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Last night I went to a showing of the Original 1953 “It Came From Outer Space” in 3D. What an experience! This has quickly become my favorite movie house in Connecticut. You won’t find this atmosphere in any shoebox cinema!
For me, the good old days were when the RIVOLI or RIALTO would show one double feature on Monday and Tuesday, one on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and one on Saturday and Sunday. And all those glorious posters beckoned your attendence outside the buildings! Nowadays, I expect a major relsease on Wednesday, a Pay-For-View on Friday, HBO on Sunday and the DVD sometime a week later or so.
Thanks for the “warning”, Carl! I kind of assumed DVDs might be used, but was hoping against it-I will plan to attend, unless the quality is very poor-I’ll let you know after tonight!
In the seventies, I had the option of visiting many Drive-Ins in my local area. Some of these were: the Norwalk Drive-In in Norwalk, the Candelite-Pix in Bridgeport, the Milford Drive-In in Milford, the Bowl Drive-In in New Haven, and more. I was not married at the time. My wife had access to several Drive-Ins in the opposite part of Connecticut. All these are sadly gone, most with no reminders that they ever existed except for the memories of those who were there. There is a Drive-In worth visiting in Conencticut that still stands-the Pleasant Valley Drive-In in the Barkhamsted-New Hartford area. However, due to the inhibitive prices of gas, I suspect most of the customers are locals.
Ironic that this should come at a time when the Poll discussed Batman and his villains. Stan was a large part of the success of Danny Devito as THE PENGUIN and Michelle Pfeiffer as CATWOMAN , and very responsible for the look of Gotham City in BATMAN RETURNS. Personally, since I was a kid, I went crazy over movies with dinosaurs. Though I prefer the simpler storylines of fifties sci-fi, JURASSIC PARK made me feel as if I had,at last,really met dinosaurs!
Believe it or not, Sept. 11 is my birthday! What a present this would be! I’ll have to start working on the family….
Now that my excitement is over, I have to confess I must be an idiot! I only now realized you are speaking of Norwalk, OH-not Norwalk, CT!! There are a few defunct movie theaters in that city and I imagined it was one of them, until I re-read the article. Wish I could be joning you!
Hooray! My office is very close to that site! However, I’ll have to travel to Bridgeport and back for my wife and daughter if I am fortunate enough to attend-Hope to be there!
I went to college in New Haven in the 70’s and it was a real “college town” then. The York Square Cinemas (at times) at the LINCOLN, always, played revivals and many of them to packed houses. I still recall a Bogie Festival at York Square when every possible seat was taken, and all the way up the aisle people were standing or sitting as best they could. I have seen those same Bogie movies many, many times on TCM, video, and DVD, but the experience is just not the same. I am tired of the junk thrown at us in the cinema nowadays. York Square and Lincoln are long gone. Just before York Square closed for good, it held a mini-Bogie festival. My wife, daughter and I practically filled up the auditorium. Times sure do change!
As I recall, I viewed the movie at the Merrit Theater, on Main St. in Bridgeport, a theater rhat no longer exists. I also saw it at the Showcase in Orange. My first reaction was to immediately purchase the LP, which has since disappeared into that mystical world where all fondly-remembered keepsakes go. I have never looked at mashed potatoes the same way since!
I disagree that all Churches are out to make a buck, but that’s another discussion. I’d just like to say that 9/11 had a horrific impact on me. For one thing, that was my birthday. For another, I’ll never forget that, even as the second plane slammed into the Tower, I had to attend an important meeting at work. My thoughts were of my wife and child, and how I could get to them. No one in that room wanted to be at that meeting. Our minds and hearts were elsewhere. I have a large collection of films, especially B-movies, B-westerns, and science fiction, which serve to make my spare moments more enjoyable, but somehow, these seemed very unimportant at the time. In a time of real Crisis, a simple thing like a movie or a movie theater becomes just what it is: something to serve to entertain in our spare moments. The real things of value became very clear that September morning.
However, as film making goes, I’d sure love to return to the days when movie houses dotted the neighborhoods and a family could choose from any one of several movie choices and walk in right off the street and not have to worry about the content or theme-just relax and be entertained. Though I haven’t seen it yet, I’m thankful there are films out there like “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” that prove a G-rated movie does not have to be a cartoon. Now, if the writers could only start telling good stories again. I recently corresponded with a writer who did a biopic about a famous husband and wife team whose faith was an integral part of their lives. The studios told the writer the script would never sell unless the part about faith was omitted. These types of choices are very wrong for this country if we are to survive and prosper in a post-9/11 world.
When multiplexes start being torn down (which has occured in our area, also), then I guess I must finally admit the day of the old-fashioned one-screen neighborhood theater is gone.
I applaud you for the “Then and Now” concept. I wish some of the plexes-with-too-many-screens in my area would devote one of their “surplus” screens to such an idea. I hope you do financially well and continue to be innovative in your programming!
How I wish it were the LOEW’s POLI-MAJESTIC in downtown Bridgeport!
I am thankful for all your comments and have learned a lot from all of you. I would like to add a small reply to Joe Masher, one of the earlier ones to comment: I definitely will visit the CRITERION, in my old college town, New Haven-It seems everyone who goes there has something good to say about it! This part really does not belong in this section, but if Joe is reading this, I like the idea of the special screenings I have been reading about, the “Insomniac” movies and “Movies and Mimosas” (though I no longer imbibe!) I wonder if the CRITERION could expand these showings to some other times as well, since I cannot currently make the early Sunday and late Saturday showings. I have heard the CRITERION is expanding into more screens; Perhaps this could be tried as sort of an “experiment”.
I don’t think I could stand such excitement all in one package! Please notify me when they show The Best of Alfonso Bedoya.
If people are foolish enough to sit through ad after ad, digital or otherwise, and still pay ridiculous amounts for the experience, then they deserve what they get!
I realize that profit is the Name of the Game, but an important part of the old moviegoing experience was…anticipation. People had their own neighborhood theaters, and there were enough of them peppered about the city so that it wasn’t terribly difficult to attend a movie that may not have been available in your area. But, there were always the attractions that were promised to be “Coming Soon”. Soon, their posters would decorate the hallways, then the exterior. People actually looked forward to waiting and seeing a movie. That experience is lost when all the movies currently available are lumped into one place.
I have been to “Showcase Cinemas” in several cities and have found deficiencies in all of them. We don’t need bigger and larger shoeboxes. We need movie houses with personality and programs that are so enticing they literally grab you from the sidewalk and beckon you inside.
“They paved Paradise…put up a parking lot…”
It used to be every neighborhood had its theater. Now, it’s a Walgreens on every corner.
Re: the Gong…I wish you hadn’t told me that! Next thing, you’ll be saying those weren’t real bullets Roy Rogers was dodging all those years!
Although presentation, service,and ambience ARE important, the main reason I believe people are not satisfied with the moviegoing experience is something audiences cannot do much about…content! I long for the days when there were many moviehouses to choose from, and a family could virtually walk into any one of them, without having to do extensive research on the content of the movie, which age group it is suitable for, etc. And we didn’t have to flinch at line after line of offensive dialogue and expletives. If the moviemakers were to concentrate on being creative in telling a story rather than cover up for lack of creativity by pottymouth dialogue and mediocre scripting, I believe there would be no dearth of audiences above the age of teens. There is very little good material to attract audiences who just want to be entertained, today. Even the most obscure B-movie on DVD or Video seems to have more entertainment value, and, in most cases, an entire family can sit down and watch them unashamed. I am not saying that there is not an audience for some scripts which require mature content and presentation, but there seems to be a true pattern emerging in most films at the cinemas nowadays: Stay away from any kind of heroic, male image who is moral in his character and thinking, do not ever speak in terms of good and evil, as there are only shades of grey, interject as much filthy expletives and use of God’s name as a swear word as possible, and sacrifice storytelling art for flashy camera techniques and special effects. A good craftsman does not have to fit this formula to make an outstanding picture. Look at “Citizen Kane”. Orson Welles was able to use restraint in his language and still present a timeless tale with innovative camera techniques and topnotch acting. The same can be said of most of the “classics” of the cinema.
Went to the site. Those were some eye-opening photos. The “Starbucks” photo was particularly haunting.
I am thankful that the CROWN THEATERS offer these free films, as many of the individuals in my agency (which services developmentally-disabled adults)look forward to these free screening each summer. Most of them are juvenile offerings, but that’s okay, it kinda reminds me f the summer kiddy matinees I enjoyed when I was young.The downside is: You better get there early, because there is nary a space in the parking lot, and, if you leave in the middle of the movie for any reason, your seat is in peril, despite the fact that there are usually several packed auditoriums. My personal feeling is people will jump at the chance to get anything for free!