about the money. It’s the way of the world. We’ll never see the likes of the Cinema 150 or the Syosset again.
Alas, I, too, morn the loss of both Syosset Theatres. I had a particular fondness for the UA Cinema 150. I was shocked and extremely disappointed when I learned of its demise. I began to wonder why it was no longer listed in the local theatre listings. I drove there to see what happened. I always admired the fact that the theatre was so accessable. A hop onto the Seaford Oyster Bay Expressway North to the last exit and Voila! The gold at the end of the rainbow!
Unquestionably, it was one of two great film theatres on Long Island. It always amazed me that the two were less than a half mile apart on the same road in the same town. If only more people knew of its impending fate. I don’t know if any attempts were made to save it. I’d like to think, in my own naive way, that there was such a movement afoot. It’s not just a loss to film goers. It’s a loss to the community. I recall the Bayshore Theatre on Main Street in Bayshore. A grand old house with a foyeur fit for a palace. A large plush lobby and an auditorium with box seats (no longer in use), a beautiful screen curtain, and a chandelier that looked like the space ship in the end of “Close Encounters”. If ever a place cried out to be a cultural arts center for film, theatre and concerts. What is it today? A YMCA. No slam here. It’s a great organization. But why this theatre?
And what of the UA Cinema 150? A gym! Like we don’t have enough of those. W'eve lost something so valuable in these theatres. Where can I go now to see a film in all its glory while situated in luxury? A mulitplex? I don’t think so.