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Breaking news – This theatre suddenly closed it’s doors on May 10. Loews could'nt come to an agreement with the landlord on a new lease, so Loews just shut it down with no warning. HOWEVER, good news! The theatre was purchased, not leased, by Starplex Cinemas of Dallas, Texas. It will be their first theatre in this area. They are planning big changes like a $5 million dollar renovation which includes leather reclining seats, floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall screens, surround sound, and possibly a bar. It was also mentioned that they might reduce the number of screens from 12 to 10; the largest screen would probably be upstairs, possibly restoring it to the way it used to be – the largest movie screen in Bergen County. Ticket prices have'nt been set yet but they may be in the $8.50 range for an adult after 6:00 pm.
Huh?? Is it re-election time already?
Sorry to be cynical, but some of these folks just burn me up. I know it’s very bad for Cedar lane, it looks terrible, and will negatively affect other businesses around them. But let’s get realistic. Nelson tried like hell to keep the place running while trying to get funding for the digital equipment, but he could'nt make it happen. If the folks in Teaneck can make something happen, great! But as a functioning movie theatre, I think it’s done. Even if only one theatre can be upgraded, what are you going to do with the rest of the place? Removing one wall downstairs and partially restoring it as one larger theatre is possible, but who’s going to pay for the construction? And what would you play in the theatre? First run movies are expensive to book, with the studios taking approximately a 80/20 split of the first weeks gross. You would have to charge first run theatre prices; forget about the $5.75 admission. You gotta sell a whole lot of popcorn to make a decent profit. Showing “classic” films is possible but would the town support this? After all the drum-beating and calling for committees to form to save the theatre, people will realize that only one thing will reopen the place, MONEY, and a continuous supply of it.
This “grassroots effort” makes me laugh. Where were these people when the theatre needed them? When was the last time any of them attend a show there? Or were they sitting on their thrones at home carping about how the manager was rude, why are the bathrooms upstairs, the films are out of focus, etc? These people should be glad the place is gone; now they don’t have to deal with it. They took the place for granted. Now that it’s gone, the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing begins. “What? It’s GONE?? Oh my God!! This is terrible!! We’ve got to DO SOMETHING!!” All this will fade away when these right-minded folks realize that the only way to bring the theatre back is with a king-sized infusion of MONEY. $500,000 will do it. Think there will be any takers? Clearview does'nt want it; they are on the brink of collapse and are looking to sell off their assets. Nelson tried for 1 year to get funding and could'nt do it so he, regretfully, pulled the plug. Nobody in their right mind will sink half a million dollars into the place knowing they will never see a return on their investment.
The theatre was located on the south side facing Spring Valley Ave. As you can see in the Boxoffice article, that’s how it looked on the outside. There was never a traditional marquee telling patrons what was playing anywhere outside the theatre. If I’m remembering correctly, the theatre closed sometime between 1987 and 1990.
It sounds like Mr. Walsh wants to try something similar to what used to be the Rosebud Theatre in Ridgewood. It was a tiny little place with about 30 seats that ran 16mm prints. But that was 25+ years ago when the studios were not as vigilant as today. If he plans to run a DVD or BluRay, you have to clear it with the studios first. The price of a one time showing for a film can go anywhere from $400. and up. And forget about anything fron Disney. They are EXTREMELY tight with their film rentals and if they find out something of theirs is being shown illegally, their lawyers will shut him down and sue him within 24 hrs. If Mr. Walsh is reading this, I really do wish you would reconsider your plan because it’s a money-losing proposition. You WILL lose your shirt in the end.
I just read the article and, sad to say, this man is dreaming. No matter where he tries to open this theatre he will learn that nobody will come out to see “old films” 4 nights a week. Plus, where is he going to get prints of them? Sure you can run a DVD of something but it will look just like what it is; a blown up DVD presentation that will look pixilated and blocky. If a pro operation like the Lafayette in Suffern has problems getting decent prints, how is this guy going to manage it? Run it in 16mm? I’m sure this man’s heart is in the right place but if he goes through with it, he’s gonna lose his shirt.
Larry is absolutely right. The 2 bottom theatres would stink of dampness & mildew after a rain. Many of the auditorium lights were blown out, leaving it to feel truly like a big, dark cave. The outside metalwork was largely left to rust. My main gripe with this place was the seats were all positioned to have patrons facing the center of the screen, which was fine when it was one screen. As soon as the wall went up the seats remained the same, leaving you to twist yourself into uncomfortable positions to watch the film. The upper balcony was the best of all 3 screens, as it was mostly left untouched and you got a sense of how big the place originally was.
Yes. It was a big white brick structure with the entrance facing Rt. 17. It was a stone’s throw away from the candy maker you mentioned.
I went by the theatre this past Saturday and from the outside, it look like the inside is completely gutted, with a large hole where the entrance and arcade used to be, and another hole in the back far wall. There is a huge mound of dirt piled up behind the theatre which is visible from the back road. The whole site is fenced off for safety reasons. I does'nt look like it’s going to be razed; more like what happened to the Town theatre in Emerson. The structure will probably remain and be chopped up and converted into who knows what.
The Fox was closed for a number of years; I seem to recall it did open, but only for one night only closed-circuit sporting events, like fights, etc. After Jaws 2, I don’t recall it being open on a consistent basis. The theatre was to be torn down and another building was to be put up, but there were many delays and the theatre just began to rot away. Today there is absolutely no trace there was ever a theatre there; same with the Oritani, which was across the street.
Proof positive that Nelson, Pete, & the whole crew will keep the Lafayette a viable entity for years to come. There was more life in the place during Saturday’s Angels With Dirty Faces show than at any time during last spring’s “classic festival”. Welcome back! You were sorely missed! Your previous concerns were, happily, unfounded!
Edgewater shows a “classic” film every Monday afternoon, but I have it on good authority the films are from public domain DVD’s, not 35mm.
1 broken curtain mechanism + 1 half blown out marquee + the cost of repair and / or replacement = Boston saying “ Uh, no, too much to fix. Leave it as it is.” Schumucks.
Deckard, the situation as I understand it is Nelson Page and company planned and booked the films well in advance, dealt with all the film companies to get the best vault prints, did advance pr for the series, had small window card posters made up for each film, and most importantly, kept a huge email list up to date. But since Nelson is no longer associated with the theatre, all this has fallen by the wayside. Neither the town, or the company currently running the theatre, have any interest or any time to build a website for the classics. The town would love the seniors to come out, but as I said before, most have no interest in newer films like this. I did see a small black and white flyer with the whole line up taped to the front door several weeks ago. Perhaps it was taken down so the window could be washed; I don’t know. I think with this dismal turn out, the future of any more classics here is seriously in doubt. Barring a major miracle, that is.
Deckard, check the above posts from Feb. 13 onward for more info about the current situation.
Jimmy; well, Network, Annie Hall, and especially Raging Bull is'nt really the kind of films that would pack'em in at 11:30 in the morning, now is it? The seniors don’t want to see this stuff! They want the films and the stars THEY remember when THEY were young, not this “new junk” as one person put it recently. The line up is all well and good for us young turks, but not for the seniors who are the core audience; the seniors are the only reason there are “classics” here this spring. And as you saw on Saturday, the seniors have spoken and are staying away in droves. I’m sorry for being so negative but someone seriously dropped the ball this season!
Last night was the final event of the spring season, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and it was a treat to see it again as it should be seen, in widescreen 35mm. Kudos to Nelson, Pete, and the whole theatre staff for a wonderful experience, and to Paul Scrabo for the rare props and pre-film talk. A great way to end the series! See you again next season!
My personal feeling is the series will start well, with friendly, easy to take films like West Side Story, Thomas Crown, but as the films move into the early 70’s and beyond, they will get increasingly darker, rougher and edgier. By the time Raging Bull shows, at the first splash of blood or curse, any seniors with delicate sensibilities will get up, find the manager, chew him out for showing such a profane motion picture, than leave. And if that does'nt do it, De Niros' bathroom conversation with Moriarty probably will. As for the quality of the prints, if this line-up was thrown together quickly, they probably did'nt ask about getting the cleanest prints they could. It will be a crapshoot.
The only reason there are “classics” this spring is because the town of Ramapo got many complaints fron the seniors, who get in for free anyway. The town is trying to do right by them by offering a series of “classic” films. However, the current owners took the easy way out by going to MGM and asking for 10 Oscar winning films and this is what they got. Notice that the line-up is devoid of any Warner, Columbia, Paramount or Universal films. Except for Butch Cassidy, all are handled by MGM. Why no other studio? Too much red tape, especially by Warners. This shows the line-up was thrown together in haste, to please the seniors in town, something Pete and Nelson could never be accused of. Also, 20th Century Fox does not have a good print of Butch Cassidy, so who knows what the film will look
like. Do you really thing 65+ year old ladies are going to line up to see Midnight Cowboy or Raging Bull? No way. It may be great for us film fans, but not the seniors, who is the core audience there.
This week, June 9 – 13, The Rialto will have it’s final program. They will be showing, rather appropiately, Cinema Paradiso. Bergen County will be losing it’s last single screen theatre. I don’t know if it will be sold to new owners and reopened, or gutted for retail space, or demolished. I hope it can be reopened at some point. Personally, I feel the current owners really dropped the ball by not considering a classic film program, like the Lafayette in Suffern offers. The Rialto clientele is mostly + 65 yrs old and would appreciate seeing the old classics they remember from their youth. Also, the parking situation in downtown Ridgefield Park is really tight. So, another one bites the dust. Too bad; I’ll miss it.
-update- A big congratulations and thank you must be given to the Lafayette Theatre and it’s management & staff for another memorable Horrorthon! Seeing these classics (or “classics” in Plan 9’s case) on the giant screen was indeed a treat and something to look forward to every year. The highlight of the weekend was seeing Bela Lugosi’s Dracula cape up close and in person on display on the stage. Probably half of the 300 people who attended the show came to the front of the stage for a closer look and to take pictures. The original 3-sheet for A&C meet Frankenstein on display in the lobby was'nt bad, either! It was just great to see almost all the films draw a big and enthusiastic crowd! Keep up the good work, guys!
Justin, I have'nt been to the Paramus theatre yet, but I will soon. I was at Ridgefield Park 2 weeks ago, and the theatre is slowly sliding downhill, sad to say. The upstairs consession stand is no longer in use and has a coat of dust on it; the coffee bar downstairs has been abandoned for more than a year and is now being used for storage with everything just laying around it for all to see. The film I saw started late, with no pre-show ads or music – just silence. The print of the movie had a green scratch through most of 1 reel. The parking lot and covered parking was less than ¼ full. All in all, a sad state of affairs for this theatre. Paramus must be loving it.
Fred, yes I’ve been noticing the smaller art house films have been showing at Tenafly instead of here. Too bad, since Tenafly used to be nice before it was chopped up. I really hate the way it is now, and just won’t go there unless they show something really worth while. I would rather patronize Ridgefield Park or Teaneck first.
Quick update – I recently went to a showing of “You Kill Me” here, and the 3 theatres are just about the same as before, except for new seats in all 3. They are more plush, with padded armrests, but sitting there looking up at the screen feels like you are sitting in a pit. The boxoffice/candy stand is now one long counter. The second pair of inner doors have been removed and the ticket takers post put in it’s place. The ticket prices are still on the high side; $6.50 for a matinee, $9.75 for evening prime time shows. I guess it would be worth it to see something not playing anywhere else here.