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Interesting comparison between Loew’s Midland (by Thomas Lamb) and the Loew’s Jersey (by Rapp & Rapp). First, it looks as though the design came from the same source book, to the paint color in the coves. Second, which architect used a heavier hand with detail? In this view, the Jersey looks more refined and delicate. The Midland came 6 years before the Jersey. It almost looks as though whom ever the architects were, they had refined their style by the time the Jersey was built.
In 1929, both Rapp bros. were long gone, but Thomas Lamb was very much alive.
A good photo of the event I found:
NOT your average cinema…
Is it the greatest in the world? Yes, quite possibly it is.
RVB, most definitely. But in my day it was $2. I feel cheated. (–: It certainly isn’t $2 anymore! That’s like saying the Grand Canyon is deep.
Three more wishes: they should play the organ much more often; the marquee should flash on and off in various combinations like it used to; and they should show many more great films.
Vito — The orchestra (100 musicians) was seated in the pit. I didn’t know that the pit could hold 100 musicians but it can.
The 200 singers in the combined chorus were on the stage proper; children—stage right, grownups—stage left. They were in three rows and covered the length of the proscenium.
Projection to my eyes looked like HD digital. I looked around a couple of times to find the source, but could not see it.
I agree with RCTD that the image was a little washed out during the darker scenes, but given the circumstances, I don’t see how they could have avoided that.
I’ll also agree with RCTD about the sound. It was absolutely superb — clear, full, and not too loud — and no “Music Hall echo”!
Re: Christmas Show—I agree with oldjoe about the vid projections on the walls. Never really cared for them.
Pet peeve for today: By the way, who ever installed the huge side LED screens did a very bad job of it. There is at least one foot wide gash in the Music Hall ceiling, to allow for one of the suspension rods. The hole looks like it was ripped out with a jackhammer. Couldn’t they have been more careful? I know it is only cosmetic, but jeez we only have one Music Hall.
I won’t go into the choral staircase curtains that are missing their valances; nor the really bad fluorescent lighting in the public areas of the theatre; or the curtains on those side LED screens which look trite and are demeaning to the great stage contour curtain. Other than these items, the theater looks fine — very clean and in good repair.
Wish list: I hope that someday they will restore the indirect lighting behind the radiating grills in the auditorium, as well as the downlights under the choral staircases.
I also wish they would direct the incoming crowd through the main ticket lobby on 50th Street, instead of through the 51st Street “entrance” which is really an exit. Perhaps this new arrangement is due to security. The theater goer is supposed to see a progression from a small dimly lit low space to a vast golden sunset (or sunrise). The 51st St entrance is small, dim, and low, but it doesn’t register with the theater goer—it’s too small.
Finally two things: I hope someday they will put at least a few chairs and tables in the Grand Lounge, and that they open the 50st Exit from the Grand Lounge which takes the theater goer to the Rock. Center Concourse.
But we can’t have everything and thank goodness the theater is still with us — in any condition.
Almost a sell out. In my opinion, it looked a 90 to 95 percent booking.
Photos of the ‘LOTR’ event last night. We sat in 505E/506E (Row VV) in the orchestra section. It was a slightly different experience from our vantage point.
Hmm. Perhaps that’s the difference between the Loew’s Jersey and Loew’s Midland (or the SF Fox). Perhaps Lamb vs. R&R is only visible from 5 feet from the walls.
Seems like The Rahway used to have a far more active film schedule just a couple of years ago — and it was 35mm film. They also had the Wurlitzer which was a wonderful addition to the program. I miss this theatre’s film series. This theatre is a real gem. It is perhaps the perfect neighborhood house from the late 1920s. It didn’t need a whole lot of work, and they let most of the old things remain. It feels real and not overly restored. Please bring back the 35mm film series!
How about the restoration of the dome over the center ticket booth? It doesn’t need to be bronze. It could be a composite material, and it could be copied from the King’s which I believe still has the same dome. I with you on the marquee, the blade, and the upper balcony lobby restorations.
Any way, here are some amazing backstage interior shots I found on the web. Many thanks to jeffs4653, whoever you are:
THE Stanley Theatre:
No matter what the function of the building, as long as it remains and even after (hope there is no after), this will always be one of the finest movie palaces that ever existed.
It is the quintessential example of a type of building. It should be the dictionary example of “movie palace.”
I always thought that this great theatre was very refined in style; much more so than many of the old palaces. The sheer number of multi-colored chandeliers boggles the mind, and the wall treatments are very restrained. The walls let the lighting lead. It is the lighting, special textures, and fixtures that single this place out — more so than cupids would.
By the way, I’m agnostic. I have no opinions of the JW’s one way or another. I will say that they did an amazing job with this building that was endangered; and that they take care of it with kid gloves today.
Orchestra, Section 5, Row VV! Yay! The seats are way up front!!
To Warren re: “Socks Off.” I’m going. Cannot miss this. Thanks for the news! I haven’t seen a movie at the Music Hall in nearly 30 years; and with an orchestra yet!!
You’re quite welcome, ERD. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Great video, pjacyk. It really captures the awe and wonder of the Loew’s Jersey and her great Robert Morton organ. One can only hope that it will inspire even more people to come to the show.
Tonight: “Dinner at Eight” at 6:00 pm and “The General” at 8:30 pm.
Don’t miss it. It is the golden age of Hollywood come to life in 2009.
Because it looks so modern (and so well kept) many people tend to lose perspective on the age of the Music Hall. It is not a spring chicken and that makes it all the more wonderful and valuable.
A short Radio Program from WEAF (NBC) New York—early 1930s:
The Music Hall was either under construction or was brand new when this was broadcast and filmed; and the RCA connection is neat.
The last days of the Music Hall as movie theatre — before any renovations. The room was almost bleak then. At that time, it looked its age; but WHAT a place to see a movie!!! The chosen musical pieces are very appropriate the Music Hall in the late 1970s. Most people were certain the Music Hall was utterly doomed then. We saved it.
Nice performance here, in the auditorium:
Today, its 1932 “gee whiz”, “oo, ah, oh” aspect is back again. Thank goodness.
OK, thanks, Oldjoe. That sounds pretty definitive.
Kindly look at this photo.
Isn’t this mural in the Grand Lounge of the Music Hall?
Why then does the wall look like wood grain when for years and years the wall has been painted black?
What’s under that black paint?
To me it looks like the rosewood veneer in the Roxy apartment living room. It sure doesn’t look like paint.
Can you imagine if the Grand Lounge was meant to be in rosewood all these years!!! In some ways, it makes sense.
Just a thought. Any opinions?
Great clip! Thanks. Wish I could have seen the film at the Loew’s.
The GREAT Loew’s Jersey Wonder Organ does it again (in full stereo hi-fi)…
with a band in the pit—yet (with an orchestra lift that goes up and down).
My understanding is that the Loew’s Jersey is the 10th largest remaining theater in America (give or take a few); and I think its future is very bright.
Well, I’m sure these are enough posts for one night. I hope my love for the place comes through my writing.
Folks, this was the wonderful theatrical reality of the Loew’s Jersey at one time. In addition to being a “Temple of the Motion Picture Art” is was also a grand old vaudeville house (for a very few and much too short number of years):
It was New York vaudeville, only better and a little looser.
“Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby, Jean Harlow, Burns and Allen, Bing Crosby, Bill Robinson, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Cab Calloway, to name just a few” were regulars at the Loew’s. Today, this boggles the mind.
Jack Benny was often the MC at the Loew’s Jersey in the early 1930s. At that time this theatre was “classy” and not the somewhat dusty though wonderful place we know today. The place deserved and got an elegant and urbane and very funny announcer.
Typical Loew’s Jersey entertainment from the middle 20th Century. The LJ was as smart and as bright and as mainstream as you could get in America in the mid-20th Century:
Back then the ushers said, “no standing in the aisles, please stand behind the ropes, there are plenty of seats in the upper balcony.” They even had a coat check room.
Lewis’s work at the NY Paramount was sheer brilliance, the like of which we will never see again.
Thanks for sharing your story of Jerry Lewis and the Loew’s. I’m so glad to hear that he supported the theatre in those difficult days. The Jersey may be the “Best Remaining” road show house left in America. It is steeped in 1930s vaudeville (and popcorn).
One of the best fairly recent live acts I saw at the Jersey was Uncle Floyd’s 30 minute “program.” People forget (I should talk, I’m 47) just how clever and funny old vaudeville could be. It was often absolutely brilliant. After all, “Who’s On First?” was a vaudeville act, performed live at the State Theatre in Journal Square many times by some comedy named Abbott and Costello. The Three Stooges were often found live at the Stanley, and of course Bing was live at the Loew’s.
In any case, Floyd’s show was never to be forgotten. As I watched it, I said to myself, “so this is what vaudeville was like.”
Jerry Lewis is one of the very last vaudeville stars, and a native Newark-ite, I believe. So glad to learn he doesn’t forget his roots.
Thanks to Bob Furmanek. Note my entry above. Search for “New York Paramount and the Loew’s Jersey”. It’s about ¾ from the bottom — since this Loew’s Jersey page could make a nice book on its own! The Loew’s Jersey and NY (Times Square) Paramount were very similar theatres, designed by the same firm.
To Warren, isn’t that a great clip?! I also caught the Selwyn, Eltinge, Liberty, and the Billy Rose Music Hall (where ever that was). 13 theaters in 20 seconds. Amazing. How many theaters (Broadway) and theatres (movie houses) did Times Square have in 1934. 100 or so?