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I remember seeing Lawrence Of Arabia there…several times.
I saw How The West Was Won and it was technically awful. My friends and I were working our way through school at various movie houses so I knew that the theater’s failure to replace aging filaments was the reason the color temperatures on the three screens was so far off. It didn’t make that much of a difference in regular 35mm projection, but in Cinerama, where the screns were supposed to blend into one big picture, it was a disaster. I also recall the three screens not being perfectly aligned. Equipment back then wasn’t as “nailed down” as it is now and, as an earlier poster pointed out, the subway vibrated the building. Maybe one reason Cinerama didn’t last was the failure to enforce quality control on the theaters playing it.
Just a matter of interest, this photo looks as though it was taken in August of 1955 in the aftermath of the flood that devistated the city. Waters were up to the theater marquee of the Palace Theater around the corner on the left and nearly as high in front of the Warner. The State Theater was on the river in the northern end of town on Main Street and had the water overflow the bridge at that point. The photo looks south. The Naugatuck river ran left to right just past the intersection and there were commercial structures built over it. They fell into the river and were washed away. The large building in the center of the photo was to be torn down as too damaged to replace. On the right, just past the storefront at the intersection, was my father’s new childrens' store which was to have had its' grand opening that day. It was washed away in the flood and he never moved back in.
I don’t recall any access to the sidewall balconies from the upper lobby. I think they were decoration. Don’t forget, the Paramount was built as a moviehouse. I doubt they would have had seats off to the side as they would have had a lousy view of the screen. Then, again, they had seats all the way down to the apron and people had to practically lie on their backs to look up at the huge screen.
I remember winching down that big light fixture to change the bulbs. In those days, they didn’t have long life bulbs.
Patsy: I also graduated from school in Boston in 1966. I went back for the first time last year. Be prapered for a lot of shocks. I ushered at the Paramount and it was still there, though not in the same condition. I also couldn’t find a Joe and Nemos hot dog stand anywhere. But my old apartment on Irving Street was still there, looking like nothing had been done to the building since I moved out.
Boy, those are super photos! And they bring back such great memories.
I was recently in Boston on business and walked down to the Paramount to try to relive my days as an usher there. I was hoping Joe and Nemo’s was still on the corner. That was where I would get my nightly meal of soggy hotdogs and coffe milk.
Having been an usher there, I can imagine how he lost the pants. Was it in the balcony?
Ushering was a lousy paying job, but we had fun. Somebody found an usher’s manual from the old days and we learned hand signals. There was a full staff..head usher, captain and five or six others. During busy shows we had an usher at each aisle door. The captain would have his back to the entrance facing us and we would use the old hand signals to tell him how many seats were still available in each aisle. Many couples were split up when the place got full (even with that many seats). The lines would literally go down and around the block, a result of having no lobby space in the theater. I would walk the line marking “2 o'clock show”, “4 o'clock show” etc. People would stand for hours in the freezing cold to see a Disney or Elvis film. Now, they won’t even take a parking place too far from the multiplex door.
Memories from someone who ushered there in the early 60’s.
It was till a first run ABC/Paramount house. There was a tiny main floor lobby with a small candy stand and a very large upper lobby with a larger stand that was seldom used. The upper balcony also had a lobby. The place was huge! A large lobby with lots of marble was in the basement with the restrooms. I think a recall a center fountain. You can’t appreciate how far up this theater went unless you had to make the weekly trip hauling heavy film cans to the projection booth over the upper balcony.
It’s great seeing this info on the Warner. I remember going there as a kid growing up in Torrington. It was also the site of my HS graduation. I also recall the smaller Palace Theater around the corner. As I lived in the north end of town, I spent many a Saturday at the State Theater, a second run house that had old fashioned Saturday matinees even after they had gone out of style. For a while they were charging only a dime (don’t date me…that was incredibly cheap for that time)for a bunch of cartoons, some old serials and a western. I would post the State and Palace as they appear to be missing, but haven’t been “home” in decades and am not sure what stands where they once were.
Wasn’t Shop Rite in the Nine Mall farther north where a Borders and Babys R Us now stands. Big V typically built their Shop Rite stores with the curved roof. The Imperial was, as I recall,in Imperial Plaza where a now empty Treasure Island replaced a Grand Union which was where the theater once stood. While the Imperial may have played second run shows at the end,I think it was a first run house with a 70mm capablity.