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To the person who wrote in 2004 about Cinerama doing badly in Baltimore. Baltimore got on the bandwagon too late. 4 years too late. By the time it got to Baltimore it had already been ion D>C> & Philly many years before. We had a similiar experience here in the Boston area because it took a few years for Providence(50 miles) and Hartford(100 miles) to get Cinerama(3 strip). It did well in both venues but not as long as Boston. We then got Cinerama(70mm) in Worcester(45miles) and in Lawrence(35 miles). Did not do well. Boston did very well because it was in the big city, larger theatre and opened here 1st. Boston was the 5th Cinerama theatre(3 strip). Lasted from 1953 until the early seventies.
HAVING been to the Uptown a few times when it became a PORNO house. I was there the afternoon in( I believe) 1970-71 when it was showing I Am Curious Yellow when it got raided by the police and CH7 was outside filming everyone coming out for the night news. I believe the Uptown was still a single venue at that time. When was it twinned and how did they do that.
I remember the National Theatre in the mid50’s. It tried to become part of the chitlin circuit(Apollo-Howard. D.c) Uptown(philadelphia)ETC: The shows came in from the Apollo and were here for 7-10 days. There were not too many of them, and they were not successful and were cancelled. The theatre had a huge stage and was greatly under advertised and the area was beginning to become dangerous.
The Music Hall held one night charity premiers of many of the big films coming to Sack theatres. Some of them were Ben-Hor, Sound Of Music and Hello Dolly. The following week they would begin there at there respective [place. The Gary or the Saxon. The pr5ome reserved theatres in town were Th Gary, The Saxon. Then Music Hall and the Astor(The Ten Commandments and The Longest Day were the most notablt. The Paramount had one hard ticket that I recall and that was Scrooge The Musical with Albert Finney and I remember buying the $5 program book and leaving it betweem ,y seat and my wifes. I don’t know of any other downtown theatres having reserved seats excepy of course The Cinerama.
I never saw Earthquake at the Saxon but I did take my son there to see Battlestar Galactica in sensurround. I did see Earthquake at shppers world in Framingham and Midway and Rollercoaster in Braintree. In all 3 theatres the speakwers for the rumbling bass were behind the last row of seats and you saw them as you walked in. It didn’t bother me a bit. Framingham was the 1st New England theatre to install sensurround. Sack/USA was too cheap to let Universal install it so they left it up to General Cinema. Sack/Usa didn’t even invest money to fix or clean up there theatres. General Cinema eventually let this happen to them. The neatest chain here was Lockwood&Gordon(no downtown theatres though, only in the suburds. They kept nice theatres until they sold out to Sonderling who let them fall apart.
If any one wanted a sleezy theatre they should have gone to the Stuart St theatre. The only movie theatre I ever went to that the Projection Booth had to shoot at such an angle around a pole holding up the booth. The only other theatre I have ever been in that hjad a worse Keystone was The RKO Keiths in downtown D.C. There booth was so high and far away that it shot down a very steep angle.
I Remamber going to see The Tingler at the Pilgrim. It was thwe only theatre in downturn willing to wire sonme seats for shock. What fun. The Pilgrim was also home to a lot of the first B&W 50’s two bit Alan Freed Rock movies. She was a grand OLD PALACE in the 40’s & 50’s. Its a shame that it was torn down instead of saved and refurbished.
As a kid going to the orpheum was fun.. We lived in the suburbs and my mother did not drive. We would take the train from Scituate to South Station, go shopping and always have lunch somewhere. Then we would take in a movie. The 1st movie I remember seeing at the Orpheum was 7 Brides For 7 Brothers. This was not only a great movie but the Projection and the sound were both clear and crisp on that beautiful big Cinemascope screen. I remember also going there in the 70’s for a 70mm stereo sound re=release of 7 Brides and also a 70mm re-release of Fox’s The Girl Casn’t Help It. Probabloy the best rock movie 50’s music ever. Jayne Mansfield sure filled that big Cinemascope screen. I just read in the paper recently that they are going to invest several million into sprucing up this grand old dame. Hope it works.
If my memory is right I believe that the Orpheum theatre ran the movies(mostly MGM) for 2-3 weeks first and then they transferred to the State for another 2-3 weeks before going to the suburban theatres.
Having been to the Walter Reade(CHAZRLES CINEMA) many times I felt it was a great place to see movies. The screen was huge(Coolidge Corner and The Metropolitan(MUSIC HALL) were bigger screens and the Stereo Soun was wonderful especially on 70MM screenings. Ryans Daughter was beautiful as was Star Wars. But my fondest memory was the night in 1972 when my wife and I went to see Deliverance(which we walked out after the male rape scene)but had to sit through a preview of Pete and Tillie(which was cute) with Carol Burnett. Carol was there along with director Martin Ritt. Carol and Martin were very open and friendly and the sat right behind us. This was a fun night. I loved the Charles but when Sack took over they let it go to hell just like everything else they took over. Especially after they became USA.
The Old Victoria theatre in N. Scituate still stands. It is noe the office for a painter, landscaper etc. It didn.t close until the 30’s after the Satuit Playhouse was built and opened with sound, The Victoria owner didn’t think sound would catch on so he kept his movies silent along with Millie Whorff on piano. I guess he was stubborn and lost and shut the theatre down.
Having been stationed at North Island in 1961-1962 in the great city of SanDiego I had the privelege of being at the Grand Opening of the Cinerama Theatre for the premiere of The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm. What a beautifuil theatre. The reason I mention this is that I am from Scituate, Mass some 3000 miles away and when I walked into the lobby I bumped into the owners, Mr lockwood & Mr Gordon. I did not know that they had buily this new theatre. I was friendly with them because being from there home territory(New England) and a lot of my movie going was at there equally beautiful but many years older Satuit Playhouse in my hometowm, I was also Mr lockwoods paperboy from 1954-1955. This was a real surprise. I was really disappointed when they sold there theatres and the new company diced them up in multi-plex bandboxes. While in SanDiego I also had the pleasure of watching big movies i yhe beautiful California theatre and the Capri. The only theatre that was not that beautifyl was the flat floored big screen, good stereo four brick walled FOX where I sa The Music Man.. I do hope that they have saved some of the downtown theatres.
I ONLY went to the Beacon Hill 2 time. One time to see The Towering Inferno because Westgate Mall was sold ot and the other time was to see THIS IS CINERAMA re-release. My wife and I were so disappointed that it was in single projector panavision and no stereo that we walked out After I got Home I was so dissapointed and mad that I sat down and wrote a 7page letter to Sack theatres explaining my distress. About a week later I received a letter with 12 passes to any Sack theatres for free. Sack/USA theatres sure let their properties fall into disrepair didn’t they.
Having been going to the Astor since about 1950 I found it to be one of the most uncomfortable seating wise next to the Exeter. When they installed Cinemascope in 1952-53 they had one of the biggest screens in town. The biggest were the Metropolitan and the Lowes Oprpheum. The biggest was actually the Coolidge Corner(inside) and the Avon Drive-In outside. They had one of if not the best early stereo sound systems in the city. I remember all the big coming attractions billboards advertising coming events. The add for the Ten Commandments and The longest Day were up for weeks before opening.The last movie I saw at the Astor was a 3D showing of The House Of Wax in 1972-73 on New Years Eve. It was fun for me and the wife because neither one of us were into clubs. I do believe that The Stewardesses in 3D never showed at the Astor. It played at the Music Hall during its downside. I remember taking my girlfriend(now my wife) and we both walked out halfway through. I also remember going to the Orpheum for a re-release in the late 60’s of a 70mm blowup of The Girl Can’t Help It and also of 7 Brides For 7 Brothers. They had a huge screen and fully curved because these were originally 35mm Cinemascope films. There were several 70mkm equipped theatres downtown before and after Sack took over. The Cinerama, Lowes Orpheum, Metropolitan.Astor RKO Keiths and maybe others. After Sack took over we had the Gary, Saxon, Capri and I believe the Paris. Also we had the Walter Reade with a huge screen. Saw many big films there like Ryans Daughter and Star Wars.