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When I was about 11 years old, a local pizzeria sponsored a free cartoon marathon one Saturday morning. You had to have one of the pizzeria’s flyers to get in, but they had printed thousands of them, and every kid in Bay Ridge, it seemed, was lined up for the show. Some of us wound up sitting in the aisle in the balcony, it was that crowded. The cartoons went on for over an hour, a grand thing for us.
In the early 60’s the Harbor became something of an “art” house. Like many smaller theatres in the area, it received its feature films after they had played everywhere else. But the management also seemed willing to try presenting films that other neighborhood theatres wouldn’t bother with. I can recall seeing such films as “The Pawnbroker”, with Rod Steiger, and a revival of “Sweet Smell of Success”, with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. The Harbor also presented award-winning short subjects, such as a documentary that cinematographer Haskell Wexler did about a tumbleweed rolling through the roads and prairies of a western state — all without dialogue. Wexler later went on to film such classics as “In the Heat of the Night” and “Medium Cool”.
Alas, the Harbor’s efforts to bring something special to the area couldn’t save it from the realities of the business. But some of us still remember it fondly.