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As I posted above, I’d pass the SUTTON every day for four years on my way to the High School of Art and Design, on the corner of Second Avenue and 57th Street. Whenever they changed films, I’d step into the lobby and pick up a new edition of SHOWCASE – THE MONTHLY MAGAZINE FOR ART THEATERGOERS – so I’d like to fill in some of the blanks in the movie history of the Sutton from 1966 to 1971:
THE BLUE MAX – SEPTEMBER 1966
LOVES OF A BLONDE – NOVEMBER 1966
GAMBIT – JANUARY 1967
TOBRUK – FEBRUARY 1967
A COUNTESS FROM HONG KONG – APRIL 1967
THE JOKERS – MAY 1967
GAMES – OCTOBER 1967
CHAPPAQUA – NOVEMBER 1967
THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE – JANUARY 1968
CHARLIE BUBBLES – MARCH 1968
I’LL NEVER FORGET WHAT’S ‘IS NAME – MAY 1968
BOOM – JUNE 1968
A LOVELY WAY TO DIE – JULY 1968
ZITA – SEPTEMBER 1968
THE BOFORS GUN – OCTOBER 1968
SECRET CEREMONY – NOVEMBER 1968
THE FIXER – DECEMBER 1968
HELL IN THE PACIFIC – MARCH 1969
BEFORE WINTER COMES – APRIL 1969
THE LOVES OF ISADORA – MAY 1969
JOHN AND MARY – JANUARY 1970
and … I guess I went back the following year and saw
LITTLE BIG MAN – JANUARY 1971.
I’m pretty sure Mr. Astaire made some other films after Francis Ford Coppolla’s film version of FINIAN’S RAINBOW in 1968. Remember his romancing Miss Jennifer Jones while trying to fleece her out of her money in Irwin Allen’s THE TOWERING INFERNO? I do. Saw it back when at the KINGSWAY.
It’s comforting to know, in light of all the horror stories one reads on this website, that this single-screen art house and my very own cinema treasure, is still up and running and providing audiences today, with deluxe presentations along with a touch of class and style.
I remember very clearly seeing RAN at Cinema I when it opened. I took frineds and family back a few times to see it again and again (This was, of course, in the days before vcr’s). Perhaps they shared the run, I don’t recall now.
I’d pass by this theatre every day on the walk from the subway to high school. What was rather unique about the Sutton, and other theatre’s managed by Don Rugoff was the absense of normal movie posters advertising the film at the theatre.
Cinema I & II, The Paris and The Plaza all had these wonderful displays that were hand-made for their theatre’s showcase windows that advertised their movies, sort of like the stylish store front windows of nearby Bloomingdales of Bergdorf-Goodman. After the film’s run, these displays were dismantled and thrown out in the dumpster. I was able to save a part of a display for a reissue of 2001: A SPACE ODYSEE which, I think, played The Plaza around 1970-71.
The Closing of the Capitol was, as the folder holding my ticket said, “a gala, live stage show (which will) mark the final performance in the 49 year old history of Loew’s Capitol Theater. Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Johnny Carson, Alan King, Ed McMahon, Doc Severinsen and other great stars join in a benefit performance never to be repeated, never to be forgotten, a salute to the theatre where Gershwin introduced "Swanee”, where Roxy made his name, where WEAF fisrt broadcast a stage show live and created the networks, the Capitol, where violinist, ballerina, comedian and film massed 5000 each performance making culture and crowd pleasing common enterprise. The great show will benefit the Center for the Communication Arts at The Catholic University of America …"
It cost me all of ten dollars to attend. I was sixteen years old.
I’m very excited to be a part of this wonderful webiste and was wondering if anyone here attended, what was billed as, The Closing of the Capitol on Monday, September 16, 1968 at 8PM? I did, and I guess I could use that date and time as the begining of my awareness of the precarious state the grand old movie theaters would soon find themselves in across the nation and around the globe.
Hi, everyone. I’m new to this website and thought I’d post my memories of my favorite neighborhood theater. I grew up in the Brooklyn side of Ridgewood, yeah, went to St. Brigid’s (class of ‘66), know of the Imperial on Irving, the Wagner and the Wyckoff (passed them every day on the way to school), but my favorite has to be the RKO MADISON. It was very children-friendly.
They had all the great Corman horror films there as well as some not so great William Castle films there too, like MR. SARDONACUS, where we voted with thumbs-up or thumbs-down cards if we, the audiance, wanted to see Mr. Sardonacus' face, and THE NIGHT STALKER with Barbara Stanwyck and her ex-husband Robert Taylor. And THIRTEEN GHOSTS which we had to watch through special glasses if we wanted to see the ghosts.
They also had great Saturday matinee’s of 15 COLOR CARTOONS (as it said on the marquee) and once a year they had this stupid short of a foot race. You’d get a ticket at the door and if you had the winning ticket (the old man would win the race in the film) you’d be invited (as I was one year) on stage to recieve a prize (mine was a set of Chinese checkers). You can only imagine how exciting it was to see the MADISON from the foot of the stage. I must have been about ten years old, circa 1962.
I guess it was inevitable that I’d become enamored with movie theaters as a kid growing up in Ridgewood since the whole neighborhood was packed with theaters and a quite a few mystery-theaters, buildings that were probably once theaters but were by then used for other things. I’d quiz my dad who grew up on Wilson Avenue and Sydam Street in the 20’s and 30’s and he’s the one who often told me the names of the then defunct theaters.
This website is like walking through the old neighborhood. I hope to post some more thoughts on the RKO MADISON soon since it played a very important part in my growing-up.
Thanks for the great shot of one of the big movie theater mysteries of my youth. I lived two blocks away on Hart Street and always wondered about it whenever I passed by it on my way to Knickerbocker Avenue. My dad, who’s now 89 years old once told me he saw “Mutiny on the Bounty” there, before it became Robert Halls. He always refered to it as the Irving, but now I’m sure he just mis-remembered.
I remember the white marble staircase at the far end of the lobby that led to the mezzanine and balcony and how high the ceiling was at the RKO, which is what we called it, or else, the Madison. I can’t get over how they cut the RIDGEWOOD up into six theaters. Maybe that’s why today I think of the Ridgewood as having been bigger. When I last visited the MADISON around 1972-73, I hadn’t been inside for a very long time and it did indeed seem smaller than I had remembered it from when I was a mere lad.
Boy, just finished reading all of the above an I’m not sure about posting here since Bway’s got certain criterias that my posts may lack.
But one thing’s for sure: there are a hell of a lot of us Ridgewood-ites and I’m one who’s sort of tippy-toeing around checking out the movie theaters of my past, walking under the marquee of the WAGNER, along Wyckoff and Myrtle Avenues, past the Parthenon and under the El, where you could see the RKO MADISON and further up, The RIDGEWOOD.
Sorry, Bway, but all of your hard fought battles about locations and street addresses are all done for me. For my benefit. I don’t care what drives you to do what you do, I reap the rewards because I’m new here, I’m intrigued by all this love of old theaters and because I’m reminded that there were many theaters in Ridgewood that were no longer theaters by the time I was a little kid in the late-Fifties. I had forgotten about the GRANDVIEW until I saw the picture posted, and I remember that Funeral Home and it all came back. And the Robert Hall on DeKalb and Irving. That was a theater once, too. I guess I’ll be getting out of everybody’s way. Just thought I’d drop in and say, Hi!
I worked as an usher at The PARIS between 1970-1972. When the assistant manager became the manager of The Ziegfeld, I went with him as an usher and doorman and lasted there about two years before I got a real job. But I’ll never forget the PARIS or the people who ran it. To this day, it was the most wonderful working experience of my life. And to think I’d work on Friday nights there, then open the theater on Saturdays and work there all day until closing, and do it again all over on Sundays. And I didn’t mind. I still love the Paris and whenever I get back to New York, I always go past it. By the way, one of the great things about working in any theater in Manhattan was the ability to get free passes, or actually you name in a book kept in all the other theater’s box offices, that allowed me free entry into those theaters. Between 1970-1974 I must have seen hundreds of movies with my girlfriend, for free. What a great little asset for a film-school student.
I am a former Ridgewoodite who attended movies during the Sixties and early Seventies at just about every theater in Queens and Brooklyn named above. I too am a graduate of St. Brigid’s, class of ‘66, and I’m just tickled to read all of the posts regarding these wonderful times spent around the neighborhood and, in particular, the movie theaters.
While I grew up in the Brooklyn side of Ridgewood on Hart Street below Cypress Avenue, (which I believe, at the time, was the boarderline between Brooklyn and Queens), I would have to wait for the bus on the corner of DeKalb and Wyckoff, by the Bon Ton Diner and the entrance to the LL Canarsie Line, to get to St. Brigid’s. If I was early enough to walk to school, I’d have to walk beneath the marquee of the Wagner Theater. That theater was the very last theater in the old neighborhood that I ever got to see the inside of when sometime in 1970-71 they ran I AM CURIOUS (YELLOW) with my buddies from Hart Street. It was like a shoe-box, very different than the Madison, Ridgewood or even the Parthenon and more like the Starr on Knickerbocker Avenue in that it didn’t have a balcony.
I was a movie-geek even in my St. Brigid days. While very active in the Boy Scouts, when we weren’t going on a trip to Alpine park, I’d get up early in the morning and walk up Starr Street to the pretzel factory where I’d exchange my .50 cents allowance for a basket of fresh, hot pretzels and then, sitting on a box in front of my friend Jimmy’s father’s vegetable store on Knickerbocker Avenue, sell them all in a matter of hours, transforming the original .50 cents into five dollars, enough money in those days to go to the movies in the afternoon, go home and eat dinner with the family, rush off to St. Brigid’s for Confession, and then go bowling at, well if you’re from the area then you’ll guess it, Hart Lanes.
Someone above mentioned a Paula Rapollo and I knew her when she was a little kid, having lived right next door to her on Hart Street. I was friends with her older brother Robbie, who was a year behind me at St. Brigids. They had a little sister too, by the name of Linda.
While I really loved the RKO MADISON, they used to show 15 COLOR CARTOONS early on Saturday mornings, The RIDGEWOOD theater seemed to be the bigger theater and the atmosphere was way more relaxed. While you had to sit on the left side at the Ridgewood, it was always easier to sneak off to the center seating section and watch the movie head-on, and if you crouched real low in your seat, you could probably get away with it for the whole afternoon. At the Parthenon, I remember, you could get a bag of popcorn for .15 cents, .10 cents cheaper than either the Madison or the Ridgewood.
Hope to share more memories with all my neighbors soon.