Comments from DaveM

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DaveM commented about New Regal Theatre on Jul 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm

The Avalon will be open as part of the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago on October 18 and 19, 2014:

DaveM commented about Radio City Music Hall on Apr 7, 2014 at 9:04 pm

From the 4/2/14 NYT:

“Marc Platt, a lively and versatile dancer who had standout roles onstage and in films, including in the original 1943 Broadway production of “Oklahoma!” and as one of the virile young woodsmen seeking spouses in the 1954 film musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” died on Saturday in San Rafael, Calif. He was 100.”

“After his dancing career slowed in the 1960s, he spent eight years as the producer and director of Radio City Music Hall’s ballet troupe.”

DaveM commented about Patio Theatre on Aug 22, 2013 at 2:57 am

The Patio is changing from a sub-run to a revival policy, featuring films from the 60s, 70s and 80s, starting this September. The Patio will also continue to host the Northwest Chicago Film Society.

DaveM commented about New Regal Theatre on Aug 22, 2013 at 2:43 am

From David Roeder’s column in today’s Sun-Times:

A buyer has emerged for the landmark New Regal Theater at 1645 E. 79th St. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which has marketed the 2,250-seat auditorium for the eye-catching price of $99,000, said through spokesman Greg Hernandez that U.S. Equities Realty, its broker, has found a potential purchaser and is in the “due diligence” stage to determine if it can close a deal.

Hernandez declined further comment. The FDIC got the property through a bank failure. The last person to operate the theater was Regina Evans, the former Country Club Hills police chief, who booked some shows there but defaulted on her loans. She’s now due to be sentenced in a fraud scheme involving state job-training grants tied to the theater.

DaveM commented about United Palace of Cultural Arts on Aug 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I stepped inside last Sunday, and saw the console of the Robert Morton wrapped in plastic in the lobby. I heard the organ played at a THS Conclave (can’t remember whether it was ‘76 or the '80). I know the organ is listed on several organ websites as unplayable; the recent Times article states this is due to water damage. Anybody know what’s up?

DaveM commented about Keeping It Cool on Jul 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm

The article had a few other blows.

The Rivoli was hardly “brand-new” in 1925 when the Carrier system was installed — it was 8 years old.

And it did not have “the world’s first movie air conditioning system.” Mechanical refrigeration air-conditioning started appearing in 1917—the earliest examples cited are the Empire Theater in Montgomery, Alabama and the Balaban & Katz Central Park Theater in Chicago, both in October 1917. The early systems weren’t perfect. Humidity control and temperature wouldn’t be considered acceptable by today’s standards, and air was distributed via underseat ventilators which blew ice cold drafts over patrons' ankles. Nonetheless, B&K’s early installations at the Central Park and Riviera were hugely popular and B&K crushed their competition in summer months.

For those who are curious, Gail Cooper’s book Air Conditioned America is a good source. For a contemporary trade journal discussion of the Empire system, see (website address from a post by Tinseltoes on the Empire Theater page.)

DaveM commented about New Regal Theatre on Mar 23, 2013 at 3:22 pm

This has been listed on and off for months. The update reflects that the price has been cut from $500k to $100k(!) Very sad. Property records indicate the seller is the FDIC. I haven’t been in the theater since the late 80s just after its restoration by the Gardner family, but back then it was in spectacular condition. This is a close second to the Loew’s Paradise as my favorite theater.

DaveM commented about Public Theater on Nov 19, 2012 at 2:52 am

This was a splendid little theater. In 1979, I saw a pristine print of Orson Welles' Othello here, at a time when it was virtually impossible to see. It was on a double bill with Welles' latest, his last completed film, Filming Othello. Sadly, Welles' reputation was at its nadir then, and this historic booking got almost no press coverage.

DaveM commented about New Regal Theatre on Apr 28, 2012 at 5:11 am

From the Sun-Times:

DaveM commented about Academy of Music on Mar 5, 2012 at 4:20 am

No, sorry, I took no pictures. Plenty of photographers were with that group—it would be great if some pictures turned up.

DaveM commented about Academy of Music on Mar 4, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Sorry to all to off topic, but the Victoria was only fairly recently closed at the time of the 1980 THS conclave, and Loew’s shuttered it without pulling any equipment or powering down. I vividly recall everyone being startled—someone had gone up to the booth and threaded up the trailer for “The Exorcist” and ran it! We also were at the now demolished Harlem Opera house—the booth was full of deteriorating nitrate trailers.

DaveM commented about Academy of Music on Mar 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Movieplace—thanks for the memory jog—I’ve actually been to the Regent and Victoria, I believe at that great 1980 THS conclave. We may have even been to the Hamilton.

DaveM commented about Patio Theatre on Dec 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm

See the attached letter from Demetri Kouvalis on;

It would be a shame to lose the Patio at this point. We’ve been out to see Thor, Drive, Fast Five, Crazy Stupid Love, Puss in Boots, Back to the Future, Pirates and Columbiana since the Patio reopened, and we don’t even live in Portage Park. It would be a shame to lose the theater again.

Go Patio!

DaveM commented about Apollo's 2000 on Oct 17, 2011 at 12:40 am

Went to Open House Chicago. The interior of the theater is in very nice shape. The projection booth is still fully equipped, with three Simplex projectors with carbon arc lamps. I wish I had brought my camera—I wasn’t expecting the booth to be so complete. If anyone has pictures, please post!

DaveM commented about New Regal Theatre on Sep 6, 2011 at 3:03 am

From the front page of today’s Chicago Tribune.,0,4481922,full.story

The FDIC (which took over the bank which held the mortgage on the Regal/Avalon) may have acquired the theater in a foreclosure sale earlier this summer. If anyone knows for sure, please post!

DaveM commented about Patio Theatre on Jun 7, 2011 at 3:38 am

The Patio looked great last Friday. There was a large and appreciative crowd, and the projection and sound were excellent. The print of Thor was pristine as well—it looked brand new.

DaveM commented about Academy of Music on May 6, 2011 at 6:34 am

Re Warren Harris' 2/11/08 post about Judas Priest vs the Theater Historical Society Conclave: I was there and can vouch for the story. My recollection is that when we didn’t leave at JP’s first demand, they actually turned up the volume. (I’m not sure how—it was already at “11”.)

I haven’t really been following what’s been going on in Manhattan since I left in the mid 80s—the assault on the few remaining Thomas Lamb houses is disheartening. Is it possible that the only intact Lamb theaters in Manhattan are the Mark Hellinger and the 175th Street?