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Hi Jean — how are you? And how about Tim, Debbie, etc? As I wrote earlier, I worked at the Meadowbrook for a little more than a year in the early 80s when you were the manager … this was when Neil Esposito was there (didn’t he play in Tim’s band, A2Z?) along with, hmmm lets see, Donna Koch, Stephanie, Maria, jeez, wish I could remember more. Anyway, it was a fun job even if we never made more than minimum wage. ;–)
Yes, plus you must have been that cool manager I mentioned got me into the theater occasionally! So thanks for that! Small world, huh? I worked at the Meadowbrook around 84-85… Any idea whatever happened to the various Staraces? (Jean, Tim, Debbie Spugna, etc…?)
Hey Bob — Which theater did you manage, and when? I never made a penny more than minimum wage in my year-plus working at the Meadowbrook, so the free tickets were the only real perk (other than all the popcorn you could eat). But it probably was my favorite crappy high-school job — met a lot of cool people, saw some great movies, and learned to deal with the public working every position — usher, concessions, ticket booth, ticket taker — even took the calls from all the regional UA theaters with their nightly box-office figures! Lots of late nights riding my bike home from work in the dark, but at least I had a friend who worked at the diner across the street who would hook me up with free fries occasionally!
Jean did run a tight ship as manager at the Meadowbrook, and doing things like creating a giant x-wing fighter for the lobby for Star Wars made going to the movies special.
Meadowbrook was a quad for many years — the big, original screen 1 in front, plus a later addition that included another large house in back (screen 2) and two smaller rooms (3 and 4). I never went there when it was a “six” but I suspect they either converted the balcony of screen 1 to a separate theater or cut up some of the bigger rooms. What a shame that would have been. Or did they add on two more?
In my mind the best theater on LI was not the Meadowbrook but the Cinema 150 in Syosset — a huge place with an enormous screen and another dedicated manager — whose name I don’t recall but who was always nice about letting poor teenage ushers into the movies for free. ;–)
I worked at the Meadowbrook as an usher and at the concession stand for a few years in the mid-80s … It was your typical mimimum wage job but a cool one, nonetheless. A job like that definitely teaches you some people skills, from dealing with customers complaining that you shortchanged them on their popcorn butter to easing belligerent drunks out of the lobby.
The balcony in theater one was still operational when I was there — for movies like Return of the Jedi and ET we would open it, but usually was closed, although you would sometimes find the ushers up there watching a movie or having a drink or smoke. The best times were always the midnight movies, when the really interesting crowds came out to watch Eraserhead, Rocky Horror, The Song Remains the Same, etc. For many years we adopted the former Mini Cinema Rocky Horror crowd, who would come in costume equipped with all the standard props — toilet paper, water guns, playing cards, etc. Always left quite a mess, but we didn’t have to clean up after the midnight shows. ;–)
Jean Starace was the manager there for many years, and she ran the place like her own fiefdom. Her son would make the models and lobby props to promote the shows, including a great X-wing fighter for Star Wars. He also did the memorable United Artists movie promos for Midnight Madness and designed the mascot and T-shirts.
Good times …