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I also was a Bensonhurst citizen and went to the Oriental more times that I can remember. The Oriental name is not necessarily a slam ss just a term for the East as Occidental is a term for the West. Further, if any one wants to know some more trivia Boral is for Northern and Austal is for the South.
Vic Damone, who took his mothers maiden name is originally Vito Farinola. I’m 5 years younget that him but we grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same High School, Lafayette, which, by the way, was where Larry King went at the same time I did.
Vic had a sister, Teresa, who I dated as a kid but it didn’t last long as she was taller than me and I still didn’t grow to my full height until the later years. I sort of remember Vic coming back and doing a performance but I didn’t realize it was at the Oriental. That would have been the one and only live show that I knew was there. The live shows were usually at the Senate and the Walker. And as far as I can remember they were all Italian Radio shows taken to the live theater. I took my grandmother to a few even though I did not understand any Italian with the exception of usual cus words. One of the radio shows I remember was “Pasquale COD”. I kind of figures it was the Italian version of either The Life of Riley, Amos and Andy or Fiber Mcgee and Molly. In any event the crowd roared and I even began to laugh along with them as the laughter was infectionous.
Those were the days my friends.
Warren: Thanks for the pictures. Someone, way back, said they had a DVD of the inside of the Oriental. He promised to send me a copy but I never heard back from him. I will blow up your still and show my kids. Again, thanks
Warren: I only made the comment because I’ve seen postings about you using other names and stirring up some heat on the site. Of course I’d like to see the images so that I can share them with the younger members of my family. My skin may be thicker than yours and so be it. I just like peace and if you feel the same then you’ll take whatever is said with a grain of salt.
It’s been a while since I signed into this site. It appears that Warren is still making waves. He must have a boring life an uses Cinema Treasures for his excitement. I was born and bred in Bensonhurst. 79th Street and 18th Ave to be exact. Even though the Hollywood was my theater of choice because it was so close but I still favored the Oriental. It was like going to the city to the “big” theaters. I read that some cannot understand why developers do not re-create the past because of parking etc. When I was young we had an ingenious method of travel. We used our two good legs and hoofed it where ever we traveled. The parking was solved because we park our legs under the seats. Some times, when the person was too tall in front of us, we sat on our legs. For the more distant theaters we used the trolley, the bus or the el. No need for parking. Alert! Those means are still available it’s just laziness that prevents their use. Now for my sadness. I never had the means to take pictures of the interior of the Oriental. GerardC’s story brought tears to my eyes. I left Brooklyn in 1961 when I was 28. I often tell my kids, grand kids and great grand kids what the “old” Theaters looked like. If anyone has any pictures of the interior of the Oriental please contact me as I would love to share them with my family.
We can’t always use the tired blame by placing “stuff” on teenagers. Example; I’ve lived in Arizona for over 40 years. One of my hobbies when I arrived here was to seek out ghost towns. Arizona is loaded with them. I discovered many and some appeared to have been abandoned just days before I arrived which is actually not the case. I walked through the towns not disturbing anything. There were shelves with can goods and tables with dishes and silverware just as they were placed when the buidings were inhabited. I left everything undisturbed. I returned twenty years later and it appeared that the town never existed. All that was left were the foundations. All I can say is I was glad I got to see the town before the dumb adults pick it bare for their souveniers. My kudos to the unlucky homeless that had the sense and decency to live and let live. Theaterat tell you buddy I said thanks.
I met with Americo on Sunday and bought ten seats. The seats are in very good condition and I recommend them and the seller, Carl.
Are the seats still available and do you have a photo I could view? I will be in Mesa this weekend, May 15th.
The Senate Theatre brings back memories. As a young boy my main mode of transportation was my bike. I used to hand out in an ice parlor that was right next door to the Senate. One afternoon as I was parking my bike a man approached me and asked if I wanted to be in a movie. He said that if I came with him that he would get the right papers so that I could get paid. All I had to do was ride my bike and throw a newspaper. Not only would he pay me but I would get to keep the bike that they would supply. All I could think was that this guy was a pervert and I told him to shove off or I’d call the cops. About an hour later and acquaintance came in and said that he was going to be a movie. We all laughed. Later we found out that his parents had already inked the deal and it was a fact. In fact his parents had already received $100 for the bit part. The movie was the Kiss of Death with Victor Mature. Heck I could have been a contender. But I think that was already said.
Hollywood memories. There are so many and I definitely am not the writing expert. Saturday was my day. The movies cost all of 7 cents. With that you received two movies, at least two serials and of course the very popular races. The races would be of crazy people going through obstacles courses or car races that were more like demolition derbies. Each racer, car or person, wore a number. This number would be on a ticket that was given as you entered the theatre. The winning numbers would go on stage and receive a token prize. It wasnâ€™t the prize but the acclaim by your friends for being the lucky winner. As they would say â€œyou lucky dogâ€.
If I went to the movies during the week you could only get in after 3 pm. Then youâ€™d have to sit in the childrenâ€™s section which always had a matron watching over us. At 6 pm all children were â€œsupposedâ€ to leave. Weâ€™d ask to ask adults to buy our tickets so that we could go in after the designated hours.
I remember that they would put the film canister out by an exit door on 78th St. for the pickup and delivery of the films. Could you imagine that happening today? I never heard of anyone stealing the films. What a tragedy if that happened. The public would be without a movie for the next few days.
When December 7th came I was in the movie with my friends. They stopped the film and the theatre almost completely emptied. I wish I could remember the movie.
If I remember it was on Wednesdayâ€™s when they had dish night. They would give one dish per ticket. My mother and grandmother were regulars for this night. We ate off these dishes forever. My mom even gave my wife and me a full set when we got married. I eventually gave them away but I understand that they have real value today. When someone dropped a dishes there was always a big round of applause. Rarely, but not often, the Hollywood would have some form a stage entertainment. It was usually an Italian radio showâ€™s soap opera actors. This didnâ€™t happen very often as the Senate and the Walker had that venue pretty covered up. The big Italian soap opera was a show called â€œPasquale C.O.D.â€ They also had some operatic singers come through from time to time.
I also remember that after the movies I had to pass Freytagâ€™s on 79th and 17th. If I could Iâ€™d stop for the best ice cream cone on earth. This too has passed into oblivion.
I canâ€™t remember when it became the Hollywood Terrace. I know that I attended a few weddings there and if I remember, I think it became a dance hall somewhere along the line. When it first opened as a catering hall the builders/owners didnâ€™t level the theatre floor and it was a joke. That lasted a very short time and the floor was leveled. Many wonâ€™t remember that because it last only a â€œNew York minuteâ€.
I hope that this has jogged a few memories.
Thanks for listening.
Reading all the posts on the Oriental sure brought back fond memories. I was raised on 79th and 18th. My youth was about movies. I remember the Hollywood, Benson, Oriental, Walker, The Garden, The New Garden, The Kingsway, The Marlboro, The Jewel (showed three movies)and the many theatres in the city that all had live shows. The Hollyuwood was a favorite because on Saturday it held the crazy races and had loads of cartoons and serials. What else could a youngster asked for? I’m in my 70’s now and in Arizona but I still have a love for good old Broohlyn and Besonhurst. I’d love to have some interior pictures of the old stately lady.