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There’s a shot of the Sutton towards the end of “The Devil’s Advocate” (to be precise, it’s 1 hour 56 minutes into the film).
WED30JAM13, 8:05ACST The last movie I watched in this house was Tom Tryon’s “The Other” some time in 1972. I wish I could remember more about the place.
Correction to the above: The lady I spoke with was a granddaughter of the Rook family, not a daughter. Wrong generation on my part.
SAT15JAN2011, 1:05P CST
Just met a lady who works at Lowe’s here in Irving, Texas . She’s a daughter of the Rooks and worked in this very theatre when she was a very young girl. She said they also had houses in Erick, Oklahoma and Gainesville, Florida.
P.S. The term I used, “In the Booth” harks back to an article that was in Box Office magazine by a man named Tony Francis and some of us who worked in the projection booth took to using it. Again, I sure didn’t mean to mislead.
Oops! A misunderstanding here. The years I spent working in the movie theatre industry weren’t here in Irving. All that was in California. I was responsible for any and all projection equipment in houses from Calexico to Sacramento and lived in San Diego. I came here to retire. I loved the business back then and am always interested in old local houses and their history. I sure didn’t mean to mislead. I’m going to try to get over and jaw with Mr. Seay in the next couple weeks.
I took your advice and called Mr. Seay. What a wonderful and friendly source of information he is! I’m going over there to jaw with him in person as soon as possible. He says that the house on E. Irving Blvd. was also called the Irving and that it opened after the older house on Main St. closed. He also said that it ceased operation as a theatre and became a movie filming studio but he couldn’t recall just when that happened. I myself was “in the booth” just a bit shy of 30 years (the first 7 as a rank-and-file projectionist, the remaining time as a roving chief projectionist) and I knew at first glance that the building on E. Irving Blvd. was a theatre at one time. I think film emulsion and projector oil must get into the blood in the movie theatre industry just like printer’s ink is said to do in the newspaper industry. Those were some of the happiest years of my life. After a heart attack and a stroke, I don’t think I could take the pressure and the stress that’s involved any more, but it sure was fun.
I remember the Galway; never was inside though. I worked for Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres for a long time and serviced the projection equipment at the Optic several times. It seems to me that it was across the street and a few doors away but I can’t remember in which direction. That was back in the ‘70s through the '80s and those memories are getting dim (a stroke didn’t help much either). I always found that old part of town really interesting. A lot more history down there than folks realize.
Even though it’s been gone for 28 years, it’s still stange to me that what was once Plaza Street is now a sidewalk. Just as a bit of useless trivia, Plaza Street, in the early ‘70s, was a one-way street going east to west (4th to 3rd). It was later reversed to make circling the Plaza a bit more difficult. As I say, useless trivia to any who weren’t there then.
To all: The link in 19JUL09 posting to the theatre organist page is indeed no longer any good. Tried it again just today (WED05MAY10, 6:05PCST) Oh well …
Dear Jack Ober
If you’re referring to the link I posted above for the Dennis James recordings, I just tried it and it works perfectly. I also went over to my neighbor, who uses a completely different ISP, and it worked perfectly from there as well.
Thank you very much C Walczak. I was beginning to think I was going crazy.
Does anyone remember a house called, I think, the Fine Arts? I don’t think it was a very attractive house and was told it had once been an army theatre. It may have even been a quonset hut; I just really can’t recall. I was sent there a couple times by Mr. Tate of Walnut Properties when I was installing the 35mm equipment at the Pussycat at 56 N. Van Ness Ave. back in 1983 (the Pussycat is now closed). The memory of the place that I think was called the Fine Arts is very, very dim. In fact, I can’t even remember if it was a porn house or not. Can someone help me out?
Does anyone remember a multi-screen house in Tulare called the Tower Square Cinemas? I think it had four screens. The manager’s name was Randy Schull. I was sent there a couple times for service calls by Mr. Tate of Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres (and no, the Tower Square Cinemas never showed porno as far as I can recall. Walnut Properties/Pussycat Theatres did have some houses that were not porno).
Walnut Porperties/Pussyact Theatres either owned or had the master lease on this house for a while (no, it never ran porn as far as I know). I was at this house two or three times on service calls on orders from Mr. Tate in the early or mid ‘80s. It seems to me that the first name of the man who leased this house from Walnut was Russ. They were always having platter problems due to projectionists with happy hands. Just for the record, the platters were Chrisite AW-2 and the house had two screens at the time.
To All: I apologize for all the typing errors. I had a stroke last year and my typing still isn’t what it used to be. If you cut-and-paste the link below, it should take you to the Dennis James page of “The Puget Sound Pipeline” where pictures can be found of the two LPs I have.
“Puttin' On the Ritz"
1. Puttin' on the Ritz
2. The Japanese Sandman
3. Do, Do, Do
4. I Got Rythm
5. Warsaw Concerto
6. The Great Esacpe March
1. Victory at Sea Suite
2. Duke Ellington Medley: Sophisticated Lady; Don’t Get Around Much Any More; Mood Indigo
3. La Danza
Dennis and Heidi performed every piece on the above LP at that concert at the old Fox in San Diego so many years ago.
Dennis James At the RTOS Wurlitzer: Theatre Organ Selections
1. If My Friends Could See Me Now
2. Butterflies in the Rain
3. Colonel Bogey March
4. Raining in My Heart
5. Danse Macabre
1. Maple Leaf Rag
2. Glenn Miller Medley: Moonlight Serenade; Pennsylvania 6-5000; Serenade in Blue; Chattanooga Choo-Choo
3. American Patrol
4. George Gerswhin Medley: Someone to Watch Over Me; Fascinatin' Rythm; I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise
Again, Dennis performed all of these numbers on that wonderful Robert Morton 4/32 at the San Diego Fox (to me, it will always be the Fox regardless of the name change to Copley Symphony Hall). I’ve seen this LP on E-Bay, but have never, ever seen “Puttin' On the Ritz” anywhere at all.
(continuing with the above; I hit the wrong key) It is titled “Dennis James at the RTOS Wulitzer: Theatre Organ Selections”. I have also recorded it into a lossless wave file. Again, no date as to when it was recorded.
I have an LP recorded by Dennis and Heidi James titlted “Puttin' on the Ritz”. Dennis is at this very organ and Heidi is on piano. I bought it after a concert they performed at the old Fox Theatre in San Diego (now Copley Symphony Hall) back in the early or mid ‘70s. I have no idea when it was actually recorded but Dennis announced that it was a very limited pressing and that when what was in the lobby then was sold, there would be no more. I made sure to have him autograph the one I bought. On the back it says: Dennis James Productions, c/o The Ohio Theatre, Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio 43215. As I say, there is no date. I just recorde3d it into a lossles wave file yesterday along with another that I also puchased at one of his San Diego concerts (this one some time around 1972 or 1973).
Yes, that’s the cabrillo.
Believe it or not, Walnut Properties either owned or leased the Optic Theatre in its last days. It was running as a grindhouse and was not showing x-rated. I was there a few times for service calls and repairs. By that time (some time between 1978 and 1981) it was in bad shape and had some scary clientele (and I don’t scare easily). The projector heads were Simplex E7s, the lamphouses were Peerless Magnarc xenon conversions done by Leonard Pincus and the pedestals were those old, heavy cast-iron Simplex 5-point pedestals. The screen had been torn so many time that Mr. Miranda and Mr. Tate had pegboard installed and painted white. On one of my calls, I remember an episode of that awful “T. J. Hooker” show with William Shatner was being shot in a nearby parking lot. I was told that the Optic was one of the first houses in Los Angeles to install sound; I have no idea if that’s true or not.
Someone above mentioned a house with a glass screen. One of my projection mentors, a Mr. William Rankin, told me many years ago of a house in Los Angeles that had a sandblasted mirror for a screen and that it weighed several tons. I sure can’t remember what house he said it was.
I was just watching some clips from San Diego On-Line. Some folks are still insisting that the waterfalls are part of the air conditioning system. You know what? I defy anyone to demonstrate just exactly how those waterfalls are in any way connected to either one of the two huge fans that are in the building. There’s one in the basement that pushes air into the auditorium and there’s another in the dome that pulls it out. Neither one is connected to either waterfall in any way. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. I also notice that Steve Karo, who started the Save Our Balboa in the first place is never mentioned once.
This is one of the few houses owned by Walnut/Pussycat to which I was never sent and never even saw. There was another in, I think, Eagle Rock.
Actually there wasn’t balcony at the Strand. That was an area to the left of the projection booth where someone had literally cut a hole in the wall and put a piece of thick plexiglass in it and placed a couch in front of it. There were a series of rooms upstairs which had been two small apartments with one bathroom (never could figure that one out). I don’t know when they ceased to be apartments, but they became the manager’s office and store rooms. I really don’t know how that little sitting area worked into the shceme of things, but it was never a balcony. The first time I was ever in the Strand in 1974 (to run the special showing of “Woodstock”) that viewing window wasn’t there, so it had to have been done some time between 1974 and 1982 or ‘83 which is when Walnut took the place over and it became on of my responsibilities.
The Pike!! Now there’s a name I haven’t heard spoken in many, many years.
P.S. When Andy and Charlie bought the Aztec, they bought it from the Russo (sp?) family. Preferred had gone out of business. I distinctly remember Mr. Walker commenting that they had done him out of his retirement when they went out of business.